The American University men's basketball team fought back from a 15-point deficit in the second half, but weren't able to complete a comeback as they fell to the undefeated Bucknell Bison, 67-61, on Wednesday night.
Daniel Munoz scored a career-high 16 points with four assists as Charles Hinkle recorded 12 points, with all of them coming in the second half. Blake Jolivette added 11 points, going a perfect 5-for-5 from the foul line.
Tony Wroblicky posted a team-high nine rebounds and two blocks. Wroblicky's two blocks tonight brought his season total to 36, which ties him for eighth all-time at American in a single season.
"I thought our kids worked really, really hard against a team that's as well-balanced as Bucknell is," said Head Coach Jeff Jones following the game. "We had opportunities. We had certain things that we could've improved on. I thought there were some defensive lapses and they make you pay. You make a mistake and they capitalize."
Bucknell (16-6, 6-0) took a quick lead over American (13-8, 4-2) but a 10-0 run by the Eagles after back-to-back lay-ups from Simon McCormack gave American its first lead of the day, 14-9, and forced the Bison to call a timeout.
The Eagles took their largest lead on four straight points from Munoz before Bucknell went on a 10-2 run to take a 24-23 lead with 1:42 remaining. The lead changed four times in the closing minutes of the first half before Mike Muscala and Bryan Cohen each added buckets to give the Bison a 28-25 advantage at the end of the first half.
American shot 36.0 percent from the floor in the first with Wroblicky posting a team-high seven points and five rebounds. McCormack and Munoz each added four with Munoz tallying three assists. Muscala led the Bison with 10 points as the team shot 55.0 percent from the floor.
Muscala scored the first six points of the half to start an 11-2 run by the Bison as they took their first double-digit lead of the game, 41-30, at 12:42. Bucknell pulled away and went up by as many as 15 points twice. The Eagles were able to chip away at Bucknell's lead with a Munoz three, cutting the Bison's lead to 53-45 with just under six minutes to play.
Neither team was able to score for just over two minutes until a pair of Munoz free throws put the score at 60-53 with 45 seconds left in the game. A three from Munoz cut the lead to six, 62-56. The Eagles cut it to four after a Hinkle three with 14.7 seconds remaining but time expired for the 67-61 Bucknell victory.
"I'm disappointed but I'm certainly pleased with our guys' effort and we'll have things we can improve on and get better from this game," said Coach Jones. "There's a lot of basketball left and hopefully next time we match up we'll do a better job."
American shot 37.7 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three-point range. The Eagles also went 15-of-18 from the charity stripe and outrebounded Bucknell 31-26 in the game.
The Bison shot 51.1 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from beyond the arc. Muscala had a game-high 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field with 12 rebounds, marking his 11th double-double of the season.
American will continue its road trip on Saturday when they travel to Lafayette. The Eagles will return to Bender Arena on Wednesday, February 9 to take on Lehigh at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available for the game and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling (202) 885-TIXX. All of American's upcoming games will be broadcast live on Patriot League All-Access.