BOSTON – In a true Patriot League battle at Agganis Arena on Wednesday night, the American University men's basketball team nearly pulled off an improbable comeback. Trailing by 15 three minutes into the second stanza, the Eagles battled back to close within three points with four minutes to go, but Boston U. was able to hang on down the stretch, 59-54.
American was within three of BU with 13 seconds to go after two free throws by senior point guard Pee Wee Gardner, but Boston was able to convert after being fouled and hold on for the win.
"I thought BU was very aggersive tonight, especially on the defensive end, and their aggression won them the game," said head coach Mike Brennan.
The Terriers came away with 11 steals in the game, nine by senior guard Cedric Hankerson, a program record. AU ended the game with 13 turnovers, resulting in 15 points for BU.
After a slow start from the field, shooting only 3-of-13 from distance in the first period, the Eagles regrouped to shoot 52.6 percent from the field in the second half.
Junior guard Jesse Reed scored a team-high 15 points while grabbing a game-best eight rebounds. Marko Vasic joined Reed in double-figure scoring with 14 points. Vasic had one his best games of the season, playing 29 minutes off the bench, hitting two 3-pointers and adding three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
American trailed by as much as 10 in the first half, never holding a lead, but fought back into the contest after trailing 17-7 midway through the period.
The deficit was cut to three thanks to a 10-3 run by the Eagles, sparked by a 3-pointer from sophomore Jalen Rhea.
American closed to within one on a layup by Charlie Jones, but the Terriers were able to convert with only six seconds left to take a 27-24 lead into the break.
Boston came out strong to open the second half, beginning the stanza on a 12-0 run to build a 15-point lead, its largest of the game. The Terriers also held American without a basket through the first five and a half minutes of the period.
The Eagles were able to fight back using a 9-0 run that saw John Schoof net a 3-pointer and convert on a strong drive, closing to within six of Boston at 39-33.
BU built it back to double-digit's after a 3-pointer by Will Goff made it 48-38. American answered again with a 10-3 run anchored by two free throws and 3-pointer by Vasic, closing to within three at the final media timeout.
American would get no closer than that however, failing to hold the lead in the game.
The Eagles are back in action at home on Monday, Jan. 26th at 7 p.m. against Army for their annual PHIL BENDER, pack-the-place game. The matchup will be nationally televised on the CBS Sports Network. Tickets start at $7.50 per seat and 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. AU basketball games are free for American University students with a valid AU ID.