Patriot League Review: American Grabs Hold Of First Place

Jesse Reed shot the ball incredibly well on Wednesday, leading American to a win over BU. - John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

First place had been a shared thing through six Patriot League contests, but American finally asserted itself on Wednesday night by handing BU its first-ever loss in the Patriot League.



This was the game we had all been waiting for. The heavyweight showdown of the lone Patriot League unbeatens that would set up the rest of the league schedule as a battle for third place. That wasn't what we got though. Instead we got American asserting itself for 40 solid minutes that reduced BU's defense to nothing. The final difference of 30 points really isn't indicative of where these teams are in relation to each other, but it does say something about just how good American is.

American shot 71.2 percent from the field, 78.6 percent from three, and 75 percent from the free throw line. Of the 30 baskets American made, 22 of them were assisted. Jesse Reed, Tony Wroblicky and Darius Gardner combined to shoot 19-for-26 from the field and 8-of-9 from three for 55 points. By comparison, BU's entire team combined to shoot 16-for-50 from the field and 4-for-16 from three for 56 points.

BU is better than it played on Wednesday night, but American pounded them so thoroughly that it is clear which team reigns supreme in the Patriot League on this day.



At the other end of the spectrum is, well, the rest of the Patriot League. Holy Cross and Lafayette's back-and-forth tilt was indicative of how wide open the league is on a nightly basis. Holy Cross came in as winners of its last three, while Lafayette had lost its last six but the game was close for the duration before the Crusaders finally pulled it out at the last possible moment. Justin Burrell's free throws gave the Crusaders a three-point lead before Scott Bryce cut that lead back to one. Anthony Thompson missed the front end of a one-and-one that gave Nick Linder a shot to win the game.

Teams have really focused on stopping Dave Dudzinski and the Leopards were able to hold him to nine points and six rebounds. Fortunately for Milan Brown, the rest of his team has been able to pick up the slack enough to win the last four games and keep their head above water in this crazy league.



Lehigh needed a win in the worst way on Wednesday and it took an extra five minutes and a pair of big defensive plays for them to get it. Jesse Chuku blocked six shots on the night, but none were bigger than the one to end regulation and the one to end overtime. Mackey McKnight played a controlled game, picking his spots and saving his biggest shot for last, banking in the eventual game-winner before Chuku's game-sealing block.

Navy got a career night from Worth Smith with 26 points, but a long night from Brandon Venturini (4-for-15) and Zach Fong (4-for-11) made it too much of an uphill climb for the Mids.

Other Patriot League Action

  • In the only other game not to be decided by one possession, the Bucknell Bison knocked off the Loyola Greyhounds 70-60. Cameron Ayers went a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line for a team-high 19 points. Dylon Cormier scored an even 20 to lead Loyola.
  • The Army Black Knights improved to 6-1 in conference play by holding off a surging Colgate Raiders team fresh off its first Patriot League win. Kyle Wilson had a subdued 15 points, but his pair of late free throws gave Army its final margin. Ethan Jacobs poured in 22 for Colgate.

Patriot League Standings

Team Record (Conference) Record (Overall)
American University 7-0 11-7
Army 6-1 10-8
Boston University 6-1 13-7
Bucknell 4-3 9-9
Holy Cross 4-3 10-9
Loyola-Maryland 3-4 8-10
Lehigh 2-5 9-11
Navy 2-5 7-11
Colgate 1-6 7-11
Lafayette 0-7 4-14
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