Bethlehem, Pa. – Junior guard Jesse Reed scored a game-high 24 points as sixth-seeded American University upset No. 3 seed Lehigh 68-62 in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League tournament on Thursday night inside Stabler Arena.
Reed shot 8-of-15 from the floor, while junior Marko Vasic added 12 points and grabbed 10 boards for AU's first double-double of the season. American will now face No. 2 seed Colgate in the semifinals on Sunday at 4 p.m., in Hamilton, N.Y.
American shot 56 percent from the field in the second half and knocked down eight 3-pointers for the game. Lehigh was able to match the field goal efficiency, hitting at a 54.2 percent clip for the contest, but the Eagles limited the Mountain Hawks to just 3-of-14 shooting from 3-point range, while forcing 14 turnovers – scoring 18 points of those miscues.
"I thought our guys played well, stuck with it and played tough," said head coach Mike Brennan. "We came out sluggish in the first half but turned it around in the second and Jesse was definitely more aggressive for us down the stretch."
Lehigh held a narrow 27-23 lead at the intermission, but the Eagles shot 7-of-10 from the field in the first five minutes of the second half to pull ahead and take their first lead of the game; an advantage they kept for the duration.
American started the second half on an 18-7 run, outscoring Lehigh by 10 in the stanza and held off a late rally by Lehigh in the final minute
A 3-pointer from Reed stretched AU's lead to 10, it largest advantage of the game, with 4:29 left. Lehigh had one last run however, closing to within three at 59-56 with 57 seconds left.
American knocked down 7-of-8 attempts from the charity stripe in the closing moments however including 5-of-6 from sophomore Charlie Jones.
The Eagles relied heavily on its seniors in the contest as they faced potentially playing their final collegiate game. Pee Wee Gardner dished out a season-high 10 assists, adding eight points and two steals in a complete game performance. John Schoof battled foul trouble throughout the game but came up clutch for AU, hitting three triples, scoring 11 points.
American dished-out a season-best 19 assists, helping on all but five of its made baskets.
Patriot League Player of the Year Tim Kempton led the Mountain Hawks with 20 points and 11 rebounds, but was the only Lehigh player to score double-digit points.
American advances back to the Patriot League semifinals for the second-straight season, but this time will do so on the road. AU and Colgate tip at 4 p.m., live on the CBS Sports Network this Sunday, March 8 at 4 p.m.
AU fans and alumni planning to attend the road game at Colgate are encouraged to reserve tickets in the American fan seating block by calling the AU Athletics Tickets office at (202) 885-TIXX, Friday from 9 am. to 5 p.m.. Beginning immediately, they can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with contact information and a representative will return your call. All tickets in the AU fan section must be purchased by Friday, March 6 at 5 p.m. Tickets prices, set by the Patriot League, are $14 for adults and $7 for AU students, youth under 13 and senior citizens. Seating space is limited so reserve your tickets today!