American University Coach Ed Tapscott stared at the play-by-play sheet and muttered, "We led, 21-12, with 9:49 to play in the first half and then . . . that was the key."
The key was an 18-0 spurt over a six minutes that sent Long Beach State out to a lead they never relinquished as the visitors beat the Eagles, 96-74, before 1,022 at Fort Myer.
AU (3-4) shot only 37 percent from the field, committed 18 turnovers and played horrid defense at times. At one point, AU made only one basket over a 16-minute period (the other basket came as a a result of goaltending) and was outscored, 44-8.
Tapscott, irate over his team's less than inspiring showing, was hard pressed to find anything positive about the game. He was happy the Eagles managed a nice mini-run that cut the Long Beach State lead to 10 points with just over eight minutes left. But the tremendous amount of energy spent in the spurt took its toll as the 49ers (5-2) made numerous layups, dunks and free throws to salt the game away.
"They ran off that streak and we were forced to play their game," Tapscott said. "They are an up-tempo team and they play that style better than we do. Now I'll have to review who was on the floor, what they did wrong and make sure they don't do it again.
"This was a very tough night. I guess I've had tougher ones -- maybe when I totalled my car and when I received my pre-induction physical notice for the draft."
Wasted was a 25-point, 15-rebound effort, both career highs, by AU's Daryl Holmes. Mike Sumner had 13 of his 15 points in the second half.
Andre Purry led the winners with 26 points, Morton Wiley had 20 points, Rigo Moore added 17 and Tony Ronzone 12.
The 49ers still looked as if they were reeling from the 82-63 loss to Georgetown Saturday as they missed seven of their first eight shots. Holmes scored eight points to stake the Eagles to their short-lived advantage, 21-12.
The ensuing 16 minutes will not look pretty on film. AU committed four turnovers, missed all six field goal attempts and looked in a fog as the 49ers began throwing in baskets from the Bay. Four different players scored during the critical blitz. Holmes' basket on a goal-tending call slowed the 49ers' momentum with 2:50 in the first half.