Teams: American (15-9, 11-2 PL) at Lafayette (7-17, 3-10 PL)
Date and Location: Sat., Feb. 15, 2014, 2 p.m.– Kirby Sports Center – Easton, Pa.
Series: 51st meeting; AU leads 32-18
Last Meeting: W, 66-61– Washington, D.C. (Jan. 18, 2014)
Video: Patriot League Network
Radio: Federal News Radio 1050AM – Dan Laing (play-by-play), Jeremy Huber (analyst)
American University men's basketball travels to Easton, Pa., for a Saturday afternoon tilt against Lafayette, Feb. 15, at 2 p.m. The Eagles aim to remain atop the Patriot League standings with their 12th conference will of the season, which would clinch a top-four seed in the league playoffs and home game in the quarterfinals.
Fans around the world can watch the Patriot League Network stream online via their desktop, tablet or mobile device, while the AU faithful can listen to the radio broadcast via Federal News Radio 1050AM with Dan Laing and Jeremy Huber on the call.
It will be the 51st ever meeting between the two foes with American holding a 32-18 series advantage, dating back to 1962. American has dominated the series as of late winning 18 of the last 20 matchups, including a 66-61 victory inside Bender Arena last month with the Eagles scoring the final seven points of the game. AU sealed the victory with a 3-pointer from Darius "Pee Wee" Gardner with 1:39 to play, putting the Eagles ahead 62-61. Junior guard John Schoof scored a game-high 16 points.
After its first two conference losses of the season last week, AU rebounded on Wednesday with a 20-point over Lehigh, setting a new Patriot League season-low in points allowed, surrendering just 44. The AU defense came alive with a season-high 14 steals, with Gardner and Schoof accounting for nine.
American's offense found its groove just prior to the start of the Patriot League season and continues to roll with only five games left in the regular season. AU ranks first in the country in field goal percentage (.506), upping that number to .529 in conference games. The Eagles are also 31st in assists per game (15.5), dishing out 16.8 against league foes.
American also forces its paces of play on opponents, ranking 11th nationally allowing only 59.8 ppg, 58.2 in Patriot League games. AU also boasts a +10.3 scoring margin in conference games, the best in the league.
American opened the Patriot League slate with at 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. During the streak, AU twice received a vote in the AP Top 25 poll, its first since the 2008-09 season.
Despite the low record in the Patriot League, falling it their first nine conference games, Lafayette is 3-1 in its last four games, the lone blemish coming in Boston versus BU. The return of leading scorer Seth Hinrichs has keyed the run for the Leopards.
After missing nine games with a knee injury, Hinrichs has returned as a force for Lafayette, averaging team highs with 17.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg and a.460 mark from beyond the arc. The juior forward leads five Leopards in double-digit scoring, but while Lafayette often racks up the points, they do allow them; giving up 74.4 ppg.
Fran O'Hanlon is in his 19th season as the head coach of the Lafayette basketball program. He is the longest tenured coach in the Patriot League, has won three conference titles and owns two NCAA Tournament appearances. The native of Philadelphia holds the record for games coached in the Patriot League with 533 entering the 2013-14 season. O'Hanlon enters the 2013-14 campaign with a 258-275 career record.
More on the Eagles
AU has reached 11 Patriot League wins for the first time since the 2010-11 season and only the third time in its 13 years in the conference. It is also the eighth time in program history the Eagles have reached 11 conference wins, dating back to 1927.
This year, American boasts four players in double digit scoring as sophomore Jesse Reed leads the way with 14.0 ppg. Schoof is just behind Reed's lead with 12.5. Following the dynamic duo is senior center Tony Wroblicky and Gardner who are averaging 12.3 and 11.9 ppg, respectively.
Reed has been locked in offensively, especially from 3-point range. He leads the Patriot League and ranks ninth in the nation from deep, knocking down half of his attempts (47-of-94).
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 after two blocks vs. Lehigh now owns the all-time career rejections record at 140, surpassing former teammate Stephen Lumpkins '13. At 50 blocks this year, he is two shy of his own single-season record.
This season, the Eagles boast four true iron men, as Gardner, Schoof, Reed and Wroblicky each average over 30 minutes per game. Gardner is top amongst Patriot League players and 17th in the nation with 36.9 mpg, while Schoof is second in the conference at 36.7, ranking 23rd among DI schools. Reed checks in at 33.9 mpg, while Wroblicky now hit 30.3 mpg.
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.
Social Media Insider
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The American University Department of Athletics has partnered with Chevy Chase Florist this Valentine's Day, offering AU fans and alumni a special 10% discount off any rose order now through this Friday, February 14th. Simply call (301) 986-4927 and mention "AU Athletics" to receive your discount, or stop by their store at 5415 Friendship Blvd. in Chevy Chase, Md . Offer valid for local deliveries -- including the AU campus, or in store pick-up only.
AU has a pivotal matchup at BU on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. American returns to Bender Arena on Saturday, Feb. 22 on CSN+ vs. Army at 2 p.m.Tickets start at just $7, and a limited amount of premium location, sideline reserved chair back seats still remain. Secure the best seat locations and purchase tickets 24/7 at AUeagles.com by clicking here.