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AU Men’s Hoops takes home 2 conference honors

As the regular season is all wrapped up and Patriot League postseason match-ups are set, the conference awarded it’s annual awards. And despite finishing in the bottom half of the standings, AU had two notable names come up with big honors.

First, senior, Jesse Reed was honored with a selection to the All-Patriot League Second Team. Reed led the Eagles in scoring for the third consecutive season (12.8 PPG), as well as in rebounds (4.3 RPG) and assists (2.1 APG). This is Reed’s third straight all-league honor as he was named to the third team last year and the second team in 2014. Reed now has 1375 points in his career at AU currently good for 16th in program history and #2 among active players in the conference.

AU’s second big honor came when freshman Delante Jones was named to the conference’s All-Rookie team as well as the Patriot League Rookie of the Year. In his first season of D1 basketball, Jones averaged 12 points per game while adding 3.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 28 games and 23 starts. Jones quickly impressed coach Mike Brennan to become one of two freshmen in the 2015-2016 starting lineup along with James Washington. Washington and Jones should play important roles both this postseason and moving forward to the long term for American.

Jones was selected by the 10 coaches in the conference and likely saw a boost in votes after reaching double figures in points in 12 of the Eagles’ last 13 games. He is the first Eagle to win Rookie of the Year honors since Derrick Mercer in 2006.

The sixth seeded Eagles will look to continue their season when they travel to face #3 Boston University on Thursday in the Patriot League Quarterfinals.

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AU Women’s Basketball Drops Close Patriot League Decision

With 4:58 left to play in the fourth quarter at Bender Arena, the AU Women’s Basketball team closed the lead of the Army Black Knights to two points. Over the final minutes of the game, the Eagles struggled offensively while Army closed the game on a 12-4 run to hand AU their fourth Patriot League loss Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles (4-13, 2-4 PL) rallied from a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to put themselves in a position to beat the offensively potent Black Knights (14-2, 5-1 PL), but managed only one field goal in the final five minutes, a three-pointer by senior guard Ari Booth with the Eagles down by ten points. Each of the Eagles four Patriot League losses have come by ten points or less.

“It’s disappointing,” head coach Megan Gebbia said of the Eagles numerous close losses this season. “You know just a couple errors here and there could change the outcome. These games give me confidence in the team as this is, supposedly, the best team in the league and we’re right there with them.”

While the Eagles struggled offensively, their defense was stout, holding Kelsey Minato, the seventh-leading scorer in the nation, to only five field goals and below her average of 23.6 points per game. Senior guard Jordan Light was tasked with guarding Minato, and 10 of Minato’s points came in the third quarter with Light sitting on the bench due to foul trouble.

“I think Jordan did a very nice job on her [Minato], I wish she hadn’t got into foul trouble late in the second quarter and early in the third quarter,” Gebbia said. “They’re a very difficult team to guard. They had some role players step up for them [today].”  

The Black Knights came into their matchup with the Eagles boasting gaudy offensive numbers. In their 15 games, Army was scoring 69.1 points per game, shooting 40.5 percent on three-point field goals. AU held Army without a three-point field goal. Minato and Jean Parker came into the game shooting above 40 percent on three-point attempts.

Freshman forward Cecily Carl led the Eagles offensively with 10 points and six rebounds, while sophomore guard Emily Kinneston added eight points off the bench. The Eagles shot 33.3 percent as a team for the game and experienced long droughts over the course of the game, including no field goals in the first six minutes of the second quarter.

“I think we didn’t get the ball inside enough,” Gebbia said. “They had 32 [points] in the paint, we had 14. That’s a huge discrepancy and that needs to change for the next game.”

 

The Eagles return to the court Wednesday Jan. 20 against Lafayette at 7 p.m. in Bender Arena looking to improve on their offensive output.

 

Eagles earn first conference win

The defending Patriot League champion American University Eagles have earned their first conference win of the 2015-2016 season with a 49-37 victory over the Colgate Raiders on Saturday.

The Eagles used a strong third quarter performance to put distance between themselves and the Raiders, after holding a slim halftime lead to coast to the 12 point win.

After winning the program’s first conference title last season, it has been a bumpy ride for Megan Gebbia’s crew to this point. The win brings the Eagles’ record to just 3-10 overall and 1-1 in conference play.

Coach Gebbia has been mixing and matching her players all season and still hasn’t quite found the answer to fill the gaping hole left by the graduation of Jen Dumiak. 9 different players have started this season in a handful of different combinations and the only player to start every game so far is Lauren Crisler. The most notable lineup shuffling takes place in the front court as Maria Liddane, Jordan Light, Emily Kinneston, Elina Koskimies, Ari Booth, Kaitlyn Lewis and Kate Bond all jockey for playing time.

On this day, the Eagles were paced by Crisler, a junior, who scored 20 points on 8-16 shooting from the field. Outside of Crisler it was a slow offensive performance for American as a team, as they shot just 31% from the field, and 6% from 3-point range. However, they were helped by their defense (10 turnovers forced), their size (53 rebounds) and a dismal offensive performance from the Raiders, who shot just 18% from the field.

3 different Eagles finished with 9 rebounds as Crisler, along with freshmen Cecily Carl and Koskimies, tied for the lead in that category while Lewis dished out 6 assists.

The Eagles were also playing without leading scorer Michelle Holmes (9.7 PPG) for the second consecutive game. To win without Holmes is a positive result but there are still consistency problems to solve for this young Eagles team.

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