AU Men's Basketball Opens PL Play at Home Against Lehigh on Saturday The Eagles swept Lehigh in last season's series
Senior Garrison Carr ranks 12th in the NCAA with 51 made three-pointers
Jan. 9, 2009
Media Information Teams: American (8-6) vs. Lehigh (10-4)
Date & Location: Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009 - 2 p.m. - Bender Arena, Washington, D.C.
Radio: Federal News Radio 1050AM - Dan Laing (play-by-play), Jeremy Huber (analyst) - Listen Live! Web:Eagle Vision All*Access Game Notes
WASHINGTON - The American University men's basketball team opens Patriot League play on Saturday at home against Lehigh. Tipoff from Bender Arena is scheduled for 2 p.m. The matchup pits the top two teams from the PL Preseason Poll against one another. The Eagles were picked to finish first by conference coaches and Sports Information Directors and the Mountain Hawks were picked to finish second. The game will also mark the fifth-consecutive year that AU and Lehigh have opened conference play against one another. The team's have split their first four conference opening meetings, 2-2. American is 4-3 all-time in PL openers and 6-1 all-time in PL home openers.
News and Notes
American finished the non-conference portion of its schedule with an 8-6 record, matching the team's best record entering PL play under Head Coach Jeff Jones. The Eagles have recorded eight out of conference wins in each of the last three seasons, including an 8-7 record last season and an 8-6 mark in 2006-07.
With a 5-5 record on the road, AU is one of just 11 teams in the country to have won at least five games away from home this season. The Eagles five road victories ties them for fourth in the country, trailing only the six wins of Butler, St. Bonaventure and VMI. American was one of eight teams to begin the year by playing 10 of its first 12 games on the road.
American ranked 80th in this week's NCAA Ratings Performance Index, receiving the highest ranking of any PL team. Navy earned the second-highest ranking in the RPI at 140.
Senior Garrison Carr has made 239 career three-pointers and ranks ninth all-time in the PL. Carr made seven threes against Columbia (W 62-50, 1/5/09) to move onto the all-time top-10 list and is just 61 treys shy of the all-time record of 300 held by Army's Mark Lueking (1992-96).
Senior Garrison Carr currently ranks in the NCAA's top-100 in six different offensive categories. He ranks as high as seventh in three-point attempts with 133 and is 12th in three-pointers made with 51. Carr ranks 70th in the nation in scoring average at 18.4 ppg and is 72nd in total points with 257. The senior has made 87 field goals which puts him at 84th in the country and his 218 field goal attempts rank him 33rd.
American will attempt to extend its current winning streak to four games on Saturday which would match the team's longest winning streak of the year. AU has recorded three straight double-digit victories during the streak, including wins at Manhattan (W 60-48, 12/29/08), against Brown (W 68-53, 1/2/09) and against Columbia (W 62-50, 1/5/09). The Eagles have averaged 63.3 ppg in the three victories while shooting 48.9 percent (69-141) from the floor, 50.0 percent (26-52) from three and averaging 30.0 rpg.
AU's longest winning streak of the year took place from Nov. 17-25 and included wins against St. Francis (Pa.) (W 67-46, 11/17/08), at Howard (W 65-63, 11/19/08), at Jacksonville (W 75-67, 11/22/08) and at Stony Brook (W 56-53, 11/25/08).
Last season, senior Garrison Carr set new AU and PL records with 135 made three-point baskets and scored 606 total points, the seventh highest total in school history. This season, he has scored more points through 14 games than he did a year ago and has made the same number of threes. Carr has scored 257 points this season, 49 points ahead of his 14 game total of 208 from a year ago, and has connected on 51 threes, tying his 14 game total from last year.
Garrison Carr became the 27th player in AU history to score 1,000 points at UMBC (W 74-61, 12/20/08). Carr entered the game needing 15 points to reach 1,000 and did so in the game's first 10 minutes, hitting 5-of-6 shots from the floor including 3-of-4 makes from three and a pair of free-throws. He finished the night with a career and game-high 34 points, including a career-high eight three-pointers. Carr currently sits in 23rd place all-time at American with 1,096 career points.
Last season, Carr set new AU and PL records with 135 made three-point baskets and scored 606 total points, the seventh highest total in school history. This season, he has scored more points through 14 games than he did a year ago and has made the same number of threes. Carr has scored 257 points this season, 49 points ahead of his 14 game total of 208 from a year ago, and has connected on 51 threes, tying his 14 game total from last year.
Carr has made 239 career three-pointers, which ranks him ninth all-time in the PL, and is just 61 treys shy of the all-time record of 300 held by Army's Mark Lueking (1992-96).Carr is currently ranked fourth in the PL for career three-point percentage (41.3, 239-579), third at AU in career three-pointers (239), and second at AU in career free-throw percentage (87.1, 149-171).
Derrick Mercer joined classmate Garrison Carr in AU's 1,000 point club at Maryland (L 67-51, 12/22/08). Mercer entered the game against the Terps with 999 career points and surpassed the 1,000 point plateau on a layup with 13:04 to play in the first half. Mercer finished the game with a team-high 12 points on 6-of-12 shooting and dished out a game-high six assists while playing all 40 minutes. Mercer has scored 1,042 career points, good for 26th all-time at American. Carr and Mercer are the first pair of AU teammates to take the floor together as 1,000 point scorers since Tim Fudd (1,303 pts., 1991-96) and Darryl Franklin (1,347 pts., 1992-1996) did so during the 1996 season.
With 429 career assists, Mercer ranks fifth all-time at AU and ninth all-time in the PL. Mercer made his 104th career start against Brown (W 68-53, 1/2/09), and has joined Andre Ingram (117 starts, 2003-07), Darryl Franklin (110 starts, 1992-96) and Brian Gilgeous (105 starts, 1989-93) as one of only four Eagles to ever start 100 games. If Mercer starts every remaining regular season game for AU this season, he will finish his career with 118 starts and break the AU record of 117 held by Ingram. If Mercer appears in every remaining regular season game, he will have played in 120 career games, surpassing the AU record of 118 also held by Ingram.
Saturday's game against Lehigh will mark the 100th career appearance for senior Jordan Nichols. Nichols, who is listed in Saturday's probably starters, will join classmates Garrison Carr, Brian Gilmore and Derrick Mercer as having played in 100 career games at AU. Carr and Gilmore each made their 100th career appearance against Brown (W 68-53, 1/2/09), while Mercer played in his 100th career game at Georgetown (L 73-49, 12/6/08).
Inside the Series - Lehigh
All-Time Record: American Leads, 16-14
Last Season's Series: W 71-54, 1/12/08, Bethlehem, Pa.
W 82-74, 2/10/08, Washington, D.C.
The Eagles swept the season series with Lehigh last year, taking a 71-54 win in Bethlehem, Pa., and a 82-74 win at Bender Arena. At Lehigh in their first meeting, AU sprinted out to a 10 point halftime advantage and led by as many as 21 points in the second half. The Eagles limited Lehigh to just two field goals through the first 13-plus minutes of the second half and held the Mountain Hawks to just 35.3 percent (18-51) shooting from the field for the game. Garrison Carr scored a game-high 24 points to lead AU to victory and made 6-of-8 shots from three. Derrick Mercer scored 16 points and dished out eight assists as Brian Gilmore added 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.
AU claimed sole possession of first place in the PL with their win over Lehigh at home last season, led by a career-high 26 points from Gilmore. The win put American a half-game ahead of Lafayette in the standings with five PL games remaining. The Eagles shot 61.2 percent (30-49) from the floor in the victory and led by as many as 19 points in the second half. Gilmore made 10-of-14 shots from the field, including 3-of-4 from three, and grabbed six rebounds. Carr scored 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting and matched his career-high with eight rebounds. Cornelio Guibunda added 11 points, four rebounds and two blocks.
American owns a 16-14 advantage over the Mountain Hawks in the all-time series but is just 7-9 against Lehigh since joining the PL. Last season's two victories ended a four-game lossing streak for AU against Lehigh and a string in which Lehigh had won eight of nine meetings.
Saturday's game will mark the fifth straight year that American and Lehigh have played one another in each team's PL opener. The team's split their first four conference opening meetings, 2-2.
The Mountain Hawks enter Saturday's game in second place in the PL with a 10-4 record but were most recently defeated at Princeton, 73-64, in their final non-conference tuneup. Lehigh is averaging 69.1 ppg while allowing their opponents to score just 63.3 ppg. As a team, the Mountain Hawks are shooting 40.9 percent (326-798) from the floor, 35.9 percent (89-248) from three and are averaging 41.4 rpg. In comparison, Lehigh has held opponents to 38.1 percent (301-789) from the floor, 30.5 percent (84-275) from three and 35.6 rpg.
Marquis Hall is Lehigh's leading scorer and enters Saturday's game averaging 14.4 ppg. Hall also leads the team in assists with 4.7 apg, three-pointers with 24 and is third on the team with 5.4 rpg. Zahir Carrington is the team's second-leading scorer at 13.6 ppg and is the leading rebounder with 7.3 rpg. Rob Keefer and Phil Anderson each average over nine points at 9.9 ppg and 9.4 ppg, respectively.