The American men's basketball team, off to one of its best starts in 10 years, hit a speed bump tonight, as the Eagles fell to Marist College, 72-63.

American rolled into McCann Center with a 4-1 mark, hoping to match its best start since 1989, when the Eagles began 6-1.

Their chances of that were scuttled in the second half, when they shot a tepid 24.4 percent, including a span of 9 minutes 40 seconds with one field goal. That allowed the Red Foxes (4-3) to go on a 14-2 run, and open a 10-point lead with less than three minutes to play.

"It was part physical, and part mental," American Coach Art Perry said of his team's problems. "We lost the jump in our legs, and then we got impatient."

That wasn't the case through the first 20 minutes. The Eagles took a 34-31 lead into halftime following an up-and-down first half.

Marist sandwiched scoring strings of 6-0 and 9-2 around an 8-3 American run to take a 23-19 advantage with 7:03 left in the half.

From then on, the Eagles came from being down 23-21 to take a five-point lead before Marist guard Rick Smith (Pallotti High) made a long jumper just before the half to account for two of his team-high 13 points.

"We were doing what we wanted to do," said Perry. "We had the fire in our eyes, the bounce in our step, and that all paid off."

The Eagles took their largest lead, 41-35, in the second half, helped by a three-pointer from Hasheem Alexander and a jumper by Tim Washington (game-high 16 points).

But it was all downhill from there. Smith began the Red Foxes' charge by hitting three quick shots, including a jumper that tied the score at 41. Later, with 10:30 remaining, Patrick Doctor (13 points) restored American's lead at 48-46. But other than a jumper by Ronald Hearns, the Eagles did not score again until Marist had taken a 60-50 lead.

"We played stronger defense down low," Smith said. "We stripped the ball from them, and that turned the game around."

GW WOMEN 95, ALBANY 46: Senior guard Elisa Aguilar, who has struggled this season, scored 20 points to lead five George Washington players in double figures as the Colonials (4-2) won easily at Smith Center.

GW had a season-low nine turnovers and a season-high 27 assists while forcing 26 turnovers by Albany (2-4). Junior center Leslie Carlson scored a career-high 16 points, and freshmen Cathy Joens and Erica Lawrence both had 12 for the Colonials.

VIRGINIA WOMEN 77, LOYOLA (MD.) 63: Lisa Hosac scored a game-high 22 points as the Cavaliers (4-3) won in Charlottesville. Virginia shot 49 percent and forced 21 turnovers. Telisha Quarles (13 points) and Marcie Dickson (10 points) came off the bench to spark the Cavaliers. Loyola (2-5) was led by Erica Rath and Desiree Peterkin, who both scored 14 points.