WASHINGTON – For the first time since 1987, the American University men's basketball team played back-to-back overtime games. The Eagles were able stay undefeated at Bender Arena this season, while handing the visiting Colgate Raiders their first Patriot League loss in double overtime, 71-69
It was a thrilling, back-and-forth affair that boasted 10 ties and 13 lead changes.
American trailed by four with only 18 seconds left in regulation, but Pee Wee Gardner came up with a huge 3-pointer and then added a layup with only three seconds left to force overtime.
In the first overtime period, again the Eagles trailed with less than a minute left. This time it was Jesse Reed who came up with the clutch lay-in that tied it up.
AU started the final frame with a layup by junior Marko Vasic that put American up for good as the Eagles were able to hold off Colgate in the closing seconds.
"Colgate is a very good team that came in undefeated," said head coach Mike Brennan. "I expect all of our games to be like that. Everyone in the Patriot League can beat anyone on any given night. Today, we did enough to pull out the win."
American held a 32-27 lead at the half as Reed and senior John Schoof combined for 26 of AU's points. Schoof went a perfect 4-of-4 from the field including 3-of-3 from downtown. Both Schoof and Reed played all 50 minutes.
The Eagles kept the advantage until the final few minutes as a 3-pointer by Colgate's Ethan Jacobs gave the Raiders their first lead in 20 minutes of play. Jacobs followed it with two free throws to put Colgate up by four but Gardner's heroics sent the game into OT.
Sophomore forward Charlie Jones grabbed a career high eight rebounds and scored five of his 14 points in extra time to help the Eagles to the double-overtime victory.
Gardner finished the game with 12 points and tied a season-high with six assists as four Eagles scored in double-digit points.
American shot 47.2-percent from the field as it set a season high with 71 points.
Three Eagles grabbed seven-or-more rebounds as Jones was joined by Reed and Schoof who each grabbed seven.
Colgate, which averaged 20 3-pointers attempted, fired off 26 against the Eagles, making 11. The Raiders only turned the ball over 10 times, but American's offensive execution down the stretch proved to be the difference.
American plays back-to-back homes for the first time this season, hosting Lehigh on Wednesday, Jan. 14, at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are still available for the showdown against the Mountain Hawks and start at $7.50 per seat. Also, a limited amount of premium location sideline reserved chairback seats remain. Secure yours today at AUeagles.com by clicking here or by calling (202) 885-TIXX. Admission to all home AU basketball games is free for American University students with a valid AU ID.