Patriot League Leading Men’s Basketball Takes On Colgate, Saturday at Bender
Teams: American (14-8, 10-1 PL) vs. Colgate (8-14, 2-9 PL)
Date and Location: Sat., Feb. 8, 2014, 2 p.m.– Bender Arena – Washington, D.C.
Series: 31st meeting; AU leads 26-4
Last Meeting: W, 69-62– Hamilton, N.Y. (Jan. 11, 2014)
Web: Patriot League Network – Dan Laing (play-by-play), Jeremy Huber (analyst)
Tickets - seats still available!
Despite its first loss in 11 games and first of Patriot League season, American University men's basketball still sits atop the conference standings. The Eagles look to get back on the winning track on Saturday afternoon, returning to the friendly confines of Bender Arena, when AU hosts Colgate at 2 p.m. The matchup is also American's inaugural Sustainability Awareness Game.
Fans around the world can watch the Patriot League Network stream online via their desktop, tablet or mobile device with Dan Laing and Jeremy Huber on the call.
It will be the 31st ever meeting between the two foes with American holding a 26-4 series advantage, dating back to 1962. With the Eagles win up at Colgate last month, AU has now won eight in a row versus the Raiders and hold a 14-0 series lead inside Bender Arena.
American opened the Patriot League slate with a 10-0 record, its best start in program history. The Eagles were one win shy of tying the all-time best start in the Patriot League record book and the best conference start in AU history when in the1980-81 season, then head coach Gary Williams led American to a perfect 11-0 mark in ECC play and a 24-6 overall record.
Thanks to the AU's streak of 38-straight days without a loss, American has received a vote in the NCAA Division I men's basketball AP Top 25 poll for a second consecutive week. The Eagles join 12 other programs that are earning votes. 11 schools garnered multiple votes, while AU joins one other team 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 13th in the nation, holding opponents to 60.3 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 second 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 15.6 assists per game.
The Raiders won four of their first six games, finishing with a 6-5 non-Patriot League slate, but have struggled in conference play with wins only at Lafayette and home versus Navy. Colgate is coming off a tough, one-point loss at home to Holy Cross.
Colgate is the second-best 3-point shooting team in the league, hitting .393 (195-of-496) from beyond the arc. The Raiders have 129 more triples attempted this season than AU. Four players average in double-digit scoring led by senior forward Murphy Burnatowski (14.3 points per game). Austin Tilotson (12.9), Damon Sherman-Newsome (11.2) and Ethan Jacobs (11.1) check in after the Canadian big man
Matt Langel was named the 20th head coach in the 111-year history of Colgate basketball on April 25, 2011. Langel came to Colgate after spending five seasons as an assistant coach at Temple University (2006-11). He was a star player at Penn.
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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 sophomore Jesse Reed leads the way with 14.0 ppg. Junior John Schoof is just behind Reed's lead with 12.5. Following the dynamic duo is senior center Tony Wroblicky and junior point guard Darius Gardner, who are averaging 12.2 and 11.6 ppg, respectively.
Reed has been locked in offensively, especially from 3-point range. He leads the Patriot League and ranks 14 in the nation from deep, knocking down half of his attempts (43-of-56).
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 135 career rejections, three behind the all –time leader, Stephen Lumpkins '13. He is also seven blocks shy of his own single-season record.
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 seventh in the nation with 37.4 mpg, while Schoof is just behind at 36.6, ranking 15th among DI schools. Reed checks in at 33.7 mpg. Gardner is tied for the national lead, playing every minute in 12 games this season.
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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The Eagles continue its two-game homestand at Bender Arena next Wednesday, Feb. 12, hosting Lehigh at 7:30 p.m.