Men's Basketball Meets Lehigh in PL Semifinals on Sunday

Men's Basketball Meets Lehigh in PL Semifinals on Sunday

Sun., Mar. 6, 2016 • 2 P.M. • Bethlehem, Pa. • Stabler Arena  (5,400)
American (12-18, 9-9 PL) at Lehigh (16-14, 13-5 PL)
All-Time Record: American leads 26-21
Last Meeting: Lehigh 72, American 49 — Feb. 17, 2016
TV — CBS Sports Network — Jason Knapp (PXP),  Mo Cassara (Analyst)
Radio — WFED 1500 AM — Dan Laing (PXP), Jeremy Huber  (Analyst)
Live Stats

American Game Notes
Lehigh Game Notes

WASHINGTON — American has reached the Patriot League Semifinals in 14 of the 15 years in the league and all three years under head coach Mike Brennan. American will look for its fifth win in a row and its third consecutive trip to the PL finals against second-seed Lehigh on Sunday afternoon.


Delante Jones scored 14 points and made two key free throws late to help American beat Boston University 69-64 in a Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal, snapping a four-game losing skid against the Terriers. Jalen Rhea made four 3-pointers and scored 15 points for American. Jesse Reed added 11 points and 12 rebounds. The Eagles took the lead for good, 26-25, on Jones' 3-pointer with five minutes remaining in the first half. American led 61-49 with four minutes to play before BU used an 18-3 run to pull to 67-64 with 23 seconds left.


The Eagles have struggled this season against two-time Patriot League Player of the Year Tim Kempton and a quick moving Mountain Hawk offense that narrowly squeaked by Navy on Thursday. Navy had its chances late to put away the Mountain Hawks, which would have afforded the Eagles a home game on Sunday. None the less, American will need the same offensive productivity from Jesse Reed and Delante Jones, except a third scorer will be needed to combat Lehigh three-headed monster in Kepmton, Austin Price and Kyle Leufroy. Junior Jalen Rhea's quick trigger behind the arc might be what AU needs. 


American will know its potential opponent before tipping off with Lehigh on Sunday. The other PL Semifinal contest between No. 9 Holy Cross and No. 4 Army West Point begins at noon. The contest is also on CBS Sports Network. If Army wins, the PL Championship will be played in West Point, New York on Wednesday evening. If Holy Cross pulls its third upset of the Tournament, American and Bender Arena will host the finals on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. 


Freshman Delante Jones was selected as the 2015-16 Patriot League Men's Basketball Rookie of the Year, as announced by the league office on Monday morning. The Chantilly, Virginia, native came on down the stretch by scoring in double figures in 12 of his final 13 games, and his performance had a great impact for his team as American won nine of its final 12 Patriot League games to finish at .500 in League action after an 0-6 start. Jones placed eighth in scoring (14.2 ppg) during Patriot League action and in the top 20 for the season at 12.0 ppg, leading all freshman in both categories. He scored 18 points or more eight times during the season, with seven of those coming in Patriot League games. He becomes American's third Patriot League Rookie of the Year recipient, and first in a decade since Derrick Mercer won the honor in 2006.


In his final season with the Eagles, Senior Jesse Reed is averaging 12.8 points per game to earn his third-straight all-league nod. The Saltsburg, Pennsylvania, native will go down as one of the top 20 scorers in program history. He is currently 16th on the all-time list with 1,375 points and is the PL's second-highest active scorers. In league play, Reed averaged 13.6 points per game and led the team in field goals (82) and three-pointers (35) made. Reed was also selected to the Patriot League All-Academic Team. This is Reed's third selection after he won the PL MBB Scholar-Athlete of the Year the last two seasons. Reed was also selected to the Patriot League All-Academic Team. 


Mike Brennan is 6-1 as a head coach in the Patriot League Tournament. In his first season, Brennan's squad won all three games needed to capture the league crown. Last season, the Eagles fell to Lafayette in the PL Finals. During the tournament, Brennan's squad averages 62.5 points per game and allow 53.5 points against. 


Lehigh is one of the most explosive offenses in the Patriot League and head coach Dr. Brett Reed is not afraid to let his squad off its leash. Kempton leads his team in scoring, followed behind Price and Leufroy. Kempton had 22 points and 17 rebounds in the win. Lehigh survived a second-half run by Navy that saw the Midshipmen take a late lead after a 19-point deficit. Kempton's three-point play with 40 seconds left made it a 60-57 score as part of a decisive 7-1 run in the final minutes.   The Mountain Hawks placed four starters on All-Patriot League  Teams. Kempton,was named the Patriot League Player of the Year for the second straight season, averages 17.7 points per game and 9.6 rebounds. Kahron Ross was selected to the All-PL First Team and is third in scoring at 11.3 points per game. He leads the team in assists per game at 6.0. Price was tabbed to the All-PL Third Team with his 13.1 points per game average. Leufroy is the final player in double figures at 10.5. He was named to the All-PL Rookie squad.