March 14, 2012

Men's Basketball Concludes Season with 78-61 Loss in First Round of CIT

Despite a strong effort from Charles Hinkle and a season-high 19 offensive rebounds, the American University men's basketball team fell to the Buffalo Bulls, 78-61, in the opening round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament in Bender Arena Wednesday night.

Hinkle notched 22 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals in the game. Tony Wroblicky chipped in 11 points, eight rebounds and four blocks while Troy Brewer also scored 11 points.

"I think it's a terrific reward for our kids to make postseason play," Head Coach Jeff Jones said. "These kids worked so hard and found a way to be a team, so I'm proud that they were able to play another game."

The Eagles (20-12, 10-4) scored the game's first bucket on a Wroblicky hook shot and followed it with a Hinkle three, jumping out to an early 5-2 lead at the 1:08 mark in what would be American's only lead of the night. An Auraum Nuiriankh three-pointer and dunk by Mitchell Watt sparked a 32-10 run that spanned most of the first half.

Nine consecutive points by Hinkle and Brewer pulled the Eagles to within 10, making it 34-24 at the 3:06 mark, and a pair of Wroblicky jumpers closed out the half. American entered the locker room down by nine, 37-28.

The Eagles shot 37.5 percent from the floor in the first half to Buffalo's 53.6 percent. Hinkle led all scorers with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting with Wroblicky recording eight points. Javon McCrea and Watt led the Bulls with 10 and eight points, respectively.

After Buffalo's Jarod Oldham converted a layup to begin the second half, American responded with consecutive three-pointers by Hinkle and John Schoof to pull within five, 39-34. But the Bulls responded with two three's of their own in the next 30 seconds.

A Mike Bersch jumper at the 5:01 mark cut the Buffalo lead to 51-40, but the Bulls answered with a 13-6 spurt. Despite jumpers from Brewer and Blake Jolivette, the Eagles weren't able to climb back into the lead and fell 78-61.

"That's a good basketball team," Jones said of Buffalo after the game. "Their inside players do a good job of being physical from the offensive end, and then they started knocking down three's…they're well coached."

American's 19 offensive rebounds were its most in over four years since the Eagles notched 21 offensive boards on January 30, 2008 against Navy. The Eagles also scored 15 second chance points to Buffalo's eight.

Zach Filzen and McCrea led the Bulls with 18 points apiece while Watt had a  game-high nine rebounds.

The game marked American's third postseason appearance in the last five years and its first in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. The Eagles also notched their second consecutive 20-win season and fourth in five years.