American University (19-12) at Boston University (24-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 12, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Agganis Arena (7,200) -- Boston, Massachusetts. Television: CBS Sports Network. Home Record: American 11-3, Boston University 11-4. Away Record: American 8-9, Boston University 11-4. Neutral Record: American 0-0, Boston University 2-1. Conference Record: American 13-5, Boston University 15-3. Series Record: Boston University leads, 3-2.
GAME NOTES: The Patriot League title and the automatic NCAA Tournament bid that accompanies it will be on the line as the second-seeded American University Eagles take on the top-seeded Boston University Terriers at Agganis Arena on Wednesday evening.
American defeated Colgate in the quarterfinal round, then downed Holy Cross, 57-46, in Saturday's Patriot League semifinal contest to earn a spot in the league title match. The Eagles have won four of their last five games overall.
In the program's first season as a member of the Patriot League, Boston University ran through the conference competition, including two dominant postseason performances. The Terriers defeated Lafayette in the quarterfinals, 91-54, and then Army, 91-70, to earn their spot in the title game. BU has won nine of its last 10 games altogether.
Boston University leads the short all-time series with American University, 3-2. The teams played twice this regular season, with each program winning on its home court.
Holy Cross actually led American at the end of the first half, 28-22, in the semifinal round of the Patriot League on Saturday. But the Eagles woke up in the second frame, holding Holy Cross to 28 percent shooting in the period, including just 3-of-13 from 3-point distance, while the Eagles themselves netted 52.4 percent of their field goal attempts. American outscored the Crusaders, 35-18, for the comeback win. Jesse Reed netted 18 points, including 14 in the second half, to pace the Eagles, while Kyle Kager and Darius Gardner each added 10 points in the win. Tony Wroblicky chipped in nine points and a team-high seven assists for American.
Reed leads the team in scoring with a 14.1 ppg average, connecting on 51.4 percent of his field goal attempts. The sophomore boasts a well-rounded stat line with 4.4 rpg, 1.7 apg and 1.2 spg, all in 35 minutes per outing. Wroblicky checks in behind Reed in the scoring category, netting 12.1 ppg. Then it's John Schoof at 11.7 ppg, and in fourth on the team is Gardner with 11.3 ppg. Gardner is the team's leader in assists (4.2 apg) and steals (2.2 spg). Wroblicky leads the team in rebounding with a 7.3 rpg average, and adds a team-best 1.9 bpg. The Eagles score an average of 64.2 ppg, and give up an impressively low 59.4 ppg to opponents.
Boston University led by just four points at the end of the first half in Saturday's semifinal matchup against Army, 39-35. The Terriers exploded offensively in the second frame, netting 67.7 percent of their field-goal tries to absolutely blow past the Black Knights for the 21-point win. D.J. Irving led all BU scorers with 20 points in the win, while Dom Morris chipped in 16 on 7-of-8 shooting, Malik Thomas contributed 16 with seven rebounds, and John Papale netted 14. Maurice Watson Jr. tallied a double-double for the Terriers with 10 points and an impressive 17 assists, adding two steals.
Watson has been a production machine for the Terriers all season long, serving as the court general and the team's leading scorer. Watson nets 13.5 ppg to lead Boston University, adding an incredible 231 assists to his season resume with 71 steals and a 50.3 percent shooting touch from the floor. Irving is right behind Watson with 12.5 ppg, and Morris rounds out the double-digit BU scorers with 11.2 ppg, adding a team-leading 6.2 rpg. Boston University's offense is balanced with six players averaging more than six points per outing. The Terriers score 72.5 ppg as a unit, and give up just 67.4 ppg to opponents.
The Patriot League title game promises to be intriguing, especially considering these teams split the regular season series. Boston University has come in and blown all Patriot League competition away, having outscored Lafayette and Army by a combined 182-124 in the team's first two outings of the Patriot Tournament. At home, the Terriers will be clicking on all cylinders and should have a huge advantage to return to the Big Dance.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boston University 79, American University 70
03/12 10:34:54 ET