Feb. 23, 2006
WASHINGTON - The American University men's basketball team hounded the PL's top-scoring Navy Midshipmen into 36 percent shooting and 20 turnovers, rolling to a 65-48 win in the final home game of the 2005-06 season Thursday night. With the win, American cements its match-up against Lafayette in the PL Tournament in two weekends.
On the back of hot shooting and stifling defense, American shot out to a 9-2 run early in the second half and kept the pressure on, eventually running to a 58-34 lead with five minutes to go. The cushion was more than enough as the Eagles shot 55 percent from the floor in the second half and held Navy to their second-lowest scoring total of the season. With eight minutes to go in the second half, no one on Navy's roster had more than four points and the Midshipmen had just 29 points.
In a game that honored senior Craig Weinstein (Tarzana, Calif./Harvard Westlakes School) in the final home game of his career at American, the highlight of the second half came when the guard found himself alone on the wing and let rip a three that hit nothing but net to the crowd's roaring approval.
Despite shooting just 36 percent, American scored 14 points off turnovers to take a 28-19 lead into half. The Eagles stayed on top of the Midshipmen throughout, allowing just 21 shots and forcing 10 turnovers. Navy's leading scorer Greg Sprink scored a mere two points and only attempted one shot in the first frame as the visitors were on pace for a season-low in points.
Offensively, Andre Ingram (Richmond, Va./Highland Springs) had 15 points and Arvydas Eitutavicius (Klaipeda, Lithuania/Norfolk Collegiate (Va.)) added 12 to lead the Eagles. Paulius Joneliunas (Vilnius, Lithuania/Roanoke Catholic (Va.)) had nine points and eight rebounds also. The Eagles set a season-high in steals with 14, led by Derrick Mercer's (Jersey City, N.J./St. Anthony's) four.
In a game that will serve as a preview of the opening round of the PL Tournament, American travels to Lafayette this Saturday for the Eagles' final regular season game of the 2005-06 season, which starts at 1:00 p.m.