Hampton, Va. – For the second-straight game, senior point guard Pee Wee Gardner put the Eagles on his back in the second half, leading the American University men's basketball team to a 64-60 win over Hampton in a Pre-Thanksgiving showdown. Down by one with 20 seconds left play, Gardner drove to the dish for a hard-earned And-1 that gave AU the lead for good.
Pee Wee came up clutch as AU's (4-2) All-Patriot League backcourt accounted for 57 of its total points. Gardner and fellow captain John Schoof each netted 18, while junior Jesse Reed scored a season-high 21 points to lead all scorers. Each Eagle guard played all 40 minutes.
Both American and Hampton (1-5) shot 50 percent from the field (24-of-48), but the clutch play by Gardner along with a strong defensive showing on the final Hampton possession led AU to its second-straight win and third in four games.
"We shot the ball well today and have to like that in order to win. Hampton is a great team at the top of their league, so it was a good road victory," said head coach Mike Brennan. "Pee Wee makes plays on his own. The final basket was not something we designed. We teach and encourage our guys to read the play as it happens and it showed up at that time. He was terrific today."
It was a back-and-forth affair with the preseason No. 2 out of the MEAC, which featured 11 lead changes and seven ties.
The Pirates had one last chance in the closing moments, but senior center Kevin Panzer made his lone rebound of the contest count, coming down with the Hampton miss, taking the foul and knocking down both of the 1-and-1 on the other end to ice the game
Hampton did most of its damage in the paint, scoring 28 points down low, but American went 11-of-26 from downtown to find an advantage.
Schoof led the way with six triples, going a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the arc in the second half. He also added three rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Reed paced AU in the first half, scoring 17 in the initial 20 minutes, going 6-of-8 from the field with three treys. He also added a game-high seven rebounds with two blocks, a steal and an assist in his best performance of the season thus far.
At the head of Coach Brennan's three-guard lineup was Pee Wee who was near-perfect, going 8-of-9 from the field with a season-best six assists.
Two Pirates scored in double-digit points as Deron Powers and Dwight Meikle each netted 14. The Eagles did well to contain leading scorer and rebounder, University of Tennessee transfer Quinton Chievous, who was held to five points and four rebounds.
American will have two practice days, as well as some down time tomorrow to enjoy Thanksgiving with family, friends and teammates, before returning to the hardwood on Saturday, Nov. 29 at Columbia. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. in New York City.