Patriot League Men's Basketball Championship Preview

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March 11, 2014

Patriot League Men's Basketball Championship PreviewGet Acrobat Reader | Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament Central

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - After emerging as the class of the Patriot League during the regular season, top-seed Boston University and second-seed American will clash in the League Championship on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*Boston University hosts American for the Patriot League Men's Basketball Championship on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
*The contest can be seen on CBS Sports Network with Jason Knapp and Chris Spatola calling the action.
*The game can also be heard nationwide through Westwood One with Scott Graham and Kyle Macy on the call.
*Each team advanced to the final with a double-digit home win in the semifinals on Saturday.
*BU used a 31-12 run to pull away in the second half for a 91-70 win over fifth-seed Army.
*Maurice Watson Jr. set a school and Patriot League Tournament record with 17 assists in the game.
*American closed the game with a 28-7 run to rally from a 10-point deficit and beat Holy Cross 57-46.
*The Eagles are in their sixth Patriot League title game, and first since winning consecutive titles in 2008 and 2009.
*American is 2-3 in the Championship game, losing its first three appearances from 2002-04.
*BU is playing for its first conference title since winning the America East in 2011.
*Home teams have a 17-5 advantage in League title games, with seven wins in the past eight seasons.

Campus Insiders Video Interviews
Boston University Head Coach Joe Jones | American Head Coach Mike Brennan

Patriot League Notebook
Top Two Seeds Face Off in Patriot League Championship on Wednesday
After emerging as the class of the Patriot League during the regular season, top-seed Boston University and second-seed American will clash in the League Championship on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The Terriers went 15-3 during the regular season and have put on a dominant display in the League Tournament with a 37-point win over Lafayette in the quarterfinals and 21-point win against Army in the semifinals. A victory would give the Terriers the greatest margin in three games in any Patriot League Tournament. American has held both of its Tournament opponents to 50 points or less, and closed with a 28-7 run to beat Holy Cross 57-46 in the semifinals on Saturday. BU and American split their matchups during the regular season, with the Eagles shooting 71.4% for a dominant 86-56 win at home on Jan. 22 and the Terriers rallying from an early double-digit deficit to beat American 71-62 in Boston on Feb. 19. American is playing for its third Patriot League title after winning consecutively in 2008 and 2009, while the Terriers last won a conference title in the America East in 2011.

CBS Sports Network, Westwood One to Cover League Championship
The Patriot League Championship will be available to a national audience on both television and radio. CBS Sports Network, which has already broadcast 14 Patriot League games this year including both semifinals on Saturday, will televise the contest with regular Patriot League announcers Jason Knapp and Chris Spatola calling the action. CBS Sports Network is the 24-hour cable home of CBS Sports. It is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers on Verizon FiOS Channel 94 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 643 (1643 in HD) and via satellite on DIRECTV Channel 221 and Dish Network Channel 158. Westwood One's broadcast will feature Scott Graham and Kyle Macy and can be heard on Sirius/XM Channel 91 and on 109 stations across the country including the Boston, Washington, Los Angeles and Philadelphia markets.

Top Two Seeds Match Up for 16th Time
It is the 16th time in 24 Patriot League seasons that the top two seeds will meet in the League Championship. The No. 1 seed has a 9-5 edge against the No. 2 seed (Lafayette and Navy were both No. 1 seeds in 2000). It is the third straight year and seventh in the last eight seasons where the top two seeds in the League tourney face off in the final. No seed lower than No. 2 has ever won the League tourney, with the top seed holding 18 titles and the No. 2 seed winning it five times. Home court has been a key advantage in Patriot League Championship history, as the home team holds a 17-5 mark in the title contest with seven wins in the last eight years.

Brennan, Jones Successful in First Patriot League Seasons
American's Mike Brennan and Boston University's Joe Jones have enjoyed great success in their first Patriot League seasons, which has continued in the League Tournament. Brennan led an Eagles team picked in ninth place to a second-place finish, while Jones has guided the Terriers to the most wins in League play in the first year of the expanded schedule. Brennan was just the second coach to begin his Patriot League tenure with a 10-0 record.

American Plays in Patriot League Championship for Sixth Time in 13 Years
American entered the Patriot League in the 2001-02 season, and now has tied Bucknell and Holy Cross for the most appearances in the League title game during that 13-year span. The Eagles play for the crown for the sixth time, and first since winning the second of back-to-back titles in 2009. The Eagles won as the No. 1 seed both times, beating No. 3 Colgate 52-46 in 2008 and No. 2 Holy Cross 73-57 in 2009. American lost League title games in three straight seasons from 2002-04, falling on the road as the No. 2 seed twice and at home as the No. 1 seed once.

Terriers Aim to Match School-Record Win Total
Boston University is just one win away from its first conference title since claiming the America East crown in 2011, and that victory would also match the school record for wins set in a 25-5 season where the Terriers won the America East regular-season and Tournament title and made the NCAA Tournament in 1996-97. BU also won conference titles in 1983, 1988, 1990 and 2002. If the Terriers do not win the Patriot League Tournament, they are guaranteed to appear in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) as the regular-season Patriot League champion.

Record-Setting Patriot League Tournament Debut for BU
Boston University has set Patriot League Tournament records in each of its first two games in the event. The Terriers had the largest margin of victory in the quarterfinals and best field-goal percentage in the history of the Tournament when they shot 66.1% in a 91-54 win over Lafayette on Wednesday. It was an individual record on Saturday when Maurice Watson Jr. had 17 assists in the win over Army to shatter the previous Patriot League Tournament mark of 12 and also set a school record and NCAA high for the season. BU has won its first two games by a combined 58 points, and would have the largest Tournament margin with a win. The Terriers are the third team to score 90 points or more twice in the League tourney, and first since Navy in 1994. BU is just the second team to win its first two tournament games by 20 points or more, joining Bucknell (2012). No team has scored 90 or more in all three Tournament games or won three contests by 20 or more.

First-Team Honorees Leading the Way
BU and American each placed one player on the first-team All-Patriot League squad, and each is excelling in the League Tournament. Watson has 31 points and 25 assists for the Terriers, well on his way to breaking the League Tournament record of 30 assists. The sophomore has set the Patriot League single-season record with 231 assists for the year. Wroblicky has totaled 23 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists in three games, and the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year has helped the Eagles become the first team since 2007 to hold their first two Tournament opponents to 50 points or less.

All-League, Major Awards Announced
American had a pair of major award winners last week as senior center Tony Wroblicky became the first Eagle to be named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and Mike Brennan earned the Patriot League Coach of the Year honor in his first season. The Eagles grabbed a third major award winner Tuesday when Jesse Reed was named the Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Bucknell senior guard Cameron Ayers was named Patriot League Player of the Year, while Lehigh freshman forward/center Tim Kempton claimed the Patriot League Rookie of the Year award. More on the major award winners is included in page eight of the release, with the full All-Patriot League and Academic All-Patriot League Teams on page four.

Patriot League Men's Basketball Championship

No. 2 American Eagles (19-12, 13-5) at No. 1 Boston Univ. Terriers (24-9, 15-3)
Agganis Arena; Boston, Mass. - Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network Radio: Westwood One
*The top two seeds in the Patriot League play for the League title when American visits Boston University on Wednesday.
*The 7:30 p.m. contest can be seen on CBS Sports Network with Jason Knapp and Chris Spatola calling the action.
*The game can also be heard nationwide through Westwood One with Scott Graham and Kyle Macy on the call.
*It is the third straight and 16th overall championship meeting between the top two seeds.
*The No. 1 seed has a 9-5 advantage against No. 2, with co-No. 1s squaring off in 2000 when Navy faced Lafayette.
*The No. 1 seed has made every Patriot League Championship and won the title in 18 of 23 seasons.
*The No. 2 seed has won the remaining five League titles in its 14 appearances.
*Home teams have a 17-5 advantage in League title games, with seven wins in the past eight seasons.
*American is making its sixth Patriot League title game appearance, and first since winning back-to-back in 2008 and 2009.
*The Eagles won as the No. 1 seed both times, beating No. 3 Colgate 52-46 in 2008 and No. 2 Holy Cross 73-57 in 2009.
*American lost League title games in three straight seasons from 2002-04, falling on the road as the No. 2 seed twice.
*American is the first team to hold consecutive opponents to 50 points or less in the Tournament since Bucknell (2007).
*Boston University joins American from 2002 in making the championship game in its first season in the Patriot League.
*The Terriers are trying to win their first conference title since claiming the America East crown in 2011.
*BU also won conference titles in 1983, 1988, 1990, 1997 and 2002.
*BU has won its first two games by a combined 58 points, and would have the largest Tournament margin with a win.
*The Terriers are the third team to score 90 points or more twice in the League tourney, and first since Navy in 1994.
*BU is just the second team to win its first two tournament games by 20 points or more, joining Bucknell (2012).
*BU's 24 wins are its highest total since claiming a school-record 25 victories and making the NCAA Tournament in 1996-97.
*The teams split the matchups this year, with American winning 86-56 at home on Jan. 22 and BU 71-62 at home on Feb. 19.
*The Eagles shot 71.4% from the field in their victory, which is the third-highest percentage in Division I this season.
*BU had a 19-4 run spanning the halves in the second meeting to earn the win and take control of the League race.
*The Terriers have a slim 3-2 lead in the all-time series with the Eagles.

AMERICAN Trailing by 10 points with 16 minutes to play, American dug in on defense and only allowed seven points the rest of the way to pull out a 57-46 win over Holy Cross in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals on Saturday at Bender Arena...Holy Cross pulled into a 39-29 lead before American started its game-closing 28-7 run by scoring eight straight points to trim the gap to 39-37 with 11:12 to go...After a Holy Cross basket, American scored 12 consecutive points to turn it into a 20-2 stretch and grab a 49-41 lead with 3:16 to play...The Crusaders had only one field goal in more than 14 minutes of playing time during American's 20-2 stretch...The lead never dipped below six from there as the Eagles went on to the 57-46 win...Jesse Reed led American with 18 points, while Darius Gardner and Kyle Kager each added 10...Reed, Gardner, Tony Wroblicky and John Schoof each played all 40 minutes for the Eagles...The Eagles held Holy Cross to 38.0% and only turned it over seven times...The Eagles had lost their last three semifinal appearances from 2010-12, and improved to 6-6 in the semifinal round.

BOSTON UNIVERSITY Maurice Watson Jr. had a record-setting night to lead top-seed Boston University into the Patriot League title game with a 91-70 win over fifth-seed Army on Saturday at Agganis Arena...Watson had 17 assists, setting a school record and shattering the previous Patriot League Tournament high of 12 while also establishing the top mark in a Division I game this season...Watson had 11 assists in the second half alone as BU blew the game open by making 21-of-31 field goals and scoring 52 points...BU took a slim 39-35 lead into the break, and saw Army tie the score in the early minutes of the second half...The Terriers pulled back ahead, but the game stayed tight with BU leading 55-50 with just over 11 minutes to play...The Terriers put the game away with a 31-12 run that stretched the lead to 86-62 with three minutes left...Five Terriers scored in double figures, led by D.J. Irving with 20...Dom Morris scored 16 points, Malik Thomas had 15, John Papale tallied 12 and Watson finished with 10...Watson led the Terriers to a 22-assist night with just nine turnovers overall, and personally had just one turnover to go with his 17 assists...BU shot 37-of-63 (58.7%) for the game, with the same amount of field goals and points as their 37-point win over Lafayette in the quarterfinals on Wednesday...The No. 1 seed has advanced to the Patriot League Championship in all 24 seasons of the League Tournament.