Teams: American (17-11, 13-4 PL) vs. Bucknell (15-13, 10-7 PL)
Date and Location: Sat., March 1, 2014, 2 p.m.– Bender Arena – Washington, D.C.
Series: 55th meeting; AU trails 33-21
Last Meeting: W, 67-57– Lewisburg, Pa. (Jan. 2, 2014)
TV: CBS Sports Network –Jason Knapp (play-by-play), Chris Spatola (analyst)
Tickets – limited number of seats still available
American University men's basketball wraps up the 2013-14 regular season with a pivotal matchup against the Bucknell Bison, Saturday at Bender Arena. The Eagles have clinched a top-two seed in the Patriot League Tournament, but with a win and Boston U. loss at Holy Cross, the Eagles would claim their first regular season title since 2009. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m., live on the CBS Sports Network.
It will be the fifth television game at Bender Arena this season and first CBS broadcast with Jason Knapp and Chris Spatola calling the action. American is 9-2 at home this season and 3-1 in televised games. Click here to find the CBS Sports channel on your cable providor.
The first 1,000 fans to enter Bender Arena this game will receive a FREE Eagles baseball cap courtesy of GEICO. Tickets start at just $7 and a limited amount of premium location, sideline reserved chairback seats are still available for this game. Purchase yours now online 24/7 at AUeagles.com/Tickets, or by calling (202) 885-TIXX. Additionally fans can purchase tickets to see the Patriot League Quarterfinals in Bender Arena, Wednesday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m.
It will be the 55th meeting (AU trails, 33-21) between the two schools in a rivalry dating back to 1939. American snapped a streak of eight-straight losses to Bucknell just under two months ago, defeating the Bison at Sojka Pavilion in the conference opener. The series inside Bender Arena is tied at 13-all.
In the first matchup this season, the Eagles won their fourth-straight Patriot League opener as first-year head coach Mike Brennan secured his first conference win. Senior center Tony Wroblicky had a career performance with 24 points, 11 rebounds, six blocks, six assists and two steals in the contest.
Coach Brennan has registered one of the best seasons by a first-year coach in AU history, winning 17 games overall and 13 in conference play – an American University record. His overall win total is only topped by Eagle Hall of Famer, Ed Tapscott (20 wins in 1983).
American's offense continues to be one of the most efficient units in the country as AU ranks third in the nation in field goal percentage (.502), upping that number to .517 in conference games. The Eagles are also 35th in assists per game (15.4), dishing out 16.2 against league foes – also a conference best mark.
American forces its pace of play on opponents while protecting the rim, ranking 13th nationally allowing only 60.3 points per game. In Patriot League play, the Eagles are under 60 ppg at 59.4.
AU also boasts a +7.4 scoring margin in conference games, best in the league, while knocking down 115-of-271 (.424) attempts from 3-point range, the highest mark in the Patriot 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 this year's streak, AU twice received a vote in the AP Top 25 poll, its first votes since the 2008-09 season.
Bucknell is one of the hottest teams in the Patriot League, entering Saturday's matchup on a five-game win streak that secured them the No. 4 seed and a home game in the conference quarterfinals. The Bison are coming off a four-point win at home against Lehigh this past Wednesday, prior to a victory that put AU back in the title hunt as Bucknell upset BU in Boston, 63-53, last Sunday.
Senior guard Cameron Ayers leads Bucknell, registering a team high 15.7 ppg with 59 3-pointers made. Ayers has led the Bison in scoring in 10 of the past 11 games. Sophomore guard Chris Hass is the only other Bucknell scorer in double figures with 10.7 ppg. Senior forward Brian Fitzpatrick leads the team with 4.9 rpg and is third on the squad with 9.4 ppg.
Head coach Dave Paulsen is in his sixth year at the helm of Bucknell, leading the program to its best season in school history last year. The Bison won a school-record 28 games, advancing to the NCAA Tournament. Paulsen was the Patriot League Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2012.
More on the Eagles
With only one games remaining in the regular season, the Eagles have clinched at least a top-two seed in the conference, a first round bye in the Patriot League Tournament and home court advantage through the Semifinal round. AU will host a playoff game in the second round on Wednesday, March 5, at 7:30 p.m. With a win Saturday and a BU loss at Holy Cross, AU clinches at least the No. 1-seed in the playoffs.
AU has reached 13 Patriot League wins for the second time its 13 years in the conference. Dating back to AU basketball's inception in 1926, the Eagles have only reached 13 league wins in two seasons, both coming in the past six years.
This season, American boasts four players in double digit scoring as sophomore guard Jesse Reed leads the way with 14.2 ppg. Wroblicky and junior guard John Schoof are just behind Reed's lead with 12.3 and 12.1, respectively. Following the terrific trio is redshirt junior, do-it-all point guard, Darius "Pee Wee" Gardner who averages11.5 ppg and team highs with 4.4 apg and 2.1 spg.
Reed has been locked in offensively, especially from 3-point range, knocking down exactly half of his attempts from downtown. He is second in the Patriot League and ranks sixth in the nation from deep (56-of-112).
Wroblicky has etched his name into the American record book several times this season, recording his 500th career rebound at Holy Cross. He is now one of only 18 players at AU to hit the 600-rebound plateau (629). The fourth-year center also became the fifth player ever in AU history to reach 100 blocks earlier this season and now owns the all-time career rejections record at 145. The big man is also currently second on the singe-season blocks list, swatting 55 this season – six behind this leader.
This year, the Eagles boast four true iron men, as Gardner, Schoof, Reed and Wroblicky each average over 30 minutes per game. Gardner and Schoof are top amongst Patriot League players and 17th in the nation with 36.7 mpg. Reed checks in at 34.4 mpg, while Wroblicky now hit 31.0 mpg.
AU's program record 71.4 field goal percentage against Boston U. earlier this season 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 a week prior.
Social Media Insider
The Eagles have earned a first round bye in the 2013-14 Patriot League Tournament and will begin the playoffs in the Quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. Check back on AUeagles.com to find out seeding and opponents.