Men’s Basketball Tips Off the New Year; Begins Patriot League Play at Defending Champ Bucknell, Thursday Night

Men’s Basketball Tips Off the New Year; Begins Patriot League Play at Defending Champ Bucknell, Thursday Night

Teams: American (4-7, 0-0 PL) at Bucknell (5-6, 0-0 PL)

Date and Location: Thurs., Jan. 2, 2014, 7 p.m.– Sojka, Pavilion – Lewisburg, Pa.

Series: 54th meeting; AU trails, 33-20

Last Meeting: L, 66-47– Lewisburg, Pa. (Feb. 27, 2013)

Radio: Federal News Radio 1050AM – Dain Laing (play-by-play), Jeremy Huber (analyst)

Web: Patriot League Network

 

The American University men's basketball team begins 2014 with its fourth-straight road game, opening Patriot League play on Thursday, January 2, at 7 p.m., taking on defending conference champion Bucknell, live on the Patriot League Network. The Eagles have won three-straight league openers.

Fans in the D.C.-metro area can tune in to Federal News Radio 1050AM to listen to the radio broadcast with Dan Laing and Jeremy Huber calling the action. For those outside the area, log on to FederalNewsRadio.com to listen to the internet stream. Free video is also available on at PatriotLeague.tv.

It will be the 54th ever meeting between the two foes with Bucknell holding a 33-20 series advantage, dating back to 1939. AU has not had a great deal of success on the road against Bison, winning six of 25 games in Lewisburg. American looks to snap a streak of eight-straight losses to Bucknell.

AU will both open and close the Patriot League slate this season against the Bison. Last year, the Eagles nearly upset Bucknell, before a last second basket by Patriot League Player of the Year, Mike Muscala. American fell in Lewisburg, 66-47, in the last matchup on February, 27.

After two West Coast road games, including a matchup against then undefeated Saint Mary's (Calif.), and a close loss at home to Brown University, the Eagles got back on the winning track as four players scored in double figures in a 13-point win at UMES.

Junior sharpshooter John Schoof was one of three Eagles to finish with a game-high 15 points against the Hawks. After a bumpy start to the season, Schoof has been locked in offensively. In his past six games, he is 29-of-61 (.475) from the field, hitting 18-of-37 (.486) from beyond arc. The guard has netted three-or-more triples in five of those six games and is averaging 15.0 ppg and 3.3 rpg.

This season, American boasts four players in double digit scoring this as Schoof leads the way with 12.5 ppg. Not far behind is sophomore guard Jesse Reed (12.4), followed by junior point guard Darius Gardner and senior center Tony Wroblicky, who are each averaging 10.5 ppg.

American boasts one of the top defensive units in the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to 61.6 ppg, through 11 games. The mark ranks AU 20th in the country. The Eagles are especially staunch against foe's 3-point shooters, holding their adversaries to 29.1 percent from beyond the arc, good for 35th nationally.

Several Eagles have settled into their roles this season, with junior forward Kyle Kager enjoying a career season as AU's starting 4. Redshirt junior guard Austin Carroll, sophomore forward Marko Vasic and rookies Yilret Yiljep, Charlie Jones, and Justice Montgomery have also combined to make formidable second unit for first year head coach Mike Brennan.

 

Scouting Bucknell

The Bison enter Patriot League play on a two-game losing streak, falling at Marist, 69-51, on December 20 and at home versus Fairfield, 73-64, on December 28. Bucknell has also played three like oppenents as the Eagles this season: Saint Francis (Pa.) (W, 72-50), at Mount St. Mary's (L, 69-64) and Columbia (W, 57-52).

Bucknell is led offensively by senior guard Cameron Ayers, who averages 14.3 ppg, with a 44.9 percent mark from beyond the arc (22-of-49). Brian Fitzpatrick is the only other Bison in double figure scoring at 10.7 ppg, but five other players have posted 4.4 ppg or more. Fitzpatrick also leads the team with 4.5 rpg, but six Bison average 3.3 rpg or more. Stevan Kaspar is third on the team with 8.9 ppg and a team high 54 assists in 11 games.

Head coach Dave Paulsen is in his sixth year at the helm of Bucknell, leading the program to its best season in school history last year. The Bison won a school-record 28 games, advancing to the NCAA Tournament. Paulsen was the Patriot League Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2012.

 

Social Media Insider

Be sure to follow American University men's basketball on Twitter for live, in-game updates and like the Eagles on Facebook for inside looks at the team.  

 

Next Up

AU finishes its five-game road trip as the Eagles fly up to Worcester, Mass., to take on Holy Cross on Saturday, January 5, at 2 p.m.

American University Athletics is proud to announce a special offer for fans and alumni to cheer on the Eagles in 2014. For just $55, the "Holiday 4-Pack" provides a sideline reserved ticket to four marquee match-ups to start the new year. Click here for more info and to buy now!