American Is Tested Against VMI But Extends Their Winning Streak to Eight
By: Ethan Hennessy
American entered Tuesday night’s contest tied for the 15th longest current winning streak in the nation with seven wins. Among those victories were wins over crosstown high major rivals Georgetown and George Washington at Capital One Arena and the Smith Center respectively.
Elijah Stevens got the Eagles going early hitting top of the key threes on their first two possessions. Hustle plays propelled the Eagles to a five point advantage at the under 12 media timeout. AU players were hustling on the offensive glass tapping out balls and leaping to save the rock when it looked like is was going out of bounds. This extra effort created wide open three point opportunities for their shooters to knock down. American took a six point lead into the break.
In the second half Matt Rogers continued the scoring momentum he established towards the end of the first half contributing seven points in the first four and a half minutes of the half. American extended its lead out to 14 in that time span. Earlier in the first half Rogers was getting visibly frustrated. He told me after the game he was frustrated because the defense wasn’t really showing him pressure, and he wanted to get the ball inside but the team wasn’t doing that. VMI switched to a zone defense to try to counteract the Eagles offense, and it worked preventing AU from scoring for nearly five minutes. During this drought the Keydets slowly chipped away at the lead getting it down to two possessions. Mike Brennan said in hindsight he probably should have called a time out sooner.
American struggled to put the Keydets away down the stretch. It wasn’t until the final minute and change that the lead was large enough to comfortably call it a win for AU. Even then VMI kept the press on until the final horn. American posted a final score of 69-61 extending the winning streak to eight. Matt Rogers said the moral of the team is good and they are up right now.
The road ahead for VMI doesn’t get any easier as they travel to Rose Hill Gymnasium to face Division One’s winningest team the Fordham Rams on December 22nd. American continues the homestand welcoming Siena to Bender Arena also on the 22nd.
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