Feb. 15, 2006
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Led by a career-high 19 points from freshman Derrick Mercer (Jersey City, N.J./St. Anthony's), the American University men's basketball team routed Army 68-55 Wednesday at Christl Arena.
American held an eight-point halftime lead (35-28), but held the host Black Knights to just two field goals in the first eight minutes of the second period. Meanwhile, AU tallied 15 points during that stretch and the rout was on. AU led by 18 points at the 12-minute mark of the second half, and Army would get no closer than the final 13-point margin.
American opened its eight-point halftime lead thanks in part to stellar shooting and an abundance of Army turnovers. The Eagles fired at a 50 percent clip in the opening stanza, hitting 13-of-26 attempts, while holding the Black Knights to just 34.8 percent shooting. Meanwhile, American forced Army into nine first-half turnovers. Mercer, coming off his first career Patriot League Rookie of the Week award, led the American attack in the first period, scoring 10 points on four-of-five shooting.
Mercer, who has scored in double-digits in three straight games, the longest streak of his short career, led three Eagles in double-figures. He hit six-of-seven shots, including four-of-four from behind the arc. Brayden Billbe (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island) had 12 points and Paulius Joneliunas (Vilnius, Lithuania/Roanoke Catholic) had 11 points.
With the win, American improves to 9-15 overall and 5-6 in the Patriot League, moving into sole possession of fourth place in the PL standings. Army fell to 5-19, 1-11 in the PL.
American returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 18, when it hosts Holy Cross. Game time is set for 2 p.m. in Bender Arena.