The American University men's basketball team overcame a slow start at Mount St. Mary's, taking their first lead of the game with just over five minutes remaining, but the Mountaineers were able to survive the late Eagle comeback for a 68-64 win.
Sophomore guard Jesse Reed led the way for the Eagles with his aggressive play, setting career highs with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field and added personal bests with six rebounds and three assists.
Early turnovers cost American (1-3) as Mount St. Mary's (1-5) took an early lead and built its largest advantage of the game at 23-9 with 8:21 to go in the first half. AU was able to shake off 12 first half miscues which resulted in 17 points for the Mountaineers and got its first go-ahead score with 5:22 to play in the second.
The lead changed hands six times in the final five minutes with the Eagles last holding the advantage after a layup by senior center Tony Wroblicky put AU up 59-58. Six-straight Mount points put MSM in control however, setting them up for the victory.
"I thought we did a good job adjusting to their full-court pressure in the early going," said head coach Mike Brennan. "We got punched in the mouth at the start of the game. We worked to get back on track and played well in the second, but we need to continue to work and get better each day to learn how to secure those types of victories."
Coach Brennan and the Eagles adjusted well at the break, turning the ball over just twice after a double-digit mark in the first frame, while outscoring Mount 37-35 in the second stanza.
American shot well in the game, hitting 26-of-48 attempts (54.2%) including 6-of-15 shots from long range and 6-of-7 from the free throw line.
The charity stripe made the difference however as Mount St. Mary's got to the line 25 more times than the Eagles, converting 22 free throws.
Junior John Schoof joined Reed as AU's only two double-digit scorers, registering 13 points with a 3-pointer, three rebounds and two assists. Junior point guard Darius Gardner scored nine points and dished out five assists while Wroblicky also added nine points with four boards, two blocks and three assists.
American got one of its best performances off the bench this season as sophomore forward Marko Vasic played 18 minutes, scoring seven points on 3-of-6 shooting with a 3-pointer and team-high seven rebounds.
AU continues its four-game road swing next Tuesday, November 26, when they travel to New York City to take on Columbia.