WASHINGTON -- If the Loyola Greyhounds weren't acutely aware of what a difference point guard Tracy Bergan makes before last night, they are now.
Bergan, who had averaged 20.3 points and 5.1 assists while engineering Loyola's 2-1 start, stayed home to nurse the tendinitis in his left knee. And the Greyhounds walked into Bender Arena to face a winless, frustrated American University team and suffered the consequences.
The Eagles used their size to take command early with strong play inside, blitzed the Greyhounds with an outside shooting exhibition to draw away to a 16-point halftime lead, then led by as many as 27 before settling for a 112-96 rout.
American improved to 1-3 and handed Loyola (2-2) its second straight loss, preventing the Greyhounds from passing last year's victory total.
The Greyhounds sorely could have used Bergan's ball-handling and leadership skills against the inspired Eagles. A tendinitis problem that has bothered him since Friday kept him out. Bergan, who played in Saturday's 90-70 loss against St. Joe's, has not practiced this week, and is questionable for Saturday's game at Mount St. Mary's.
"I'd rather talk about the guys that played tonight. Guys get hurt, other guys have to step up. AU has to get the credit tonight," Loyola coach Skip Prosser said. "They had their way with us. They took the fight to us.
"One-hundred-twelve points in 40 minutes is a lot of points. You have to make teams miss, not hope that they miss."
The Greyhounds did find a silver lining. Freshman Milton Williams, who replaced Bergan, struggled early but regained his composure to score a career-high 19 points. Junior forward B. J. Pendleton scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Freshman guard Darius Johnson scored 12 points and dished out five assists. And the Greyhounds shot a solid 48.3 percent.
Trouble was, American hit 39 of 88 shots -- 13 more attempts than Loyola -- and made 13 of 30 three-point shots. The Eagles forced 23 turnovers, out-rebounded Loyola 55-47 and had 26 assists to Loyola's 12.
"I take responsibility for not setting the tone tonight," Pendleton said. "We didn't play with the same enthusiasm we had in our other games. They came out hungrier."
Darryl Franklin led the Eagles with 23 points.