NEW YORK – The American University men's basketball team played its fifth game in nine days on Saturday afternoon playing at Columbia. Despite the grueling schedule, The Eagles played the Lions tough before falling late, 52-43.
The holiday matchup in Manhattan featured five lead changes and six ties with 6:53 being played without a team holding a lead.
Columbia (4-1) earned the advantage on the boards, 35-29, and held the Eagles to 36.0-percent shooting (18-of-50), but AU (4-3) held the Lions to just 19.0-perecent from beyond the arc on 21 attempts, staying with Columbia until the final minutes.
"Columbia is a good, tough veteran team that played well today," said head coach Mike Brennan. "It's tough to win when you only score 43 points and we need more guys to step up and produce if we are going to do that."
Senior guard John Schoof led the way with a team-high 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting while classmate and point guard Pee Wee Gardner chipped in eight points, six of which came in the second half, as well as two assists and two steals.
American was able to execute it offense well at Levien Gymnasium, but missed several looks and layups. Conversely, Columbia converted late in the contest as guard Maodo Lo netted a game-high 20 points as the only Lions player in double-digit scoring. Lo also added a game-high nine rebounds.
For the second-straight game, junior guard Jesse Reed was strong on the boards with a team-high eight rebounds, but no other Eagle totaled more than four. Reed was also kept from double-figure points for the first time in five games, shooting 3-of-10 from the field.
American was within three after a 3-pointer by junior forward Marko Vasic with 7:56 to play, but the Lions ended the game on a 10-4 run to seal the win.
Vasic played well off the bench for AU with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting with four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The Eagles will have its longest layoff (three days) since the start of the Coaches vs. Cancer Subregional, facing their second-straight Ivy League opponent on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at Brown University. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.