Battle for First: Men’s Basketball Heads to BU for Patriot League Showdown
Teams: American (15-10, 11-3 PL) at Boston U. (19-8, 12-2 PL)
Date and Location: Wed., Feb. 19, 2014, 7 p.m.– Agganis Arena – Boston, Mass.
Series: Fifth meeting; series tied, 2-2
Last Meeting: W, 86-56– Washington, D.C. (Jan. 22, 2014)
Video: Patriot League Network
Radio: Federal News Radio 1050AM – Dan Laing (play-by-play), Jeremy Huber (analyst)
American University men's basketball battles winter weather and heads north to take on Boston University on Wednesday, February 19, with first-place in the Patriot League on the line. The Eagles and Terriers will square off at 7 p.m., inside Agganis Arena.
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 only the fifth meeting between the two schools and second in a month after not meeting for 16 years. The Terriers won the two most recent matchups in 1997 and 1998, both by identical scores of 58-56. American won the first-ever game back in the 1942-43 season, 43-42.
It was a battle of Patriot League men's basketball unbeatens with each team boasting perfect 6-0 records in the first meeting this season. AU was locked in offensively, setting a program record in field goal percentage, shooting 71.4 percent from the floor on their way to an 86-56 victory.
American had its most prolific shooting night in school history, knocking down 30-of-42 attempts against Boston U., topping the previous program record of 69.7 (23-of-33) set against South Alabama in 1981.
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 third in the country in field goal percentage (.504), upping that number to .524 in conference games. The Eagles are also 33rd in assists per game (15.4), dishing out 16.4 against league foes.
American also forces its paces of play on opponents, ranking 13th nationally allowing only 60.3 ppg, 59.3 in Patriot League games. AU also boasts a +8.7 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.
Scouting Boston U.
The preaseason favorite in the Patriot League, Boston U., has been rolling in conference play, aside from its loss to the Eagles and an overtime buzzer-beater by Lehigh's Mackey McKnight. The Terriers are on a four-game win streak and have won 12 of 14 games in the new year. BU is the top scoring offense in Patriot League play this year, scoring 72.6 ppg, while allowing 65.0 points in league game.
Sophomore guard Maurice Watson leads the Terrier offense with 13.6 ppg and leads the Patriot League with 6.7 assists per game. Watson is followed by the senior duo of guard D.J. Irving (12.7 ppg) and big man Dom Morris (11.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg). Just behind the Terrier trio is sharpshooter John Papale, who averages 8.3 ppg and leads BU with 56 3-pointers.
With 19 years of coaching experience, Joe Jones enters the 2013-14 season in his third year at the helm with the Boston University men's basketball team. Despite being banned from the America East tournament in March due to the move to the Patriot League, the Terriers (17-13, 11-5 AE) had an impressive year, highlighted by their third postseason appearance in four years. They finished second in the league standings and swept both of the conference tournament finalists en route to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
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. John Schoof is just behind Reed's lead with 12.4. Following the dynamic duo is senior center Tony Wroblicky and Darius Gardner who are averaging 12.3 and 11.7 ppg, respectively.
Reed has been locked in offensively, especially from 3-point range. He leads the Patriot League and ranks 19th in the nation from deep, knocking down nearly half of his attempts (49-of-100).
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 24th in the nation with 36.8 mpg, while Schoof is second in the conference at 36.7, ranking 25th among DI schools. Reed checks in at 34.1 mpg, while Wroblicky now hit 30.6 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
The Eagles return to Bender Arena this weekend when they take on the Army Black Knights on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m., live on CSN+ with AU celebrating Hall of Fame Day. Tickets start at just $7 per seat, and a limited amount of premium location, sideline reserved chair back seats still remain. Secure the best seat locations and purchase tickets 24/7 by clicking here. All fans are encouraged to arrive early with the doors to Bender Arena opening at 1 p.m., to participate in AU Athletics' sixth annual Silent Auction, benefitting AU student-athletes. Admission to the silent auction is free with a game ticket and there is something for every Eagles fan to bid on including great items such as fine dining, travel, sports memorabilia and experiences, art and more. View a preview of the auction items here.