Frank Ross scored 29 points to lead American to a 70-64 victory over William and Mary in a lackluster basketball game before 330 at Fort Myer.
The victory leaves American (10-16 overall, 3-11 in the Colonial Athletic Association) tied with William and Mary for the sixth seed in the conference tournament, which will begin Saturday. The final seedings will be determined by a coin flip today at 10 a.m.
The Indians (7-19, 3-11) could have clinched that seed outright by defeating American. But William and Mary beat itself by shooting 39 percent from the field, turning the ball over 12 times and making just one of its first 16 shots to open the second half.
AU was little better, however. The Eagles were outrebounded, 42-20, and scored just two points through the first 5:14 of the second half. AU also allowed the Indians to cut its 13-point lead to six in the final 1:34.
"But I'd rather have an ugly win than a pretty loss anytime," said Eagles Coach Ed Tapscott.
After Ross scored 19 points in the first half to stake the Eagles to a 36-30 lead -- their first halftime advantage since Jan. 2 -- they took advantage of William and Mary's dismal shooting to increase the lead to 13 in the second half. Chuck West scored 12 of his 17 points after intermission -- including eight straight for AU -- to lead the surge.
Pat Witting gave the Eagles their last big lead, 64-51, on a layin with 1:34 to play, but six intentional fouls by the Indians kept AU from getting off another shot. William and Mary scored 10 of the next 12 points, including six by Ken Lambiotte (19 points) to make the outcome respectable.
Forty-eight fouls were called in the game, including 13 on the Eagles' starting front line of center Longmire Harrison (five) and forwards Eric White and West (four each).
"We just foul a lot," said Tapscott with a shrug. "We have a tendency to foul because we try to recover when we get beat. We've got to learn to admit we're beat and get on with the game."