American University men's basketball had an off shooting night in its regular season finale against Bucknell, falling to the Bison, 56-51. Sophomore guard Jesse Reed led the Eagles and all scorers in the contest with 16 points, adding seven rebounds and two blocks, playing all 40 minutes.
Although AU had its lowest percentage from the field this season (19-of-56, 33.9 percent) it was Bucknell's advantage on the boards that made the biggest difference. The Bison outrebounded the Eagles, 45-26, including 15 on the offensive side that led to 16 second-chance points for Bucknell.
"We did not shoot well, but I really felt the offensive rebounds were the difference in this one," said head coach Mike Brennan. "They were able to take advantage on second chances and we weren't able to knock down some shots we usually make – keeping us from making the comeback."
Neither team led by more than eight in the contest, but Bucknell was able to overcome an early AU lead, 12-5, using a 15-7 run to take an advantage into the break.
The Bison got up by as much as seven in the first half, but Reed and rookie Jalen Rhea netted 3-pointers in the final three minutes to close the deficit to three, 27-24.
It was a back-and-forth second period as Bucknell quickly increased its lead back to seven, 31-24, but, but an 11-3 run by AU opened by back-to-back baskets by Darius "Pee Wee" Gardner put American back on top.
The lead would last only 20 seconds however as a Bucknell layup started a run 9-0 run for the Bison.
The Eagles would not surrender however nearly erasing a seven-point deficit at 47-40 with just over five minutes to play, as rookie Charlie Jones started the rally with a 3-pointer. AU was within two, 51-49, at 1:11 after free throws by Reed, but Bucknell was able to convert its free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
Eight different Eagles scored in the game, but only one was able to reach double-digit points. Senior Tony Wroblicky filled out the stat sheet with eight points, four rebounds, five assists a block and a steal, playing all 40 minutes, while Gardner finished with six points, seven rebounds, two assists, a block and three steals.
Despite the loss, the Eagles will be the No. 2 seed in the Patriot League Tournament, hosting a Quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. AU awaits the winner of the First Round game between No. 10 Navy and No. 7 Colgate. Tickets are on sale now!