Ruston, La. – The American University men's basketball team matched up with the subregional host of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Saturday night, falling to Louisiana Tech, 63-44. AU was able to hold the Bulldogs well under their season average in points, but could not overcome a strong defensive effort by LA Tech.
LA Tech's (3-1) defense consistently made shots difficult for American (2-2) with their size and length while Tech converted on over 50 percent of its field goals (14-of-24). The Bulldogs also limited the Eagles' offensive opportunities, holding AU to 7-of-28 shooting in the second half.
AU and LA Tech played a back-and-forth game for much of the first half with the Eagles within one of the Bulldogs, 14-13, at 8:58 in the first half. Foul trouble caught up to American however as two whistles sent starting center Kevin Panzer to the bench. Multiple infractions also sent John Schoof to the pine as Tech took an 11-point lead into the break.
American was able to cut the deficit to single digits four separate times in the second stanza, the final coming at 44-36 with 11:36 to play, but Louisiana Tech closed out the game on a 22-8 run to seal the victory.
Louisiana Tech shooting guard Raheem Appleby netted a game-high 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting to lead the Bulldog offense. While LA Tech boasted three players with 12-plus points, it was the play inside of senior Michale Kyser that factored the most. Kyser pulled down a game-high seven rebounds and blocked three shots, breaking Karl Malone's record for most rejections in program history.
The Bulldogs were also able to make the most of AU miscues, turning 13 American turnovers into 18 points.
Despite the loss, the Eagles owned the advantage on the boards, 28-26, including 11 rebounds on the offensive side of the ball. It was also the most points allowed by AU this season, but the Eagles still boast a defense allowing just 46.8 ppg.
The Eagles continue play at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic tomorrow against Morehead State at 1:30 p.m. EST. It will be AU's third game in three days, fourth game this week and the continuation of an eight-game road swing.