Men's basketball loses season debut

The defending Patriot League champion AU men's basketball team lost its season opener on the road to the No. 14 ranked Oklahoma Sooners 83-54 Friday night. Senior forward Brian Gilmore led the team with 16 points while senior guard Garrison Carr added 11 of his own.

The Eagles hung with the Sooners in the opening minutes, despite only shooting one for 11 in the first six minutes of the game.

AU's defense forced Oklahoma to turn over the ball three times during that stretch and following a three-pointer by Gilmore, the Eagles were only down 14-8 with ten minutes remaining in the first half.

The Sooners quickly took control of the game, as sophomore forward Blake Griffin bucket kick-started a 10-0 run that pushed the lead up to 31-12.

Carr scored seven of his 11 points in the final four minutes of the half, but it was not enough to prevent a 47-24 deficit heading into halftime.

Oklahoma continued to increase its lead in the second half, scoring the first five points of the period to go up 52-24 only two minutes in.

Gilmore and senior guard Derrick Mercer scored back-to-back buckets to cut the Sooner lead to 53-30 with 16 minutes remaining on the clock, but this would be as close as the Eagles would get throughout the rest of the match.

Following a senior forward Jordan Nichols layup at the 5:43 mark, the Sooners closed on an 11-4 run to finish the game by the final score of 83-54.

"We're disappointed with how we played and came away certainly very impressed with how Oklahoma played," Head Coach Jeff Jones told AUeagles.com. "We didn't make shots early and I think that affected other areas of the game. It would be nice if we could shoot better but if we don't shoot the ball well we need to do other things to give ourselves a chance."

The Eagles will look to bounce back Monday night, as they return to Bender Arena to face St. Francis University at 7:30 p.m. for their home season opener. At that time, the team will raise the 2008 Patriot League Championship banner to the rafters before the start of the game.

You can reach this staff writer at jhall@theeagleonline.com.

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