Eagles beat pair of old rivals, but fall at Xavier 86-68
AU 81 - Loyola (Md.) 74
Andre Ingram scored 22 points and the Eagles survived a second half surge by Loyola's Gerald Brown to defeat the Greyhounds last Monday at Bender Arena, avenging a 68-60 loss last season at Loyola.
"They handed it to us pretty good last year," said AU coach Jeff Jones. "I'm not going to say it was a revenge game, but our guys remembered the embarrassment of last year."
After scoring just three points on one-of-nine shooting in a 61-50 loss at Richmond, Ingram started off the game strong, going 4-4 from three-point range and 4-4 from the free-throw line in the first half, helping AU build a 41-26 lead at the half.
While the first half belonged to Ingram, the second half was dominated by Brown. Despite being down by as much as 20, Brown was impressive in the second half, almost single-handedly bringing his team back into the game. He scored 26 of his game high 31 in the half, but strong free throw shooting by the Eagles preserved the victory.
"Brown was earning everything he got," Ingram said. "I'm glad we were able to hold him off enough to win."
Forward Brayden Billbe added 17 points for the Eagles, a season-high, while point guard Derrick Mercer scored 11 points and dished out seven assists. The bench also contributed, with guard Arvydas Eitutavicius scoring 13 points and forward Jordan Nichols grabbing a game-high seven rebounds and recording two blocks.
"That was the best Jordan has played since he has been at AU," Jones said.
Xavier 86 - AU 68
Center Paulius Joneliunas scored 15 points and the Eagles trailed by just two at the half, but Xavier's Josh Duncan led all scorers with 23 points en route to an 18 point win last Saturday in Cincinnati.
Joneliunas got off to a great start for the Eagles, scoring seven points in the first four minutes to give AU an early lead. The Eagles took a 19-13 lead on a Garrison Carr three-pointer with under 10 minutes left in the half. However, Xavier battled back to go on an 8-4 run to take a four point lead. Carr hit another three-pointer with a little over a minute left to stop the run, sending the Eagles into halftime down just two points.
The Eagles trailed by just one early in the second half after a three-pointer by Andre Ingram, but back-to-back threes from Duncan keyed a 10-1 run that gave Xavier control of the game. The Eagles got within seven points after the first three-pointer of Joneliunas' collegiate career, but would get no closer for the rest of the game. Xavier hit 21 of 25 free throw attempts to keep AU from making a comeback.
Forward Justin Gage scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Musketeers, while Justin Doellman scored 17 points. For AU, Eitutavicius continued his strong play off the bench, scoring 11 points, his third straight game in double figures. Forward Travis Lay added seven points and five rebounds off the bench.
AU 59 - Mount Saint Mary's 46
Andre Ingram scored 15 points and Cornelio Guibunda played the best game of his short AU career to help the Eagles overcome a 21 turnover performance to win on the road against Mount Saint Mary's on Monday night.
While Ingram's strong game was nothing out of the ordinary for AU's leading scorer, Guibunda's contributions were surprising. Coming into Monday's game, the sophomore Georgetown-transfer had played in just three of AU's first five games for a total of 12 minutes.
However, with seniors Joneliunas and Billbe on the bench with two fouls midway through the first half, Guibunda made the most of the playing time, keying a 15-0 run that gave AU a 29-17 lead at the half. Guibunda scored six points and grabbed six rebounds in the first half. He finished the game with eight points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
"He gave us a big lift in the first half. Lio helped us pull away," said Ingram in a past game interview with Hoop Time Online.
The Eagles defense was outstanding, holding the Mountaineers to under 31 percent shooting on the night, as well as holding a 41-27 advantage on the boards. Derrick Mercer added 11 points and seven assists for the Eagles.
Hoops Notes: AU is 4-2 through their first six games, after starting out last season 0-6.The Eagles played games against two of their old rivals, facing Loyola for the 79th time and Mount Saint Mary's for the 55th time.Against Xavier, Mercer was held without an assist for the first time in his career.After averaging 12 points on 35 percent shooting last season, Ingram is scoring 14.7 points a game while shooting almost 42 percent, including 53 percent from three-point range.