Frank Ross was four for four from the foul line in the last minute to enable American University to beat a determined Catholic team, 84-78, last night at Fort Myer.

American, which at 5-0 is off to its best start since 1972, had trouble putting away Division III Catholic (2-4).

The Eagles next will play undefeated Georgetown Wednesday at Capital Centre. American was the last local team to defeat the Hoyas, winning in December 1982.

Ross had a team-high 23 points for the Eagles, who shot 52 percent from the floor but committed 19 turnovers and shot only 57 percent from the line. Chuck West had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Eric White 14 points.

John Winkler, who made 10 of 17 shots, had 24 points to lead Catholic; Bob McCarry had 22 and Bob Burns 21.

"I was afraid we'd come out flat after a big win over George Washington," AU's coach, Ed Tapscott, said. "And I knew Catholic was a scrappy team. Unfortunately, I didn't get that across to our players. It just proves we have a long way to go."

About preparing his team for Georgetown, he said: "I certainly am concerned, but I should have their attention in practice."

American got 16 points from Ross in the first half to lead by as many as 11 points. But the Cardinals pulled within 43-38 by halftime.

The Cardinals' Bob Burns scored the first basket of the second half, but American ran off eight points, four by Eric White on offensive rebounds.

American led, 69-56, with 7:30 remaining.

The Cardinals kept chipping away, however, and came within 77-73 on consecutive baskets by John Winkler and a free throw by Burns.

That was the closest they could get; Ross' two foul shots made it 81-74 with 39 seconds to play and 84-76 with eight seconds left. George Mason 84, Austin Peay 62:

Rob Rose scored 20 points and Ricky Wilson 19 to lead the victory in the consolation game of the Marshall Memorial Invitational Tournament in Huntington, W.Va. Marshall beat Arkansas-Little Rock, 79-76, for the title.

George Mason (5-4) trailed by five early in the first half, but Rose led a 34-10 rally over a 12-minute span that gave the Patriots a 43-24 lead with 1:36 left.

Austin Peay (4-3) closed within 13 points twice in the second half but George Mason scored seven straight points with 4:30 left in the game.

George Mason shot 36 for 59 from the field for 61 percent. Austin Peay made 24 of 63 for 38 percent. The Patriots outrebounded the losers, 49-22. Bridgeport 82, UDC 73

Norman Taylor's 20 points and 10 rebounds led the Purple Knights (4-4) over the Firebirds (4-2) in the championship of the Bankers Classic.

UDC led at halftime, 30-28. But six minutes into the second period the Purple Knights took the lead for good on Taylor's jumper.

Johnny Gant led the Firebirds with 16 points. Lyndon De Bellotte had 15 points, five rebounds and one assist. Debellotte and Gant made the all-tournament team. Beaver College 71, Mont.-Germantown 60

Glenn Brady scored 17 points to lead the Titans (6-4) to victory at Germantown. Tim Myers' 19 points led the Gryphons (1-8). Harford 78, Mont-Rock 75

Steve Ator made six of eight foul shots in the game's final minutes -- including three of four with 10 seconds left -- to help win at Montgomery-Rockville. Lorenzo Gill had 33 points for the losers. ODU 57, James Madison 50

Old Dominion's Kenny Gattison had 30 points and 12 rebounds, both game highs in Norfolk.