WORCESTER, Mass. — Freshman Delante Jones backed in a turnaround layup with 2.3 seconds left in overtime to give the American University men's basketball team a 71-70 win over Holy Cross on Sunday afternoon at the Hart Center. The win was AU's second straight overtime victory.
American (9-18) jumps to 7-9 in the Patriot League while Holy Cross (10-17) dips to 5-11 in league play. The win completes the season series sweep and the eighth consecutive win for American over Holy Cross. American is currently tied with Loyola (Md.) for seventh-place. With the Crusaders loss, HC is positioned either ninth or tenth in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament.
Senior Jesse Reed finished with a game-high 18 points but fouled out with 14 seconds left in regulation. Classmate Marko Vasic also fouled out as did freshman Andrija Matic in a game that saw 30 personal fouls against American.
Vasic had 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals before exiting the contest 40 seconds into the extra frame. Jones added 12 points in the win and played with four fouls for the entire second half. Junior Charlie Jones once again was a defensive stop-gap for the Eagles and poured in 11 points off the bench in 34 minutes.
Free throws dominated the first half as the Eagles scored 13 points from the line and seven from the field. The Crusaders led for a large portion of the half, with American scoring the first basket of the game on a layup by Paris Maragkos at 17:25. The Eagles then regained the lead with four straight made free throws after a technical foul was called on the Holy Cross bench after Marko Vasic drove the lane with two seconds left.
The Eagles finished the frame on a 9-2 run after Jehyve Floyd hit a layup to give Holy Cross a 17-11 lead at 4:02.
Reed led the Eagles with eight points at the break, as American led 20-19.
The Eagles raced out with a 13-4 run to begin the second and led by 10 (33-23) on a triple by Charlie Jones. American's lead increased to 13 (39-26) on a trey by junior Jalen Rhea.
Holy Cross tied the game at 41 on a layup by Malachi Alexander to complete 15-2 run by the Crusaders.
AU regained a nine-point advantage (51-42) on Reed's layup at 6:41, but Holy Cross battled back and rookie Karl Charles sank a three to take the lead 58-57 with 2:04 left. Vasic put American ahead once again with free throws, but for the fourth time, Holy Cross tied the game 59-all on free throws by Anthony Thompson with 14 seconds left in regulations.
In overtime, Holy Cross had four separate one-point leads, however, American pushed back after Alexander and Eric Green gave Holy Cross a 70-69 lead with 16 seconds left.
The Eagles finished the contest shooting 45.5 percent from the floor and 73.5 percent from the line.
Holy Cross shot 37 percent from the field and 63 percent from the line.
Charles' 17 points led four Crusaders in double figures.
American will complete the regular season at home this week with a pair of games. On Wednesday, the Eagles will entertain Navy at 7:30 p.m. on Military Appreciation Night. The team will finish out the campaign on Sat., Feb. 27 at noon against Loyola (Md.) on Senior Day.
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