Saturday, February 22, 2014

Men's Basketball: American 58 Army 54

Tony Wroblicky led AU in rebounds (12) blocks (2) & steals (3)

American Survives Army Rally, Wins 58-54

The American University men's basketball team played a near-perfect first half, dominating Patriot League nemesis Army on its way to a 30-16 advantage. The Eagles continued their superior play in the second half, building a 23-point lead with 12:40 left in the game; before holding off a furious comeback by the Black Knights, ultimately escaping with a 58-54 win before 1,788 at Bender Arena.

The final 12 minutes notwithstanding, American (16-11, 12-4 PL) looked unstoppable for most of the afternoon. The third best shooting team in Division I basketball before the game (50.2%) AU shot an even better 52.4% in the first half, while holding Army (13-4, 9-7) to a paltry 22.7%. Senior Tony Wroblicky led the way with eight points, eight rebounds and and three steals... The latter coming in the first eight minutes of the contest. Wroblicky finished the game with 14 points, and a team-high 12 rebounds, three steals (tied with Darius Gardner) and two blocks.

Soph sensation Jesse Reed led all scorers with 21 points

Sophomore shooting guard Jesse Reed led all scorers with 21 points, connecting on an astounding 9-10 shots from the field (including 2-3 from beyond the arc.) He also chipped in with seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Reed (the Eagles' leading scorer this season) returns with everyone (save Wroblicky) next fall, so American fans should get used to winning.

Junior John Schoof (#22) grabbed 4 rebounds

AU shot 50% for the game, and 41.7% (5-12) from beyond the arc. When you make that many shots, and hold your opponents to under 40% (Army finished with 36.2%) odds are, you're gonna win a lot of games. Today's conference victory was their 12th of the season... their second highest total in 13 years of Patriot League play (they won 13 back in 2008-09, and can tie/break that record with win(s) over Navy and/or Bucknell.)

The Eagles shut the door on Army in the final minute

With today's win, American moved a game and a half ahead of third-place Holy Cross (16-11, 10-5) in the Patriot League standings. A loss by the Crusaders tomorrow vs. Navy, or at Loyola (MD) next Wednesday would clinch second place for AU (and an additional tourney game at Bender Arena.) The Eagles can also wrap it up on their own (if necessary) with a victory in either of their two final games.

Zach Elcano (#44) provided a spark off the bench

The Eagles travel to Annapolis next Wednesday to face Navy (9-17, 4-11) before returning home to host Senior Day and the Bucknell Bison (13-13, 8-7) on Saturday, March 1st. Tip-off is 2:00 PM, and the first 1,000 fans will receive a free hat courtesy of GEICO Fan Appreciation Day. Tickets are still available (click here to purchase.) Tickets are also on sale for the Patriot League Quarterfinals vs. TBA, Wednesday, March 5th at 7:30 PM (click here to purchase.)

AU Dance Team rocks the house at halftime

Click here for today's box score.