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February 29, 2012

Balanced Scoring Leads Men’s Basketball to PL Quarterfinals Victory; Watch Highlights

Nine different players scored and the No. 3 American University men's basketball team never trailed on its way to a 57-40 victory over No. 6 Army to advance to the Patriot League Semifinals. The Eagles will now travel to Lehigh to take on the No. 2 Mountain Hawks on Saturday, March 3 at 2 p.m.

American recorded its 20th victory with the win, marking the program's fourth 20-win season in five years. The Eagles also improved to a perfect 11-0 in Patriot League Quarterfinal match-ups.

"For such an ugly game it was beautiful for us," said Head Coach Jeff Jones following the game. "We played awfully hard and both teams played really, really hard. It was a really physical game, a lot of contact, but the big thing was we just kind of outlasted them. We had a lot of different guys chip in. We were able to have other guys step up. It's a good win."

Daniel Munoz recorded a team-high 11 points to lead the Eagles' scorers. Charles Hinkle tallied nine rebounds while Munoz also added four assists and two steals.

American (20-10, 10-4) opened the game with back-to-back three's from Troy Brewer and Munoz and jumped out to an 11-5 lead off a jumper from Brewer at 11:45. Munoz tallied another three and Simon McCormack added the three-point play for a 17-9 lead with 5:13 remaining in the first half.

The Eagles closed out the half on a 6-0 run, with Hinkle adding a fade-away jumper as the shot clock expired for the 23-11 halftime lead.

Munoz led the Eagles with six points in the first half as Brewer and Hinkle each posted five. Riley Grafft and Munoz each posted a team-high four rebounds. American shot 36.0 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from beyond the arc as Army was held to 16.7 percent shooting from the field and went just 1-of-11 from three-point range. Julian Simmons had a team-high five points for the Black Knights.

American opened the second half on a 9-2 run as Munoz hit his third three-pointer of the game for the 32-13 lead with 15:59 remaining. The Eagles continued to roll and took their largest lead of the game, 39-17, after two buckets from Blake Jolivette and a lay-up from McCormack on three straight possessions with 11:24 to play.

Army (12-18, 5-9) was able to cut American's lead to 41-30 with a three from Chris Gramling at 6:25. The Black Knights were able to bring it within 12 points in the closing minutes off a three-point play from Ella Ellis, 49-37, with 2:49 remaining. But the Eagles closed out the game converting 6-of-6 free throws with a pull-up jumper from Hinkle for the 57-40 final score.

The Eagles shot 39.1 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from beyond the arc in the game, holding Army to 26.3 percent and 15.4 percent from three-point range. Ellis led all scorers with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

"We play the game on the court, and we're going to do everything we can to find a way to win," Coach Jones said about Saturday's match-up. "Lehigh's a terrific team. CJ McCollum's a very, very good player, but I like our team too."

A limited number of seats are available in the AU section for Saturday's semifinal match-up. Tickets can be purchased by calling 202-885-TIXX or via email to kparker@american.edu. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for youth 17 and under. The game will also be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

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