Undefeated Men’s Basketball Takes on Holy Cross, Saturday on Phil Bender Day
Teams: American (13-7, 9-0 PL) vs. Holy Cross (12-9, 6-3 PL)
Date and Location: Sat., Feb. 1, 2014, 1 p.m.– Bender Arena – Washington, D.C.
Series: 32nd meeting; AU trails 18-13
Last Meeting: W, 69-54 – Worcester, Mass. (Jan. 5, 2014)
Web: Patriot League Network – Chris Spatola (play-by-play), Ray Crawford (color)
Tickets - A limited amount of premium location sideline reserved chairback tickets remain
American University men's basketball closed out the month of January with a perfect 9-0 record, sweeping the first half of its Patriot League schedule. The second half of the slate begins on Saturday, when the Eagles host Holy Cross at 1 p.m., as AU celebrates its annual "Phil Bender" day.
Fans around the world can also watch the Patriot League Network stream online via their desktop, tablet or mobile device with Chris Spatola (play-by-play) and Ray Crawford (analyst) calling all the action.
It will be the 32nd ever meeting between the two foes with Holy Cross holding a 18-13 series advantage, dating back to 1967. Despite the series deficit, the Eagles have won five of the last seven and 10 of the last 14 meetings including a 15-point win in Worcester a few weeks ago.
AU continues its program best mark, opening the Patriot League slate 9-0 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.
The Eagles are also one of only 18 Division I teams undefeated in conference play, and one of three at 9-0.
AU is now riding a 10-game winning streak, with six of those wins coming on the road, nine in Patriot League play. Its came thanks in large part to Reigning Patriot League Player of the Week, Jesse Reed. The sophomore guard continuing his hot streak, scoring a career high 28 points on 6-of-8 shooting from downtown.
Thanks to two wins with first-place in the Patriot League on the line, Reed, who scored 20 points in both victories, earned weekly conference 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 10 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 that 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 14th in the nation, holding opponents to 60.4 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 (.507). The so-called "Princeton Offense" has been on full display as well as AU is also 29th in the NCAA with 15.8 assists per game.
Scouting Holy Cross
The Crusaders come into Bender Arena on a roll, wining their past five straight games. Since falling to American back on Jan. 5, Holy Cross is 6-1 and currently stands in third place in the conference standings.
Big man Dave Dudzinski continues to lead the way for the Crusaders posting 15.6 ppg, pacing seven players averaging 7.0 ppg or more. Dudzinski also averages a team-high 7.5 rpg after putting up a 24-12 line in a win versus Loyola in the teams' last game. Swingman Malcolm Miller has been strong as of late, now averaging 10.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg and a team-high 46 assists.
Head coach Milan Brown is in his fourth season as the head men's basketball coach at the College of the Holy Cross in 2013-2014. He owns a 35-53 overall record during his time with the Crusaders, to go along with a 20-22 mark in Patriot League play.In 2012-2013, Brown's squad went 8-6 in non-conference action, good for the team's first winning mark in non-league play since 2007-2008.
More on the Eagles
Coach Brennan is the second Patriot League coach to open their tenure with nine 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 three weeks ago.
This year, American boasts four players in double digit scoring as Reed leads the way with 13.9 ppg. Schoof is just behind Reed's lead with 13.1. Following the dynamic duo is Wroblicky and junior point guard Darius Gardner, who are averaging 12.0 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 134 career rejections, one behind the all–time leader, Stephen Lumpkins '13.
This season, the Eagles boast three true iron men, as Gardner, Schoof and Reed each average over 33 minutes per game. Gardner is top amongst Patriot League players and eighth in the nation with 37.2 mpg, while Schoof is just behind at 36.2, ranking 25th among DI schools. Reed checks in at 33.0 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:
- Holy Cross – Saturday, Feb. 1 at 1 p.m.
- Colgate – Saturday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m.
- Lehigh – Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
- Army – Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m.
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!