John Newman scored 26 points and Kelvin Johnson 20 as Richmond beat American, 74-58, in an ECAC South game last night before 1,207 at Fort Myer.

Frank Ross, AU's leading scorer (16.7 points per game) missed the game because he bruised his left thigh in practice Sunday. His status for Wednesday's game at Penn is uncertain.

"You have to play with the guys you have," said AU Coach Ed Tapscott. "There are no secrets this late in the season. I knew Richmond had some good athletes but I didn't realize they were quite that gifted."

The Eagles (4-11), who are 0-5 in their first year of conference play, could not penetrate a zone defense and resorted to the outside shooting of Jim Lutz (16 points) and Pat Witting (12), making his first start.

Newman and Johnson scored mostly from long range, offsetting a five-for-25 shooting performance by the Spiders' two inside threats, Pete Woolfolk and John Davis. For the game Richmond shot 42 percent.

"It was a sloppy game," said Richmond Coach Dick Tarrant, whose team is 8-5 and 4-1. "We missed so many inside shots and they had it packed in."

Richmond took an 8-0 lead before AU closed to 12-11 on two baskets by Lutz. The Eagles had a chance to take the lead midway through the first half, but Lutz missed a foul-line jumper, Newman tipped one in and Greg Beckwith missed at the other end.

Leading by 19-17, Richmond went on a 10-2 spree to take a 29-19 halftime lead. Woolfolk and Davis totaled one for 10 -- all from inside 10 feet -- to keep the score respectable.

Mike Sampson made a fast-break layup bringing AU to 37-29 and forcing Tarrant to call time. On the next play, Lutz blocked a scoop shot by Newman, who fouled Eric White. White made one of two shots from the line.

After Newman's jumper, he drew a charge on Charles West. Johnson, a graduate of DeMatha, scored from the corner for 41-30 lead.

Eagle forward J.D. Springer traveled on two straight possessions, then fouled Woolfolk, who made the basket and the foul shot. Thereafter, AU got no closer than 11 points.

"We're young and unaware," said Tapscott, who started two freshmen (Sampson and West), two sophomores (Witting and Henry Hopkins) and one senior (Steve Nesmith).