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Saturday, March 9, 2024
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Terriers walk Eagles at home

Free throw failures lead to American’s demise

American University men’s basketball (14-14) lost to Boston University (12-16) 67-52 for the second time this season Feb. 21 at Bender Arena. 

Following a loss against Lafayette at home, the Eagles sought to spark a winning streak and improve their Patriot League standings to a winning record. As the end of the season grows closer, remaining at the top of the conference is crucial going into the championship tournament season. A higher seed guarantees a bye round right into the quarterfinals for the Eagles. 

The game began with senior forward Matt Rogers winning the tip-off for the Eagles, but the ball found itself in the Terriers’ paws. Boston’s third-ranked conference defense clashed with American’s third-ranked conference offense, leaving the first three minutes of play scoreless. 

The Terriers put the first points on the board with a layup, followed by a turnover from AU junior guard Elijah Stephens. Boston capitalized on American’s mistake, putting in another layup. The first five minutes of the half were scoreless for the Eagles until senior guard Lorenzo Donadio hit American’s first points of the night with a jumper. 

Following a 7-0 run, the Terriers were up 9-2. Freshman forward Matt Mayock successfully landed a shot from outside the paint to put the Eagles back on the board, but Boston responded with a 3-pointer of their own. The Terriers found themselves putting up 10 unanswered points, leaving the Eagles down 14 with under nine minutes remaining in the half. 

American struggled with free throws throughout the game. Following Boston’s 10-0 run, the Eagles were awarded three free throws. Donadio missed one of one, while sophomore guard Adrian Samuels made only one of two from the foul line. The Terriers boasted their offensive talent, sinking two free throws preceding the Eagles’ shortcomings. With a 17-point lead, the Terriers’ defense had a muzzle on the Eagles’ conference-renowned offense. 

An offensive showing by Mayock, Stephens and freshman forward Greg Jones cut the Terriers’ lead down to only nine points, while Mayock and Jones both recorded a steal to end the half. Donadio concluded the half with a free throw, leaving the Eagles down 26-18 at the buzzer. 

The Terriers began the second half with a 3-pointer, once again increasing their lead to over 10 points. Senior guard Lincoln Ball put in a layup and a free throw to decrease Boston’s lead, immediately followed by another layup from Rogers. Whilst the Terriers retaliated with another 3-pointer, the Eagles did not let up. Stephens and Donadio each sank one from the field, bringing American down to only five points. 

Despite the Eagles’ best efforts, the Terriers put up 12 points in a matter of four minutes, while Stephens scored American’s only point in the meantime. Rogers made a free throw while Jones scored another layup for the Eagles, but Boston grabbed a fastbreak followed by a slam-dunk putting the Terriers up 16 points.  

Mayock hit back-to-back shots from outside the paint, but Boston’s shooting continued to keep them in the lead. American struggled to land free throws, further helping the Terriers keep their lead. Rogers missed a free throw while Boston buried two more jumpers and two free throws, increasing the gap to 16 points. 

Ball, Jones and senior guard Chris Gleaton continued to put up shots as the game came to a close, yet the Terriers continued to get things to fall from the field. At the close of the game, the Eagles fell to the Terriers 67-52. 

Head coach Duane Simpkins attributed the loss largely to mentality. “We didn't play with toughness. They were tougher than we were, they were more together than we were,” Simpkins said. “Our preparation obviously was not to the level that we needed it to be. There's no excuse for it.” 

The Eagles play their final home game of the regular season on March 2, where they will face Navy for a second time. 

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

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