Eagles Soar, But Will They Score?

AU could be lone DC-area Tourney rep

Most college basketball teams get blown out when they go 11 minutes of gametime without scoring a point. When that happens to American University, they still beat you. Just ask Holy Cross.

It's performances like that one which has AU on the verge of its second straight NCAA Tournament bid. This from a school that, prior to last season, had never even been to the Big Dance.

The Eagles will host the Patriot League Tournament next week as the regular season champions for the second straight year, and it is defense that makes the difference for this team.

Back to that Holy Cross game. After scoring no points for 11 minutes, AU still only trailed by 4. In their next game against Navy, when the Midshippmen built a three-point lead with four minutes to go, AU shut the Mids down on six of their next seven possessions. Game, set, match.

This team is made up of seven seniors, so when this season ends, look out. But for now, Jeff Jones has ridden his veteran leadership to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time at AU since the early 80s. About the same time Jones developed the cough he's been saddled with all season.

Maryland could get in after playing Duke close. By the way, Gary Williams got his coaching start at American. Georgetown is finished with a losing Big East record. George Mason is a year away from creating another March miracle.

One team, one hope. It could be a mundane March this year unless you can fly like an Eagle.

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