March 5, 2006
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Linas Lekavicius (Silale, Lithuania/The Miller School) scored 21 points, one shy of his career-high, but American University men's basketball could not overcome the hot-shooting Bucknell Bison Sunday in Sojka Pavilion, 64-50, in the Patriot League Tournament Semifinals.
American found itself on the short end of a 35-22 tally at halftime. The Eagles started slow, allowing the Bison to pull out to an 11-2 lead to begin the game. However, American quickly recovered, on the strength of an 8-0 run between the 13-minute mark and the 10:24 mark, to get back into the game at 11-10. Arvydas Eitutavicius (Klaipeda, Lithuania/Norfolk Collegiate) had six consecutive points during the run.
Unfortunately for AU, a pair Darren Mastropaolo layups around a Kevin Bettencourt jumper put the Bison back up by seven and in control for the remainder of the first half. The hosts extended their lead to 13 points when, after Bettencourt made a diving play to save a ball going out of bounds and then called timeout with 22 ticks left in the first, Charles Lee hit a long three-pointer just before the buzzer sounded.
Bucknell's three big guns carried them to its first-half lead, as Bettencourt had 11 points, Chris McNaughton had eight and Lee had seven points in the opening period. Eitutavicius and Lekavicius had six points a piece in the first half.
Lekavicius tried to lift up the Eagles in the second half, scoring 15 second-stanza points, but both McNaughton and Lee again quashed AU's hopes by scoring eight points a piece. Trailing by 13 at the half, AU never got closer than nine points in the second period.
Bucknell, led by McNaughton's eight-for-nine day from the floor, shot 48 percent overall and 46 percent from behind the arc. The Bison outscored the Eagles 24-14 in the paint and 14-7 off of turnovers. Meanwhile, AU shot just 36 percent for the game. Lekavicius was the only Eagle in double-figures.
American ends its season in the PL semifinals for the second consecutive season, both times against the Bison in Sojka Pavilion. AU finishes with a 12-17 overall record.