American University men’s basketball (4-3) extended their undefeated home record to 4-0 with a 103-74 win over Hood College. This victory goes in the record books for the Eagles, as they shattered their 3-point record with fourteen players from their roster.
The Division III Hood Blazers came in ready to compete with a talented group of players — including junior guard Garrison Linton, who put up 17 points — on their roster that forced the Eagles to put in the work from start to end.
The Blazers were the first to put points on the board, and for the entire first half it looked like it could be anyone’s game. Back and forth, the Eagles and Blazers traded points, taking turns in the lead.
However, the Eagles pulled together and rallied for 63 points in the second half. The total of 103 points is the most the men’s basketball program has scored in one game since 1996. Along with breaking that record is the new 3-point record American set with 19 in one game, blowing the previous record of 15 in the wind.
The Eagles gave the Blazers too much room downcourt in the first half, which allowed them to get 42 points. American’s increase in scoring in the second half was a game-changer, however, their defensive action was an immense standout that showed what the team's capable of.
“All our guys responded really well, coming out at halftime with defense,” head coach Duane Simpkins said. “We talk about it, but today, we took a step when it comes to that. And I don’t care if Hood is a Division III team. They’ve got guys that could be Division I ball players — they can score, they can shoot — they play really hard. So I was really happy with our second-half effort defensively.”
At the return of the half, the Eagles were able to establish their lead quickly. Drawing in players from Hood towards the hoop as if they were about to shoot and a quick pass to the top of the circle for a 3 was a seamless and effective method for the team. Passing from the Eagles emphasized the “unselfishness” of this team.
“Offensively, I mean we have a very unselfish team, we share the basketball. I’ve never been a part of a team that had 28 assists in a game on 36 field goals,” Simpkins said. “I mean, that’s phenomenal. It’s a testament to our guys and their character; they love playing together.”
“We love each other so much,” sophomore guard Geoff Sprouse said. “The chemistry between ourselves is out of this world, so we’ll find everybody on our team no matter who is on the bench or starting. Everybody will get a good look at a shot, anything it is.”
Every player stayed ready, even if they had not gotten much playing time. Freshman forward Gibraltar Coleman had his first-ever points in the second half. Having a full roster of ready players who can continue to be an active and vital part of the game shows the depth of American's basketball roster this season.
Roste depth will remain an essential factor for the Eagles, especially as they face more competitive Patriot League opponents or in their upcoming game against Harvard on Nov. 29 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“I know they’ve had a lot of success so far this year; they only lost one game,” Simpkins said. “The Ivy League has done well, with Yale only losing one game; Princeton is undefeated. We’ll have to have our defense travel with us; we have to take a step defensively. And that was what I just told our guys in the locker room: we’re going to celebrate this win for tonight. But starting tomorrow, we’ve gotta get our minds set to the point of just thinking of getting stops on every single possession on the defensive end because we’ll need it against Harvard.”
This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Luna Jinks.