American University men's basketball had one of its best offensive outputs of the season on Sunday afternoon at San Francisco, but the Dons trumped the performance shot-for-shot on their way to a 77-69 victory over the Eagles.
American (3-7) netted a season-high 11 3-pointers and shot nearly 50 percent from the field, but USF (7-5) was locked in offensively, hitting over 60 percent of their attempts, scoring 36 points in the paint.
"We did some things well offensively today, but 77 points is a lot to give up," said head coach Mike Brennan. "As much as we got better with the ball in our hands and executed our offense, we did not live up to that on the defensive end, giving up too many easy baskets."
Junior swingman John Schoof led the way offensively for AU, scoring a season-high 22 points, tying a yearly best with four triples. Not far behind was sophomore wing Jesse Reed who scored 16 points with three treys.
It was a reversal of roles for AU's starting center and point guard. Junior Darius Gardner led the way with eight rebounds, one off his career-high, while senior Tony Wroblicky was active in the high post, dishing out a personal best seven assists.
In a game that including four ties and six lead changes, it looked as though it may get away from the Eagles early as USF built a 12-point lead at 31-19 with 5:28 remaining in the first half. AU answered however, closing out the stanza on an 11-2 run, highlighted by two big 3-pointers from guard Austin Carroll, who tied a career high with 11 points.
It was a true back-and-forth battle for the first 15 minutes of the second half with neither team building more than a four-point advantage.
The Eagles were within one point of the Dons, 64-63, after two free throws by Schoof with less than three minutes remaining in regulation, but a 6-0 run by USF put San Fran in control.
AU continued to battle, with substitutions, timeouts and fouls abounding in the final minutes. A 3-pointer by Reed with 21 seconds left cut the deficit to five, but American could get no closer.
Avry Holmes led three Dons in double figure scoring, putting in 15 points. Six USF players scored nine points or more while each of the eight Dons to take the court scored five or more.
American will take a short break for the Christmas holiday break, returning to the court and a five-game road trip at UMES on Sunday, December 29, at 2 p.m.