Baltimore, Md. – It was not just the weather that was cold at Loyola at Reitz Arena on Wednesday night, as the American University men's basketball went just 3-of-15 from downtown against Loyola. The Eagles overcame its shooting deficiency late to force overtime, but the Greyhounds were able to pull out the extra-time victory, 56-53.
The Eagles started the game just 3-of-14 from the field but battled back, shooting 47.4 percent in the second half. American trailed by as much as 10 in the first half and erased the deficit with 53 seconds left in regulation on free throws by Jesse Reed. It was Loyola that finished strong however, getting the game-tying score on a layup with three seconds left before sealing it in overtime.
"We got back into the game by being more aggressive. We know all Patriot League games are going to be battles like that, so we need to do more of the little things right to be successful," said head coach Mike Brennan. "We got some shots other than threes when they weren't falling, but we just have to do a little more to win."
Trailing by six, 45-39 with three minutes to play, junior Marko Vasic sparked a late AU rally with a layup. Senior John Schoof followed with a 3-pointer from before Reed's free throws with less than minute left gave American its first lead of the game since 17:11 in the first half.
The advantage would be short-lived however as Loyola's Denzel Brito converted on a driving layup with three seconds left to tie up as Pee Wee Gardner's half-court heave glanced the side iron.
The Greyhounds built a six-point lead in overtime on a 9-3 run to begin the extra stanza. Gardner was able to net just American's third 3-pointer with one second left to close AU within three, but time expired on the Eagles' second comeback attempt.
Gardner finished the contest with a game-high 15 points and a team-high six rebounds and three steals. Pee Wee also got to the free throw line 11 times.
Schoof joined Gardner with 15 points, adding five rebounds in a complete game performance.
Brito led the charge for Loyola, scoring a team-high 11 points with six rebounds, three assists and four steals. Freshman forward Cam Gregory grabbed a game-high seven rebounds and added six points.
After playing 12 of its first 15 games away from Bender Arena, American returns home on Saturday afternoon, taking on Colgate at 4:30 p.m., live on Comcast SportsNet Plus.