Men’s Basketball Hosts Lafayette Saturday at Annual Bender Whiteout, Live on CSN+

Men’s Basketball Hosts Lafayette Saturday at Annual Bender Whiteout, Live on CSN+

Teams: American (9-7, 5-0 PL) vs. Lafayette (4-12, 0-5 PL)

Date and Location: Sat., Jan. 18, 2014, 2 p.m.– Bender Arena – Washington, D.C.

Series: 50th meeting; AU leads, 31-18

Last Meeting: L, 80-72 – Easton, Pa. (Feb. 2, 2013)

TV: Comcast SportsNet DC Plus – Jon Laaser (play-by-play), Brooks Berry (analyst)

Web: Patriot League Network - Dain Laing (play-by-play), Jeremy Huber (analyst)

Game Notes

 

After 12 road contests in its first 16 games of the season American University men's basketball  returns to Bender Arena for just the fifth time. The Eagles take on Lafayette on Saturday, Jan. 15, at 2 p.m., live on Comcast SportsNet DC Plus (CSN+). It is AU's annual "Bender Whiteout" as the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a free commemorative AU Eagles White Out t-shirt, courtesy of CSN and AU Athletics.

Fans in the D.C.-metro area can tune into CSN+ as AU plays its third TV game of the year in Bender Arena.  AU enthusiast around the world can watch the Patriot League Network stream online via their desktop, tablet or mobile device.

It will be the 50th ever meeting between Lafayette and AU, with the Eagles holding a 31-18 series advantage, dating back to 1962. Despite falling in its last matchup against the Leopards, American has dominated the series as of late winning 17 of the last 19 matchups.

AU set a program best mark, opening its Patriot League slate 5-0 under first-year head coach Mike Brennan. In addition to the greatest start in Patriot League history for the Eagles, it is the best start in conference play for AU since the 1980-81 season when then head coach Gary Williams led American to a perfect 11-0 mark in ECC play and a 24-6 overall record.

The Eagles are out to a perfect Patriot League start thanks four conference road victories. After starting the season 3-7, AU is now riding a six-game winning streak, with five of those wins coming on the road.

The Eagles have bought in to Brennan's "Princeton Offense" and have put it on full display, especially in Patriot League play, where all four starters are averaging double-digit points. Junior John Schoof leads the way for AU with 14.0 points per game over five contests, with a conference-high 14 3-pointers. Senior Tony Wroblicky leads the Patriot League with 9.0 rebounds per game and is second on AU with 13.8 ppg.

Entering the week, American's defensive unit ranked 14th in the nation, holding opponents to 60.0 points per game this season. While the Eagles have been staunch without the basketball, the AU offense has now caught up to its prowess on D, and now ranks seventh in country in team field goal percentage (.499).

 

Scouting Lafayette

The No. 2 preaseason team in the Patriot League has struggled this season after advancing to the conference championship game last season. The Leopards have yet to find a league win this year and are riding a seven-game losing streak. Lafayette's four wins came on streak in early December, defeating Penn before road wins at Wagner and Sacred Heart and then at home versus Immaculata on Dec. 17. 

The win vs. Immaculata proved to be hollow one as Lafayette's top player, Seth Hinrichs went down with a knee injury, not playing another minute since, as the Leopards have not won without him. Hinrichs was averaging 20.2 ppg and 4.7 rpg game before going down. Bryce Scott now leads the Lafayette offense with 14.1 ppg. Big man Dan Trist is next with 13.1 ppg and a team-high 5.9 rpg. The Leopards can score, averageing 74.3 ppg, but allow nearly 80 ppg.

Fran O'Hanlon is in his 19th season as the head coach of the Lafayette basketball program. He is the longest tenured coach in the Patriot League, has won three conference titles and owns two NCAA Tournament appearances. The native of Philadelphia holds the record for games coached in the Patriot League with 533 entering the 2013-14 season. O'Hanlon enters the 2013-14 campaign with a 258-275 career record.

 

More on the Eagles

Entering the week, American's defensive unit ranked 14th in the nation, holding opponents to 60.0 points per game this season. While the Eagles have been staunch without the basketball, the AU offense has now caught up to its prowess on D, and now ranks seventh in country in team field goal percentage (.499).

This year, American boasts four players in double digit scoring as junior sharpshooter John Schoof leads the way with 12.9 ppg. Second year swingman Jesse Reed is just behind Schoof's lead with 12.3.Following the dynamic duo is Wroblicky and junior point guard Darius Gardner, who are averaging 11.5 and 10.6 ppg, respectively.

With five players with two fouls each in the first half at Colgate, "Pee Wee" Gardner stepped up, shouldering the burden offensively, scoring 20-plus points for the second time is his career, finishing with 21 on 7-of-8 shooting, 7-of-9 from the line. Gardner also added a game-high seven rebounds as the Eagles dominated the Raiders on the boards, 26-14. AU also earned a 32-18 point advantage in the paint. Against Lehigh, Gardner went back to his pass-first roots, dishing out a career-best 11 assists.

Wroblicky etched his name into the American record book again, recording his 500th career rebound at Holy Cross, becoming the 28th player in program history to do so. The fourth-year center became the fifth player ever in AU history to reach 100 blocks earlier this season and now ranks third all-time with 118 career rejections.

This season, the Eagle boast three true iron men, as Gardner, Schoof and Reed each average over 32 minutes per game. Gardner is top amongst Patriot League players and 20th in the nation with 36.6 mpg, while Schoof is just behind at 36.3. Reed, 32.1 mpg, has played all 40 minutes in two of the last four games.

AU finally returns home for an extended stretch, beginning this weekend against Lafayette. American will play six of its next eight game inside the friendly confines of Bender Arena.

 

Social Media Insider

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