Lewisburg, Pa. – In the 2014-15 Patriot League opener at Bucknell on New Year's Eve, American University men's basketball came out strong on the road against the Bison, but came up short down the stretch, 57-47.
Sophomore forward Charlie Jones scored a career-high 17 points, netting a personal best three triples, but Bucknell's Chris Haas equaled his output on the offensive end and added six rebounds and four assists to help the Bison to the win.
It was AU's first lost in a Patriot League opener in five years, but third straight opener on the road.
"Bucknell is a tough team and they showed that today. They are really good at what the do and really executed," said head coach Mike Brennan. "We didn't play to the level we needed to in order to win."
Bucknell was strong near the basket all night, getting to the free throw line 25 times. The Bison also pulled down 12 offensive rebounds, resulting in 12 second-chance points; eight more than the Eagles. Bucknell also outscored AU in the paint, 26-18.
American shot 53 percent through the first 10 minutes but went cold late, including a 7-of-21 mark from the field and 2-of-9 from downtown in the second half.
The Eagles started off the first half strong, opening a 12-7 lead over the Bison. Bucknell came back into the game thanks to two fouls each on Pee Wee Gardner, Zach Elcano and Marko Vasic, but American kept the Bison from taking a lead into the break thanks to 10 first half point from Jones.
AU was able to stay with Bucknell despite seven offensive boards by the Bison thanks for strong perimeter defense. The Eagles held Bucknell without a 3-pointer until their final attempt of the half, limiting the Bison to only 1-of-8 from long distance.
Bucknell was the team to come out hot in the second however, opening up a seven-point advantage at 34-27. AU had a run of its own though, closing to within three at 34-31 on a layup by Gardner.
American would get no closer as the Bucknell's fresh legs helped their bench outscore AU's 18-2 in the final 20 minutes.
American started the season with 11 road games in its first 13 contests, capped by the New Year's eve game in Lewsiburg. The Eagles now return home to Bender Arena, taking on Holy Cross on Saturday at 1 p.m.