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Thursday, June 20, 2024
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mbball v holy cross 1/24

Eagles defeat Crusaders convincingly, win 84-65

American keeps Patriot League home record spotless

The American University men’s basketball team (11-9) defeated the Holy Cross Crusaders (5-15) in Bender Arena on Jan. 24 by a score of 84-65. The game saw American pull away in the second half on the back of a breakout game from freshman forward Matt Mayock, who put up 13 points in the second half alone. 

American came into this contest down after a close 70-68 loss at the Lehigh Mountain Hawks on Jan. 20. Holy Cross was riding high entering this game, winning a home tilt against the Loyola Maryland Greyhounds by a score of 86-78

This game also posed a rivalry between the two head coaches, as American head coach Duane Simpkins and Holy Cross head coach Dave Paulsen coached on the same staff at George Mason from 2015 to 2021. Simpkins said after the game that it “hurt to beat him [Paulsen], but it was great to see him.” 

The Eagles got out to a big lead early in the first half, racking up a 23-7 lead in the first nine minutes of the game before the Crusaders could get into any rhythm. After that point, Holy Cross battled their way back into the game, going on an 18-9 run in the following nine minutes to close the lead to 5 points.

The two teams traded spurts of scoring after that, capped by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from senior forward Matt Rogers to put American up 39-32 at the half. 

The two teams continued trading points at the beginning of the second half, but consistent layups from junior guard Elijah Stephens and three consecutive scoring plays from Mayock allowed the Eagles to pull away, giving them a 10-point lead they would hold for the remaining 13 minutes of the game. 

The large crowd in Bender Arena was electric after the three scores from Mayock, sustaining the noise enough to force a timeout from Holy Cross. More contributions from Stephens, Rogers and senior guard Colin Smalls iced the game for the Eagles, with a 19-point victory. 

Stephens led the team in points with 19, followed by Mayock with 16 and Rogers with 14. Rogers led the team in rebounds with 8, while Stephens put up 5 of the team’s 14 steals. 

After the game, Simpkins said the key to winning this game was “good spurts of defense, getting turnovers where we needed them.” 

Stephens agreed with Simpkins, saying “we scored 22 points off of turnovers, with so many steals tonight it was hard to not feel a difference from other games. We’re able to space out the floor and capitalize off of those turnovers, that’s the key.” 

Simpkins lamented the loss at Lehigh, saying “We didn’t play hard enough at Lehigh, but our mindset was a lot better here today, and we came away with a win for it.” He also commended the large crowd gathered in Bender for the game, saying “This was great, and I hope we can keep it up. Bring your friends!” 

The Eagles next take on the Lafayette Leopards on Jan. 31 in Easton, Pennsylvania. 

This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks, Isabelle Kravis and Liah Argiropoulos.

As the semester comes to an end and one of the founding members leaves American University, Section 202 has decided to take a trip down memory lane. For our fans, old and new, who are wondering how Section 202 came to be, this episode is a must. Listen along as hosts Connor Sturniolo and Liah Argiropoulos reminisce about the beginning of Section 202 and how it got to where it is now.

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