PHILADELPHIA – The American University men's basketball team capped an eight-game road swing in grand fashion on Tuesday night at Tom Gola Arena, earning an overtime victory over La Salle, 68-66. The Explorers found their way in the second half, tying the game at the buzzer on a halfcourt 3-pointer, but the Eagles clawed their way to a gritty victory.
Senior captain John Schoof scored a team-high 18 points as all five AU starters scored in double digits. Sophomore forward Charlie Jones had a career night as he scored 16, going 7-of-9 from the free throw line, knocking down three in OT including one on a late And-1 that put the Eagles up, 66-61.
"Charlie always brings a big effort and he had to do that tonight, guarding a guy who is almost seven-feet tall. He provides so many intangibles to us so I was happy to see him contribute offensively," said head coach Mike Brennan. "I thought we showed great resiliency tonight. We knew we were not 20 points better than La Salle and they would come back, so I'm glad we reacted the way we did."
In addition to Jones, junior center Zach Elcano had one of his best games in red, white & blue, netting 11 points and set career highs with seven rebounds, five assists and three blocks in 44 minutes.
Once again, the tone was set by Pee Wee Gardner who also scored 11 points while grabbing four boards, dishing out four assists and swiping four steals. Gardner also came up big in OT drawing a charge and registering two steals in the all-important five-minute frame.
The Eagles came out strong against La Salle and took a 36-23 into the break, shooting 65.2 percent in the first half. It was the second-highest point total registered by AU to open a game this season.
Despite the advantage, La Salle gained ground in the second half holding American to 7-of19 shooting, eventually erasing a 20-point AU lead on Jordan Price's highlight reel trey with no time left.
Price scored a game-high 26 for La Salle, rounding out his line with six rebounds, five assists, three triples and three steals.
American assisted on 17 of its 23 made field goals in the contest and came up clutch in extra time despite the second half surge by La Salle.
The Eagles made the most of the charity stripe, setting season high with 16 free throws and 23 trips to the line. AU also set a new season-best mark with 11 steals in the contest, forcing 23 Explorer turnovers that resulted in 19 points for American.
After eight consecutive games and over a month away from its home court, the Eagles finally return to Bender Arena on Saturday afternoon, taking on Mount St. Mary's at 1 p.m. A limited number of premium location sideline reserved chairback seats remain for this game and can be purchased online by clicking here, or by calling (202) 885-TIXX. The game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet with Al Koken and John Feinstein on the call.