The American University men's basketball team handed Holy Cross its first Patriot League loss of the season on Saturday as the Eagles picked up a 67-54 win over the Crusaders to remain undefeated in Bender Arena.
Senior Charles Hinkle notched his first career double-double and the first of the season for the Eagles with 17 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. The senior also recorded a team-high five assists. Daniel Munoz matched his career-high with 14 points and Simon McCormack chipped in eight off the bench.
"Terrific win for our team today against obviously a very good Holy Cross team," said Head Coach Jeff Jones. "It was nice to see us bounce back with that kind of effort and intensity after the loss at Lehigh the other day."
American (11-7, 2-1 PL) came out firing and opened up the game on a 13-4 run, which was capped by a Riley Grafft three-point play at the 13:01 mark. The Crusaders (8-9, 2-1 PL) converted only one field goal in the game's first 10 minutes, but an R.J. Evans three brought Holy Cross to within nine, 19-10. American's lead quickly returned to double digits on a baseline jumper by Tony Wroblicky.
McCormack drove to the hoop in back-to-back possessions before John Schoof knocked down American's first three of the game. The Eagles took their largest lead of the game after three straight free throws, 31-13, with 5:32 remaining in the half. However, Holy Cross outscored the Eagles 8-4 to end the half and cut American's lead to 35-23 at the break.
The Eagles outshot Holy Cross 57.7 percent to 27.3 percent in the first half. Hinkle led all scorers with eight points and four rebounds, while Phil Beans and Justin Burrell had five points apiece for the Crusaders.
Holy Cross came out of the locker room with a 24-11 run to seize its first lead of the game, 47-46, at the 9:20 mark. Wroblicky responded with a lay-up in the lane and Troy Brewer drained a three to put American back in the lead. Blake Jolivette pushed the lead to 61-54 with 1:59 left, and a Munoz floater thirty seconds later sealed the 67-54 victory.
American held the visiting Crusaders to just 30.6 percent shooting, the third consecutive game in which the Eagles have held opponents to 40 percent or less from the field.
American improved to 8-0 at Bender Arena with the win and 2-1 in conference play. The Eagles have now won eight of their last 10 games against Holy Cross dating back to February 6, 2008.
The Eagles will look to maintain their momentum when they travel to face Navy on Wednesday, January 18 at 7 p.m. American will look to continue its home win streak on Saturday, January 21 when they take on Army in the 2012 Phil Bender Game. Tickets are still available for the game and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling (202) 885-TIXX. The game will also be broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet and Patriot League All-Acccess.