The cover of American University's basketball media guide features the Eagles' players in magicians' capes under the tagline "Bender Magic," to highlight the 30-3 home-court record AU brought into this season.

There was magic at Bender yesterday, but it was sleight-of-hand by eighth-ranked Ohio State, which dominated both ends of the court in rolling to a 109-73 victory.

The Buckeyes (6-0) shot 58 percent from the field while holding American (3-4) to 35 percent. Treg Lee, Ohio State's 6-foot-8 senior forward who hit 76 percent in the five previous games, made 10 of 14 yesterday for a career-high 24 points.

"I feel anybody on this team on any given night can have a career high," Lee said. "I just happened to feel comfortable and get some good shots. The big thing was that they kept collapsing on Perry {Carter}, he'd kick it back out and I'd get some open shots."

Lee was not the game's high scorer. That honor went to AU sophomore Brian Gilgeous, with a career-best 27. During a seven-minute stretch of the first half, Gilgeous had all seven of the Eagles' points while Ohio State was scoring 27.

This was the Buckeyes' first road game after a run of second-line opposition in Columbus and they were off target early, managing only a 19-15 lead after 9 minutes 15 seconds. The rest of the half, though, they outscored American by 39-9, including the final 15 points.

The 58-24 differential was a far cry from a year ago at Ohio State, when the Eagles led at halftime, 32-31, but wound up 74-64 losers.

"It's the difference in the teams," Carter said. "AU lost some key players and we're a very mature team. We were strong underneath. We work hard in the weight room. Our conference {the Big Ten} is a very physical conference and that's the key to our winning ball games."

Carter, a onetime Gonzaga High athlete, was the principal reason this game was scheduled. But the 6-8 senior missed two early layups, made 14 points in 25 minutes and watched most of the second half from the bench, looking rather glum.

"I wasn't really trying to impress anybody," Carter insisted. "I'm just trying to do what it takes to win. I have a certain role and I want to stay within those bounds."

The Buckeyes dunked frequently, giving the many Ohio State supporters in the crowd of 3,967 a chance to cheer. But they attributed the demonstration to circumstances, not a planned showtime.

"A lot of dunks came off our defensive rebounds," said Jim Jackson, the usual high scorer who totaled only 13. "We weren't forcing it. When the opportunity presented itself, we took advantage."

Obviously there were a lot of opportunities against an outclassed team that started four sophomores. But Ohio State Coach Randy Ayers emptied his bench and a spread that reached 42 points got no higher. The eventual 36-point differential marked AU's worst loss since a 96-60 rout by Navy four years ago.

"This team {Ohio State} plays as hard as any team I've ever seen," said AU Coach Chris Knoche. "They remind me of Georgetown; they can score so many points in such a hurry off their defense. We didn't have much trouble with their full-court defense, but their half-court defense hurt us. Their intensity on defense was impressive.

"They had their way with us down low. I looked at the shot chart for the first half and it looked like a skewed Rorschach. All the scorers and shots for Ohio State were under the basket."

The Eagles played without guard Fred Tillman, whose back tightened up following medication for spasms.