The American University men's basketball team entered yesterday's game against East Carolina badly needing a confidence boost. The Eagles had lost six of their past seven games, and had dropped to eighth place in the nine-team Colonial Athletic Association.

But the Eagles helped themselves by defeating the Pirates, 72-64, at Bender Arena. Sophomore forward Patrick Doctor led AU with 21 points, and reserves Keith Gray (11 points and six rebounds) and David Olsen (10 points) each scored their season highs.

The victory moved the Eagles (7-8, 2-2 CAA) past East Carolina (7-9, 2-3) in the conference standings, although they play four of their next five games on the road.

"We had some heart-to-heart talks after our last two losses [to Coastal Carolina and George Washington]," American Coach Art Perry said. "We felt we had some guys who weren't as focused as they should have been. I was proud of the way our guys responded [yesterday]."

Perry said he was particularly pleased with Gray, a sophomore forward who received a great deal of attention from Perry this week. Gray compiled his season-best statistics in just 19 minutes.

Olsen, a senior guard, contributed three three-point baskets, and redshirt freshman guard Hasheem Alexander scored 14 points. American needed help from those players because freshman Tim Washington, who has started nine games at small forward, could not play because of the flu.

American had control most of the game, taking a 7-0 lead and going into halftime with a 28-23 advantage. East Carolina--which was picked to finish second in the CAA in a preseason media poll--rallied to take its only lead, 41-40, with just over 11 minutes left.

But a few minutes later American went on a 13-2 run, capped by Gray's breakaway dunk, to take a 60-48 lead.

VIRGINIA 98, CLEMSON 91: The Cavaliers, who led by 22 in the second half, went 11 of 14 from the line in the final minute to thwart the Tigers' second-half rally and hang on in Clemson, S.C.

The Cavaliers (11-5, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) ended a four-game losing streak at Littlejohn Coliseum by overcoming a career performance by Clemson sophomore Will Solomon.

Solomon scored a career-high 43 points on 14-for-21 shooting. He was 8 for 12 on three-point shots and 7 of 10 from the line. The eight three-pointers was also a career high and tied the single-game school record.

"Will's performance was one of the best individual performances I have seen," Clemson Coach Larry Shyatt said. "And he did it against a Virginia team that has outstanding defenders in the back court."

HAMPTON 99, HOWARD 82: In Hampton, Va., Tarvis Williams hit 12 of 14 shots and scored a career-high 27 points. Marseilles Brown and Tommy Adams each added 18 points for the Pirates (6-7, 4-1 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference). Antonio Michell had 24 points for the Bison (1-11, 1-2).

UDC 83, LINCOLN 52: Al Garner grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots during a 20-4 second-half run that helped the Firebirds (2-11) pull away at home. Kenneth Marshall scored 10 of his 21 points and Derrick Gooding made two three-points shots during the run.

GOUCHER 84, CATHOLIC 79: The host Cardinals dropped their first Capital Athletic Conference game after shooting 22 percent (7 of 31) in the second half. Pat Maloney led Catholic (11-2, 3-1) with 24 points, making all nine of his free throw attempts.