Men’s Basketball Hosts UMBC in Bender Arena Opener
Teams: American (0-1) at UMBC (1-1)
Date and Location: Thurs., November 14, 2013, 7:30 p.m. – Bender Arena, Washington, D.C.
Series: Ninth meeting; American leads, 5-3
Last Meeting: W, 73-70 (2OT) – Baltimore, Md. (December 6, 2012)
TV: Comcast SportsNet DC – Jon Lasser (play-by-play), Brooks Berry (analyst)
Internet Video: Patriot League Network – Dain Laing (play-by-play), Jeremy Huber (analyst)
The American University men's basketball team will play its first home game of the 2013-14 season, hosting UMBC on Thursday, November 14, at 7:30 p.m. It will be Mike Brennan's first contest in front of the Eagle faithful as AU's head coach. The matchup airs live on Comcast SportsNet.
Fans in the D.C.-Metro area can tune into CSN with play-by-play man Jon Laaser on the call and Brooks Berry providing color. Those outside the regional area can log on to the Patriot League Network for the web stream with Dan Laing and Jeremy Huber calling the action.
It will be the ninth ever meeting between the two schools with American (0-1) holding a 5-3 series advantage, winning the last three meetings, including last year's double-overtime thriller at UMBC (1-1), 73-70. Junior co-captain John Schoof played all 50 minutes in the contest, scoring 19 points including the four final points of the game, all at the free-throw line..
Thursday night will mark the first time on Stafford "Pop" Cassell Court for Brennan in over four years. In his last game in Bender Arena, Brennan was an assistant coach for the Eagles as they won their second-straight Patriot League Championship and advanced to their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
Last Time Out
American is coming off an impressive showing in its season-opener at George Mason, holding a lead in Fairfax, Va., into the final five minutes before a late Patriot comeback edged AU, 63-60.
The Eagles were led by sophomore guard Jesse Reed who scored a team high 15 points. The second-year swingman set career high in points, minutes (37), field goals (5-of-11), 3-pointers (3-of-8) and steals (three).
The season-opener also marked the first game for junior transfer from Stephen F. Austin State, Darius Gardner. The point guard dished out a game-high six assists without recording a turnover. "P.Wee" also tallied 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting with two 3-pointers.
The Retrievers picked up their first win of the season on Monday night, using a second half comeback to force overtime against Division III Eastern (Pa.). UMBC trailed 41-29 at the half, but came back and outscored the Eagles in OT, 13-8, for the 84-79 win.
UMBC lost its season opener at Arizona State, 96-61.
Sophomore forward Malik Garner leads the Retrievers with 22.0 ppg this season while also grabbing 7.0 rpg. Freshman guard Rodney Elliot is second on the squad with 15.5 ppg and leads the squad with eight assists. Senior big man Brett Roseboro is averaging a team high nine rebounds per game and is third on the team with 9.5 ppg.
Head coach Aki Thomas is in his second year at the helm of the Retrievers. After serving five years as an assistant coach at UMBC, Thomas led the team to the American East semifinals and an 8-23 overall record.
More on the Eagles
Senior center Tony Wroblicky made his presence felt in the season-opener, swatting five shots at George Mason. It is the first time in two years that an AU player has recorded five or more blocks. Wroblicky owned that record with seven blocks against Florida Atlantic on Nov. 16, 2011.
Third-year sharpshooter John Schoof started where he left off last season, hitting two from long distance against the Patriots. Schoof ranked among the nation's best last season with a .507 (70-138) 3-point percentage.
Junior forward Kyle Kager set numerous career highs at Mason, narrowly missing a double-double. Kager set career bests in points (8), rebounds (9) and minutes (20), in his first start in nearly a year.
The game also marked the debut for three AU rookies. Point guard Justice Montgomery, big man Yilret Yiljep and guard Charlie Jones each stepped on the hardwood for the first time in their college careers. Yiljep logged 20 minutes and grabbed two rebounds, Montgomery played 10 minutes with a steal and Jones checked in as AU's first guard off the bench, playing three minutes with a rebound.
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Bright Lights at Bender
The men's basketball team will play several games in front of live television audiences this season including four at Bender Arena. The Eagles will host Maryland-Baltimore County on Thursday, November 14, in the team's home-opener on Comcast SportsNet. AU also has three other games which will air on CSN-plus. American takes on Brown University on Saturday, December 7, at 2 p.m., in a nonconference showdown before two televised Patriot League contests, taking on Lafayette on Saturday, January 18, at 2 p.m., and facing off against Army on Cassell Hall of Fame Day, Saturday, February 22, at 2 p.m. Last season, the Eagles went 5-0 in televised games at Bender Arena.
All AU students are invited to attend a tailgate in the Amphitheater prior to Thursday night's tip-off. The tailgate will begin at 6 p.m., and will feature sandwiches and wraps from Booeymonger as well as games and other activities. Special appearances by the Spirit Team, Clawed the Eagle and Athletic Director Billy Walker will occur throughout the evening. Students will also have a chance to enter a raffle to win $100 in Eagle Bucks. At 7 p.m., students will be allowed to enter Bender Arena through a special side entrance, where there will be free Coca-Cola, Robeks, and more chances to enter the $100 Eagle Bucks raffle.
The Eagles tip-off a four game road trip to end November with four games in 10 days away from Bender Arena. American travels to Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday, November 20 for a 7:30 p.m., matchup with nationally-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, aired live on the Big Ten Network.