Bisons buck Eagles
AU falls short of a comeback
The American University men’s basketball team (14-8) took on the Bucknell University Bison (9-15) for the first time this season on Wednesday night. The matchup was the ninth annual Sustainability Awareness Game at Bender Arena, with campus sustainability organizations tabling at the game.
American started the half winning the tip-off and putting in a quick basket in the paint from junior forward Matt Rogers. In the next possession for the Eagles, junior forward Johnny O’Neil put in a 3-point shot to give AU an early 5-2 lead.
However, the Bisons battled back and stretched out an early 18-9 point lead just under five minutes into the game. Sophomore guard Elijah Stephens drove to the basket with a layup and cut the lead to 7.
The Eagles continued to cut down the lead, at one point bringing the score as close as 2 points with a basket in the paint from junior guard Lincoln Ball.
From there, Bucknell took off. The Eagles turned the ball over three times in a minute and the Bisons were able to extend the lead back to 9. Bucknell finished the half with a 3-point basket, putting the score at 49-35.
“We didn’t have an answer for Bucknell early on,” head coach Mike Brennan said.
American came out in the second half itching for a comeback. A dunk from O’Neil and a layup from junior guard Colin Smalls put the Eagles within 10. However, Bucknell continued to match American in scoring, and with a made 3-point basket, extended the lead to the biggest of the game, 61-42.
With only 11 minutes left in regulation to play, the Eagles had to score quickly to make a comeback. American went on a 5-point run, cutting Bucknell’s lead to 14. Two made free throws from Rogers and a 3-point basket from O’Neil started the Eagles attempt at a comeback.
American was able to bring the lead to 5 points after forcing Bucknell into two turnovers trying to inbound the ball. The Eagles had multiple shot attempts to catch up to the Bison; however, they were unable to score and cut the lead down any closer.
In an attempt to get the ball back, American fouled Bucknell, sending them to the line. Two made free throws from the Bison cemented the score 78-71, and AU’s fifth Patriot League loss of the season.
“We made the adjustments we needed to in the second half, but it was just too little too late,” O’Neil said.
Freshman guard Geoff Sprouse led the Eagles with 16 points, Rogers contributed 12 points and 8 rebounds, O’Neil added 10 points and 12 rebounds and Stephens added 10 points.
American will next look to take on the top team in the Patriot League, the undefeated Colgate Raiders. The game will be played on Saturday, Feb. 5, at Bender Arena.
O’Neil was ready to close the book on the loss and move on to Colgate.
“We’re on to the next. We’re already focused on what needs to be done on Saturday,” he said.
This article was edited by Penelope Jennings and Nina Heller. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis, Sophie Myers, Natasha LaChac, and Sophia Rocha