Feb. 18, 2006
WASHINGTON - The American University men's basketball team clawed back from a 12-point halftime deficit to get within four points with just over a minute remaining, but Holy Cross hit eight-of-10 free throws down the stretch to hang on for a 69-62 victory Saturday at Bender Arena.
Andre Ingram (Richmond, Va./Highland Springs) hit a three-pointer with 1:24 remaining in the game to make the score 61-57 in favor of Holy Cross. Ingram's trey culminated a 10-4 run for the Eagles over the previous four minutes. However, the Crusaders were on the mark from the line, led by Kevin Hamilton's four-for-four performance, to seal the victory.
American was able to get back into the game because of solid second-half defense, allowing the visitors to shoot just 27.3 percent (six-of-22) in the latter period. Meanwhile, the Eagles hit 10-of-19 shots (52.6 percent) in the second half.
With American trailing by three (11-8) at the 12:31 mark of the first half after junior Brayden Billbe (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island) hit a jumper, the Crusaders went on an 18-5 run over the next nine minutes to take a commanding 29-15 lead. The HC run was helped along by five Eagle turnovers.
American attempted to chip away at the Crusaders' lead, getting the deficit to 11 points on a three-pointer by Arvydas Eitutavicius (Klaipeda, Lithuania/Laurinburg Institute) and a pair of free throws by Jordan Nichols (Glen Dale, Md./DeMatha). The Eagles went into halftime trailing, 34-22. Holy Cross held its lead thanks to 50 percent shooting in the opening stanza, compared to just 31 percent shooting for the Eagles. HC leading scorer Kevin Hamilton had 12 first-half points, while backcourt mate Keith Simmons had 10 points by the break.
Ingram, who played all 40 minutes, led the Eagles with 16 points. American falls to 9-16 overall and 5-7 in the Patriot League. Holy Cross, which improves to 16-11 overall, 9-3 in the PL, is led by Keith Simmons with 23 points and Kevin Hamilton with 22 points.
American returns to action on Thursday, Feb. 23, when it hosts Navy in a game that will be televised nationally on College Sports Television. Game time is set for 7 p.m.