Playing against one of the top team's in the in nation, the American University men's basketball team took it to the No. 8/8 Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, holding a lead into the final minutes of the first half. The Buckeyes made a run in the second and looked to pull away, but AU closed to within single digits of Ohio State late before the eventual 63-52 OSU win.
The American (1-2) defense was solid, holding Ohio State (4-0) to 35.7 percent shooting in the game, incluing 7-of-27 shots in the first half, while swatting seven Buckeye shots, led by senior center Tony Wroblicky's four blocks. AU was also strong on the perimeter, holding OSU to 3-of-16 attempts from beyond the arc.
The Buckeye defense was just as strong however, coming up with 15 steals and scoring 26 points off of AU turnovers. OSU also benefited from free throws, converting 20-of-29 trips to the charity stripe, compared to a 6-of-7 mark for the Eagles.
"Against a good team like Ohio State, you have to do a number a number of things right to have a chance to win. Unfortunately turnovers, some missed shots and transition opportunities kept us from doing that," said head coach Mike Brennan. "We did some things well, but need to come up with those important rebounds and limit costly turnovers in order to win."
The Eagles held a 14-10 lead midway through the first half after 3-pointers by sophomore Jesse Reed and junior John Schoof. AU kept the advantage until 3:46 remaining in the stanza, but Ohio State ended the frame on an 8-3 run to take a five-point lead into the break.
The Buckeyes built their lead to 10 early in the second and though AU was able to cut it to single-digits four times, getting to within seven at, 51-44, after a Reed layup, Ohio State used a 9-0 run to build the largest lead of the game with only 2:17 reaming.
AU refused to back down however, closing to within nine points on a layup by Wroblicky in the final minute, but Ohio State converted its free throws late to end the Eagles' rally.
Three-double digit scorers led American offensively. Reed finished with a team-high 15 points, including three treys with four rebounds. Junior point guard Darius Gardner followed up his career best performance with 10 points, five assists and two rebounds, while Wroblicky added 14 points on 7-10 shooting with seven boards.
Ohio State was led by center Amir Williams who scored a game-high 16 points, adding seven rebounds. Guard Shannon Scott netted 13 points and grabbed a contest best nine boards.
AU continues its four-game road trip, this Saturday, November 23, when they take on Mount St. Mary's at 4 p.m.