Wind chill will never be a factor at another American University home basketball game.
Richmond made the Eagles' final memory of 29 years at Fort Myer a cold one last night as the Spiders came away with a 78-65 Colonial Athletic Association victory before a crowd of 2,588.
Forward Peter Woolfolk scored 27 points and had 15 rebounds and center Steve Kratzer scored 14 points in helping Richmond improve to 11-2 overall, 2-0 in the league. The pair combined for 24 straight points, including the first 19 of the second half, as the Eagles again failed to solve their inside problems.
Sophomore forward Daryl Holmes scored 17 points for American (5-8, 1-1), which will play its next home game on Jan. 23 in the new on-campus Bender Arena.
Fort Myer, which had also previously served as home for George Washington, had been very good to the Eagles. American was 153-89 at Fort Myer, but even the friendly cold and unusual bounces of the hardwood have not been able to help the Eagles. American was 5-13 at home against CAA opponents since joining the league four seasons ago.
"It was not exactly the scenario I wanted to finish on," said American Coach Ed Tapscott, whose team took a 37-35 lead on Mike Sampson's three-point basket to open the second half, but never led again. "I will miss this place a little, but I will be very glad to have my own place. Maybe there will be some excitement because of it, and I hope our youngsters will understand the importance of having a new building."
What the Eagles, who have only three seniors, could not understand last night was how to stop Richmond's strong inside play.
Sampson did an excellent defensive job holding guard Rodney Rice, Richmond's second-leading scorer, to just two free throws for the game, but the Spiders didn't need an outside game.
"We said we had to hold Rodney Rice down and not let Woolfolk get the the ball," said Tapscott. "They say one out of two isn't bad, but that wasn't good enough tonight because Woolfolk and Kratzer just dominated us inside . . . my big guys just didn't take the challenge tonight."
Woolfolk and Kratzer accepted their challenge and produced excellent results. Woolfolk's basket, on a pass from sophomore guard Ken Atkinson, gave Richmond a 54-45 lead with 8:25 left.
The Eagles shot only 39 percent from the floor, 34 percent in the second half. From now on, on off nights like this one, they will be able to console themselves in something other than a dressing room that is normally used as a military weight room.
"Being here four years, this is home," said Sampson, a senior who finished with 10 points and seven assists. "As far as Bender Arena goes, it will be nice not to have dead spots on the floor, to have better facilities and, hopefully, a lot of fans. But I will miss the Fort. I have a lot of fond memories here, just not as many as I wanted. I will miss this place."