Charles Hinkle led the American University men's basketball team on Senior Day as he recorded a game-high 25 points to lead the Eagles past Lafayette, 76-69, to secure the No. 3 seed in the Patriot League Tournament.
Hinkle was 5-of-7 from beyond the arc on the day and added four rebounds, three assists and three steals. Troy Brewer had 13 points with a team-high eight rebounds. Mike Bersch tallied 11 points off the bench as the American bench outscored Lafayette's by a 33-12 margin.
"I think our guys were almost too ready to play," said Head Coach Jeff Jones following the game. "After the Bucknell game they wanted to come out and play really well. At least for enough of the game we were able to relax and make enough plays, but it wasn't easy."
The game was tied early before American (19-10, 10-4) went on a 22-4 run, shutting the Leopards down for over four and a half minutes, for the 33-13 lead with 3:20 remaining in the first half.
Rob Delaney ended the run with a lay-up and Lafayette (12-17, 7-7) ended the half on a 7-0 run to cut American's lead to 36-22 at the end of the first half.
Bersch and Hinkle led the Eagles with eight points in the first half as Hinkle also added a team-high four rebounds. The Eagles shot 40.6 percent from the field and went 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Seth Hinrichs led Lafayette as the team shot 29.6 percent from the field in the first half and went just 1-of-11 from three-point range.
Hinkle opened the half with three straight three's on each of the Eagles' possessions, giving American a 47-32 lead with 15:11 remaining in the first half. The Leopards answered back with three three-pointers of their own, cutting the lead to 10 points for the first time since 10:39 in the first half, 53-43.
Lafayette continued to chip away at American's lead, going on a 6-0 run, to make it an eight-point game with 5:44 left to play, 5:44. Back-to-back three's from Brewer and a lay-up from Daniel Munoz after a steal at half court put American up 65-51 with 4:36 left to play.
The Leopards continued to deplete the Eagles' lead as Delaney hit a three-pointer to make it a six-point game, 68-62, with 1:35 remaining. But American converted 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch and Blake Jolivette added a lay-up in the closing seconds for the 76-69 final score.
American shot 47.3 percent from the field and 58.8 percent from beyond the arc, going 56.0 percent from the foul line. Ryan Willen led the Leopards with 16 points and 13 rebounds as Lafayette shot 37.1 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from three-point range.
The Eagles return next Wednesday, February 29 when the host Army in the Patriot League Quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. in Bender Arena. Tickets to the game are now available and can be purchased by clicking here or calling (202) 885-TIXX. The game will be broadcast live on Patriot League All-Access.