AU Men's Basketball Hosts Army Sunday in PL Quarterfinals Live on Comcast Tipoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. from Bender Arena
Head Coach Jeff Jones and the Eagles will take on Army this Sunday at 12 p.m. in the PL Quarterfinals
Media Information Teams: American (22-7, 13-1) vs. Army (11-18, 6-8) Date & Location: Sunday, March 8, 12 p.m. - Bender Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV: Comcast SportsNet - Bob Socci (play-by-play), John Feinstein (analyst)
Radio: Federal News Radio 1050/1500/820 AM - Dan Laing (play-by-play), Jeremy Huber (analyst) - Listen Live!1050 AM1500/820 AM Web:Eagle Vision All*Access Game Notes
WASHINGTON - The top-seeded American University men's basketball team continues its pursuit of a second straight Patriot League Tournament Championship at Bender Arena this Sunday, March 8, at 12 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet against fourth-seeded Army. American has defeated Army twice already this season, 58-34 at home on Feb. 4 and 58-36 at Army on Feb. 18, and has won six straight games against the Black Knights. The Eagles are 2-0 all-time in the PL Tournament against Army including a 72-60 win in last season's PL Semi's.
News and Notes
AU advanced to the PL Semifinals with a 78-56 win over Lafayette on Wednesday in the quarterfinal round. Derrick Mercer scored a game and season-high 20 points and added seven rebounds and five assists. Garrison Carr and Brian Gilmore added 19 points and 17 points, respectively, as the Eagles combined to shoot 57.9 percent (33-57) for the game. Army advanced with a 53-50 win over Lehigh. Cleveland Richard netted a game-high 15 points and Marcus Nelson tallied 13.
AU is 13-6 all-time in the PL Tournament and 5-1 in games played at Bender Arena. American has reached the PL Tournament Championship four times in seven years and has never lost in the quarterfinal round. American won its first-ever PL Tournament Championship last season and made the program's first-ever appearance in the NCAA Div. I Tournament.
American currently holds the third longest active winning streak in the country at 11 games and has won 17 of its last 18. During this 18-game run AU has averaged 66.6 ppg while shooting 48.1 percent (434-903) from the field, 40.9 percent (135-330) from three and has grabbed 34.8 rpg. The Eagles have allowed their opponents to score just 54.4 ppg over this stretch while shooting just 36.6 percent (341-931) from the floor, 29.7 percent (96-323) from three and averaging just 29.4 rpg.
AU's 10-game home winning streak is 14th-best in the NCAA. The Eagles are 11-1 in the confines of Bender Arena this season and have won 18 of their last 19 at home. The Eagles are averaging 66.4 ppg this season at home while shooting 47.1 percent (332-705) from the floor, 39.5 percent (103-261) from three and pulling down 35.9 rpg. AU's defense has held its opponents at home to 55.1 ppg while allowing them to shoot just 36.8 percent (270-734) from the floor, 30.8 percent (76-247) from three and averaging 30.8 rpg.
The Eagles own a 15-game home winning streak against the PL dating back to last season. This streak includes home wins over each team in the conference and four PL Tournament victories.
Patriot League Honors
Senior Derrick Mercer was named the Patriot League Player of the Year and head coach Jeff Jones was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year on Monday. Mercer finished the regular season averaging 11.5 ppg, 4.2 apg and 4.3 rpg and was also named to the First Team All-PL. During conference play the Eagles point guard upped his game as he averaged 13.5 ppg, 5.2 apg and held a conference best 2.52 assist to turnover ratio.
Jones earned his first PL Coach of the Year honor after guiding the Eagles to a 21-7 overall record, a 13-1 record in conference play and the team's fourth PL Regular Season title in eight years. This year's squad is just the 10th in school history to win 20-plus games and enjoyed its best in-conference record since the 1980-81 team went 11-0 in the East Coast Conference.
Seniors Garrison Carr and Brian Gilmore joined Mercer on the All-PL Teams as Carr was named to the First Team and Gilmore was named to the Second Team. Carr's 17.5 ppg this season ranks second in the conference and his 16.7 ppg during conference play is tops in the league. Carr has also made a PL best 95 three-pointers this season and his 283 career three's ranks third all-time in the conference. Carr was also named to the First Team All-PL last season.
Gilmore ranks eighth in the PL in scoring with an average of 11.8 ppg and his 5.5 rpg is the eighth-best average in the conference this season. Gilmore also ranks fourth in field goal percentage (51.5), third in three-point percentage (41.6) and 14th in assists per game (2.07). This is Gilmore's first All-PL honor. Last season he was named to the PL All-Tournament Team.
Head coach Jeff Jones is the winningest coach in AU history with a career record of 147-120 (.551). Jones broke the previous record of 142 career wins held by AU coaching legend Stafford Cassell. Cassell's record of 142-94 had stood since his retirement following the 1951-52 campaign.
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 16th place all-time at American with 1,349 career points.
Carr has made 286 career three-pointers, which ranks him third all-time in the PL, and is just 14 treys shy of the PL's all-time record of 300 held by Army's Mark Lueking (1992-96). Carr also ranks second all-time in AU history in three-pointers and is 7 treys shy of tying Nathan Smith's, `98, school record of 293. The senior is also currently ranked fifth in the PL for career three-point percentage (40.5, 286-707) and fourth at AU in career free-throw percentage (83.3 195-234).
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 1,251 career points, good for 21st 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 507 career assists, Mercer ranks second all-time at AU and is third all-time in PL history. Mercer is 24 assists why of tying Navy's Brian Walker for second in PL history. Mercer made his 118th career start on Saturday, breaking the program's all-time record previously set by Andre Ingram, `07. Mercer also made his 119th career appearance on Wednesday moving him past Ingram for first all-time at AU. Mercer is one of just four Eagles to have started in 100 games joining Ingram (117 starts, 2003-07), Darryl Franklin (110 starts, 1992-96) and Brian Gilgeous (105 starts, 1989-93) this year.
American's game against Lehigh marked the 100th career appearance for senior Jordan Nichols, joining him with 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).
Jordan Nichols has recorded 104 career blocks and ranks third all-time at AU.
Inside the Series - Army
All-Time Record: American Leads, 17-2 This Season's Series: W 58-34, 2/4/09
W 58-36, 2/18/09
American swept this season's series against Army by an average margin of victory of 23 points. In the first meeting between the two schools American held Army to a season low 34 points in the 58-34 win, in Bender Arena. The Eagles tooks a 31-17 lead into halftime and never looked back. Nick Hendra led the Eagles with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting and also contributed seven rebounds and Derrrick Mercer added 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and five assists. Cleveland Richard led the Black Knights with nine points.
In the second meeting between the two teams, American held Army to a season low in both field goal percentage (27.1) and field goals made (13) in a 58-36 win, at Christl Arena. American led 33-14 at half. The 14 first half points scored by Army were the fewest number of points allowed by American this season. Derrick Mercer scored a game high 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting and Garrison Carr added 13 points in the victory. Josh Miller led Army with seven points.
American leads the all-time series with Army, 17-2. The Eagles have won six straight against the Leopards and are 17-1 against Army since joining the PL.
Army enters Saturday's contest, as the fourth seed in the Patriot League tournament. The Black Knights knocked off the fifth seeded Lehigh Mountainhawks on Wednesday night in the Patriot League Quarterfinals, 53-50 at Christl Arena. Army was led by Cleveland Richard, 15 points and Marcus Nelson 13 points. Army is averaging 58.0 ppg and shooting 41.9 percent from the field. Cleveland Richard leads the Black Knights averaging 11.9 ppg and 3.3 rpg.
This is the third meeting between the Eagles and the Black Knights in the Patriot League Tournament. The Eagles are undefeated against Army in the Patriot League Tournament with a 2-0 record. The Eagles defeated Army 65-48 in 2004 in the Patriot League Quartfinals. Last year American defeated the Black Knights 72-60 in the Patriot League Semfinals enroute to program's first ever NCAA tournament bid.