Hamilton, N.Y. – They are going back to the Championship. Despite entering the Patriot League Tournament as the No. 6 seed, the American University men's basketball team has now upset consecutive road opponents, advancing to the league final thanks to a 73-62 victory at Colgate on Sunday afternoon.
American advances to play at No. 4 seed Lafayette, which upset top-seeded Bucknell, in the title game on Wednesday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m., live on the CBS Sports Network. It will be American's seventh championship game in school history.
Senior guard John Schoof was near perfect for the Eagles as he made four 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 17 points. Classmate Pee Wee Gardner added 15 points for American as the duo led five players in double figures and set a season-high team mark shooting 61.9 percent from the field.
The Eagles forced Colgate into 11 turnovers, eight in the first half, scoring 22 points off their miscues. American also limited the Raiders on the perimeter, holding Colgate to 5-of-22 shooting from beyond the arc.
"I thought our guys did a great job of executing, especially in the early going. Colgate is a great team and even though they did not play the game they wanted to, I'm happy with the effort our guys put out there," said head coach Mike Brennan. "Pee Wee and John have been such a big part of what we have done over the past two years and they continue to come up big for us."
WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS
Schoof hit his first four 3-pointers of the game, the last for a 48-28 lead, to help the Eagles hit seven of their first 10 from distance. Schoof also started 6-of-6 from the field and added six rebounds, three assists, a steal along with a career-best two blocks.
The Eagles held Colgate scoreless over the final four minutes of play in the first half to take a 38-21 lead into the break.
American led by as many as 22 in the second half, but Colgate pulled within nine, 62-53, with 1:45 left on a Matt McMullen 3-pointer. American once again came up clutch down the stretch from the charity stripe as it made 11-of-14 free throws the rest of the way.
Junior Jesse Reed, playing all 40 minutes, joined Schoof and Gardner with complete game performances. The trio continues to rank among the top-five nationally in minutes played. Reed finished with 14 points, four rebounds two 3-pointers, two assists, three steals and a block.
Wednesday marks the first time in Patriot League history that No. 1 or No. 2 seed will have not a chance to win the conference title and automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.