It was a battle of Patriot League men's basketball unbeatens on Wednesday night in Bender Arena with conference preseason favorite Boston University and American both squaring off with perfect 6-0 records. AU was locked in, setting a program record in field goal percentage, shooting 71.4 percent from the floor on their way to an 86-56 victory and sole possession of first place in the league.
American (11-7, 7-0) had its most prolific shooting night in school history, knocking down 30-of-42 attempts against Boston U (13-7, 6-1), topping the previous program record of 69.7 (23-of-33) set against South Alabama in 1981.
Not only was the AU offense on full display, its defensive unit which ranks 15th in the nation in scoring average (60.4) was staunch, holding Boston to 15 points under their season average.
"I thought our defense played really well tonight. We were strong on the glass and a game after not shooting particularly well, we improved quickly," said head coach Mike Brennan. "We worked hard all week, getting up shots while trying to get better in our offensive sets. Tonight showed the time we put in really paid off."
Boston opened up an 11-point lead, its largest of the game, at 13-2 to start the contest. AU took the Terriers challenge and answered with a 12-0 run of their own. After two lead changes, the Eagles used a second run, 21-6, which built American's largest lead of the frame at 14.
The two teams traded baskets through the first six minutes of the second half, but BU was unable to close to within more than 10 of the Eagles. The shots began to fall in bunches for AU as American forced the Terriers into bad shots, especially beyond the arc where Boston was just 4-of-16.
The Eagles did well to limit BU's "big three" to only 8-of-28 shots from the field as the trio of Dom Morris, Maurice Watson and D.J. Irving struggled. Watson, who ranks fifth in the nation with 6.8 assists per game, was also held to only four dimes as the Terriers only assisted on seven of 16 makes.
If not for BU's ability to get to the line (20-of-27), the runaway victory for the Eagles could have been even greater. It is AU's second 30-point victory of the season, after winning at Saint Francis (Pa.) , 75-43.
American set a season high with 86 points in the game and tied its best mark from 3-point range this year, also hitting 11 at San Francisco on Dec. 12, 2013.
Sophomore guard Jesse Reed posted a game-high 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc. Junior point guard Darius Gardner, who had hit only nine 3-pointers on the year, went 5-of-6 from distance, finishing with 18 points and five assists.
As a team, AU was 11-of-14 from 3-point range, besting its' season-best mark by 21 percentage points.
Senior center Tony Wroblicky battled through foul trouble to finish with 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting including a perfect 7-of-7 mark from the line. Wroblicky added six boards and two blocks. Sophomore big man Zach Elcano was strong in his absences, playing a career high 13 minutes with personal bests of four points and three rebounds.
Sophomore forward Marko Vasic was also strong off the bench, scoring 11 point on 5-of-6 shooting with seven rebounds and six assists.
The Eagles, who a now riding an eight-game win streak, will look to keep it going on Saturday, Jan. 25 at Army.