Teams: American (12-7, 8-0 PL) vs. Navy (7-12, 2-6 PL)
Date and Location: Wed., Jan. 29, 2014, 7:30 p.m.– Bender Arena – Washington, D.C.
Series: 79th meeting; AU leads 40-38
Last Meeting: L, 50-44 – Annapolis, Md. (Feb. 20, 2013)
Web: Patriot League Network - Dain Laing (play-by-play), Jeremy Huber (analyst)
American University men's basketball looks to close out the month of January with a perfect conference record after winning its first eight league contests. The undefeated Eagles host Navy Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 7:30 p.m., in Bender Arena.
Fans around the world can also watch the Patriot League Network stream online via their desktop, tablet or mobile device with Dain Laing (play-by-play) and Jeremy Huber (analyst) calling all the action.
It will be the 79th meeting between the two schools in a rivalry dating back to 1929. Although Navy won the last matchup and trails AU by just two wins in the overall series, the Eagles have dominated since 1988, winning 29 of the past 35 matchups.
AU continues its program best mark, opening the Patriot League slate 8-0 under first-year head coach Mike Brennan, becoming only the sixth league team to do so. In addition to the greatest start in Patriot League history for the Eagles, it is the best start in conference play for AU since the 1980-81 season when then head coach Gary Williams led American to a perfect 11-0 mark in ECC play and a 24-6 overall record.
AU is now riding an nine-game winning streak, with six of those wins coming on the road, five in Patriot League play. Its latest came against a foe that American lost to three times last season, winning in West Point against Army, 84-74.
Thanks to two wins with first-place in the Patriot League on the line, sophomore guard Jesse Reed, who scored 20 points in both victories, earned Patriot League Player of the Week honors. Reed was on fire against BU, making 8-of-9 shots and 3-of-3 from long range to lead an American team that shot over 70% overall and from downtown; both program records. Reed made 5-of-10 shots and 4-of-6 three-pointers while also pulling down a career-high nine rebounds in the win at Army. He averaged 20.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists while shooting 68.4% overall and 77.8% from both three-point range and at the foul line. Reed is AU's third conference player of the week, joining junior John Schoof and senior Tony Wroblicky. American is the first team to have three different POTW honorees since Navy in 2009-10.
Thanks to the AU's nine game nine-game win streak, American has received a vote in the NCAA Division I men's basketball AP Top 25 poll. The Eagles join 14 other programs which are earning votes. 10 schools garnered multiple votes, while AU joins five other teams with one selection. It is the first time since the 2008-09 season that American has earned a vote in the AP poll.
American's defensive unit ranks 17th in the nation, holding opponents to 60.8 points per game this season. While the Eagles have been staunch without the basketball all season long, the AU offense has now caught up to its prowess on D, and ranks fourth in country in team field goal percentage (.506). The so-called "Princeton Offense" has been on full display as well as AU is also 27th in the NCAA with 15.8 assists per game.
Navy got out to a strong start this season, opening the year 4-3, but a four game losing streak derailed the Midshipmen. The Naval Academy won its first conference game against Lafayette, 79-71 but has only one other win (vs. Bucknell, 62-61) in six other Patriot League games.
Leading scorer and assists man Tilman Dunbar is no longer with Navy, after being suspended due to violating team rules. Junior Worth Smith now leads the Mids with 11.0 ppg and a team-high 5.3 rpg. Classmate Brandon Venturini is the only other Naval Academy player in double-digit scoring with 10.8 ppg, connecting on 33 3-pointers this season.
Ed DeChellis is in his third year as the head coach of the Navy basketball program looking to resurrect a tradition-rich program and bring the Midshipmen back to the top of the Patriot League. He comes to Navy after successful stints at East Tennessee State and Penn State, and is the 19th head basketball coach in the 107-year history of Navy basketball.
More on the Eagles
American is the ninth Patriot League team to start 7-0 or better: Bucknell 2005-06 (14 in undefeated season), Fordham 1990-91 (11), Bucknell 2011-12 (10), Holy Cross 2006-07 (10), Navy 1997-98 (9), Holy Cross 1992-93 (7), Bucknell 1994-95 (7), Lafayette 2003-04 (7), American 2013-14 (7).
Coach Brennan is the second Patriot League coach to open their tenure with eight conference wins joining Fordham's Nick Macarchuk had an 11-0 start, also in his first League season in 1990-91.
AU's 71.4 FG% against Boston U. just missed the all-time Patriot League record of 71.7%, while the Eagles 78.6% 3-PT would have been the record but Bucknell hit 80% against Lafayette only two weeks ago.
This year, American boasts four players in double digit scoring as Schoof leads the way with 13.4 ppg. Reed is just behind Schoof's lead with 13.1. Following the dynamic duo is Wroblicky and junior point guard Darius Gardner, who are averaging 12.2 and 11.3 ppg, respectively.
Wroblicky etched his name into the American record book again, recording his 500th career rebound at Holy Cross, becoming the 28th player in program history to do so. The fourth-year center became the fifth player ever in AU history to reach 100 blocks earlier this season and now ranks second all-time with 130 career rejections.
This season, the Eagles boast three true iron men, as Gardner, Schoof and Reed each average over 32 minutes per game. Gardner is top amongst Patriot League players and eighth in the nation with 37.3 mpg, while Schoof is just behind at 36.6, ranking 25th among DI schools. Reed checks in at 32.8 mpg.
After 12 of its first 16 games on the road this season, AU finally returns home for an extended stretch. American plays six of eight game inside the friendly confines of Bender Arena. The contests at Army and at Loyola in near-by Baltimore, Md. are AU's road tilts.
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February Four-Pack Mini Plan
American University Athletics has a special offer for fans and alumni to cheer on the Eagles during this historic season. For only $55, the February 4-Pack provides a sideline reserved ticket to four marquee match-ups, including Phil Bender Day:
Reserve your seats today. Click here to buy online or call the ticket office at (202)-885-TIXX. Come cheer on the Eagles and buy American!