WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — No team had been able to take down Colgate this season in the Patriot League until Saturday. In January, American University men’s basketball came close, falling at Colgate, 62-61.
In a very similar game Saturday, the Eagles held on to beat the Raiders this time, 61-60, handing Colgate its first conference loss of the season.
“We can beat that teams that we’re supposed to beat, you know any team can be beat and we can just handle our business,” junior guard Colin Smalls said. “And looking at bigger picture it doesn’t really mean anything. You know it’s still regular season but we want to get to the Patriot League tournament, we want to ultimately conquer our goal and win the Patriot League championship.”
Making 8-of-13 field goals attempted, Smalls led all scorers with 17 points. At halftime, American trailed 35-31 and trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half, before going on an 18-0 run to catapult themselves into the lead.
“We really locked in on getting stops and that’s what you’ve got to do against good teams,” junior forward Matt Rogers said. “We held them to like 25 points in the second half. Defense is like our main goal and then the offense will come because we know we can score.”
In a game where American didn’t play its best first half according to head coach Mike Brennan and trailed by double digits late, they still managed to beat the top team standings-wise in the conference.
“We threw the ball away 13 times in the first half, so you should be upset about that and try do something about it,” Brennan said. “But you did that and you’re still able to win, so it tells you that there’s a lot more in this group that we can out of them from pretty much everybody.”
At the end of Saturday night, American (7-5 Patriot, 15-8 overall) sits at third place in the conference, tied with Army. Two games behind second place Lehigh and four behind Colgate. American has six games left in the regular season. They will visit Boston University on Wednesday. If the season ended Saturday, the Eagles would host in the first round of the Patriot League tournament.