American upsets No. 2 Navy in Patriot League quarterfinal
Eagles beat Midshipmen to move on to Patriot League semi-final
The American University men’s basketball team (17-14) narrowly took down the No. 2 seed Navy Midshipmen (18-13) in Annapolis for the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals, 52-51.
The Eagles were coming off a win against Bucknell University on Tuesday. AU had just lost to the Midshipmen in their regular season matchup on Feb. 22 by 16 points.
Navy won the tipoff and put in two layups to establish an early 4-0 lead over American. A fast break layup and jumper from junior forward Matt Rogers tied the score up.
The Midshipmen responded with a run that established an 11 point lead over the Eagles with 10 minutes left in the half. Rogers broke the run with a fast break dunk.
A dunk by junior forward Johnny O’Neil and three jumpers from junior guard Lorenzo Donadio started to chip away at Navy’s lead. Another jumper from O’Neil brought the Eagles within 2 points of the Midshipmen.
A 3-point basket from O’Neil gave American the lead for the first time since the beginning of the game, and another 3-point basket from sophomore guard Elijah Stephens and a layup by Rogers put the Eagles up 6 at the half.
Navy opened the half with a 3-point basket, putting the Midshipmen within 3 of the Eagles. A basket in the paint from Rogers and O’Neil extended American’s lead up to 7.
The two sides traded baskets, with the Eagles holding on to a consistent 6-point lead. A stepback jumper from O’Neil put American up 8 with 7:17 left in the game.
Navy slowly began chipping away at American’s lead, pulling as close as 3 points, 49-46, with 1:19 left to play in the game. A 3-point basket from graduate student forward Connor Nelson gave the Eagles what they needed to hang on to their quarterfinal win, 52-51.
American had a great shooting night, shooting 55 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc.
Rogers led the Eagles with 17 points and seven rebounds, O’Neil contributed 15 and nine rebounds and Donadio added 9.
Next, American will travel to a semifinal matchup against No. 6 Lafayette on Sunday at 4 p.m.
This article was edited by Penelope Jennings and Nina Heller. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Luna Jinks.