Reed, Schoof lead men’s basketball past St. Francis 49-46

Correction appended.

The Eagles won their home opener against the St. Francis Terriers 49-46 on Nov. 17. Junior guard Jesse Reed powered the Eagles to the win with 18 points while senior guard John Schoof added 14 points.

It was a tight contest, with no team leading by more than six points at one time.

“We knew we were going to have a tough test tonight. St. Francis is one of the better teams in their league,” head coach Mike Brennan said. “We feel fortunate to come out with a win tonight.”

Before the game, senior captains John Schoof and Darius “Pee Wee” Gardner unveiled their 2014 Patriot League championship banner to the delight of the 1,500 fans in attendance.

“It was definitely cool to see the banner,” Schoof said. “That’s the last thing we have to look back on from last season because we have a lot of things that we need to work on with this team.”

The Eagles raced out to a 8-3 lead in the early minutes of game after three pointers from Schoof and senior forward Kevin Panzer, and another bucket from Schoof.

Hot shooting from St. Francis, especially sophomore guard Malik Harmon, kept the Terriers in the game. Careless play from AU also presented the Terriers with opportunities to score. Harmon shot 3-4 in the first half from behind the arc, leading the Terriers in scoring. He finished the game with 20 points on 7-11 shooting, and 4-7 from the three point line. As a team, St. Francis shot an impressive 50 percent on three pointers in the first half.

With 3:30 to go in the first half, St. Francis senior forward Earl Brown hit two free throws to give the Terriers a comfortable lead of 23-18. They seized the momentum, and pressured AU freshman center Gabe Brown to take a forced shot as the shot clock dwindled down.

However, sophomore guard Charlie Jones came up with a huge offensive rebound near the end of the half to keep the possession alive. A bucket from junior forward Marko Vasic cut the Terrier’s lead to three, and then a layup from Brown and a three-pointer from Schoof capped a 7-0 run for the Eagles and gave them a 25-23 advantage heading into halftime.

St. Francis came out firing again in the second half, and Harmon secured a three-point shot right away. Both teams traded baskets until the nine minute mark, when Jones knocked down two free throws to give the Eagles a two point lead that they never relinquished.

A three pointer by Jesse Reed put the Eagles up by five with just under two minutes to play, putting AU in a position to seal the victory, but St. Francis continued to fight. Harmon drove hard to the basket during in the final minutes, got fouled and hit the layup to convert the three-point play.

Careless turnovers by Gardner and Jones and a missed free throw by Jones left the door open for St. Francis to tie the game with little time remaining. St. Francis senior guard Dominique Major got off a decent shot but he was off the mark, and the Eagles escaped with the win.

AU ended the night with 16 turnovers to the St. Francis’s 12. However, the Eagles overcame the turnovers by converting 42.5 percent (17-40) of their field goal attempts and 42.1 percent (8-19) of their 3-point attempts.

After the season opening loss at Temple, the win brings the Eagles’ record to 1-1. They travel to Louisiana this weekend to continue its play in the Coaches vs. Cancer classic. The Eagles will play three games in three days against Louisiana Tech, Presbyterian and Morehead State, respectively.


mholt@theeagleonline.com

Correction: The original article listed Shannon Scovel as the reporter. The reporter was Matt Holt.

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