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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Brennan coaches his team during a game during the 2014-2015 season.

Men’s basketball falls in season opener to Rhode Island

Eagles drop early season contest 65-42.

The AU men’s basketball team opened its season with a loss to the University of Rhode Island 65-42 on Friday night.

The Eagles started strong, hitting five of their first six shots, and senior forward Marko Vasic sank a three-pointer to put AU up 12-11 with 15:01 left in the first half. However, Rhode Island sophomore guard Jared Terrell followed Vasic’s shot with a layup that gave the Rams a lead they never forfeited for the duration of the game. Even without the services of last year’s leading scorer E.C. Matthews, who suffered a knee injury in the first half, Rhode Island pushed past the Eagles with a 52.2 percent field goal percentage and 34 team rebounds. The Eagles failed to score a single field goal in the final 7:33 of the first half and notched just three points in foul shots before heading into halftime down 36-23.

The Rams expanded their lead to 17 points early in the second half, but AU attempted to rally. The Eagles closed the gap slightly, pulling within six with 12:01 left to play after redshirt junior forward Paris Maragkos scored a free throw. But the Rams shut down the Eagles’ efforts and hit a 23-2 run to lock in their first season victory. They held the Eagles scoreless in the final 5:23 and prevented AU from hitting a field goal in the final 12:32.

The Eagles started the game with a 45.0 field goal percentage but dropped to 34.8 average after hitting only 26.9 of their shots in the second half. They capitalized on 16 out of 46 field goals and hit 2-14 from beyond the arc. The Rhode Island defense also forced AU to commit 17 turnovers.

Maragkos lead the Eagles and emerged as a star in his AU debut. He scored a game high 16 points to go along with four rebounds, a steal and a block.

Senior guard Jesse Reed, on the other hand, struggled against the Rams and scored just seven points, his lowest total since November 29 of last year at Columbia when he was held to just six points. Reed went 2-9 from the field, 0-3 from the three-point line and 3-6 from the foul line.

The Eagles return to action Tuesday when they host Hampton University in the home opener at 7:30 p.m.

sports@theeagleonline.com


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