Wagner 64, American 58 Nov 30, 2018 22:48:39 GMT -5
Post by notjuanjones on Nov 30, 2018 22:48:39 GMT -5
No loss is good, especially at home to a team that came in with just one D1 win and was ranked significantly lower than we were coming in. But this could be helpful to us down the road.
Like I feared, Wagner kept playing hard, as a team with a bunch of seniors on it tends to do. So even though AU had the lead most of the night, and led by eight for large stretches of the second half, the Seahawks kept coming. They played very hard, like most PL teams are going to do in conference play. And, of course, a team that came into the game shooting 29 percent on threes made 5 of 14 (37 percent) against us, including three in the second half, and two down the stretch, that brought Wagner close and then put them ahead. And, a team that shot 66 percent from the line coming in made 19 of 22--86 percent--against us, while we were just 20 of 30 from the line and 4 of 16 on threes.
So, even though AU scored the last seven points of the first half to break a tie and go up 27-20 at intermission, you never felt like the Eagles had control. Even though we kept Wagner at bay for long stretches of the second half, keeping the lead between six and eight, Wagner kept coming. They never gave up. Mark's free throw with 11:30 left gave AU its largest lead of the night, 42-33. Wagner responded, with Chase Freeman making one of two from the line, followed by big man A.J. Sumbry splitting two. He missed the second, but Wagner's Romone Saunders grabbed the offensive board, and Freeman knocked down a big three on the extra possession with 10:27 left, drawing Wagner within 42-38. And we could never regain the edge in play from there.
We pushed the lead back to 46-41 on a Stacy layup off a great lead pass by Sa'eed with 8:56 to go. But from there, we went into the freezer on offense. We didn't make a field goal for more than seven minutes, and we had a bunch of good looks. Meanwhile, Elijah Davis stepped into another three for the Seahawks to bring Wagner back within two at 8:29, and Wagner finally tied it at 46 on a Sumbry post-up. Marvin gave us the lead temporarily with two free throws, but Saunders re-tied it at 48 on a drive. Mark, who battled inside all game and got his hands on a lot of balls, made two free throws with 4:42 to to go, and after Davis split two from the foul line for Wagner, Mark did the same for us with 4:01 left, giving us a 51-49 edge.
Freeman, though, tied it at 3:46 with two free throws. Marvin was whistled for an offensive foul at the other end, and Saunders found Nigel Jackson on the right wing for yet another triple with three minutes to go, giving Wagner the lead for the first time since the first half. Mark split two more free throws, and we finally got a stop, leading to Sam's baseline jumper with 1:49 left to tie it again, at 54. Freeman was called for traveling, and we had two great looks to take the lead. But Mark missed a hook, and Stacy got caught under the basket as he followed up the miss; his putback hit the bottom of the rim. Wagner got the rebound, and Freeman, who battled Sa'eed all night at the point, came off a curl and drove for the go-ahead bucket with 59 seconds remaining. AU called time, and Mike drew up an action that got Sam a wide-open, unencumbered corner three.
He missed it.
That's basketball. You make it, or you miss it. Sam made it against UMBC, but he didn't against Wagner. I'll go with Sam getting that look a hundred times out of a hundred.
After the miss, though, Marvin made a mistake, in my opinion. There were 40 seconds left. We could have played defense, gotten a stop, gotten a rebound and tried to tie the game or win it while not letting Wagner get set. But Marvin fouled Freeman immediately, and Freeman made both from the line with 39 seconds remaining to put Wagner up 58-54. Sa'eed fouled Sumbry out at 32 seconds on a drive, but made just one of two from the line. Stacy fouled Davis, who again made two of two at the line for a 60-55 Wagner lead with 30 seconds to go. Sa'eed made a deep three with 22 seconds left to make it a two-point game, but Freeman knocked in two more from the line to go 7 of 8 for the night, and put the Seahawks up four. Sa'eed missed one last three and that was that.
Saunders led Wagner with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Freeman, who hadn't attempted a free throw all season coming into the game, made seven of eight from the line en route to his 12 points. Sa'eed again led the way for AU with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Sam was the only other player in double figures with 10.
We didn't play well. Thought we played hard. But so did they. And they won the last four minutes on the road, just like we did at UMBC. Tough when you're at the other end. I can hope that we'll use this for fuel the rest of the OOC schedule and into conference play. Every game can be tough if you don't put a team away.
On to St. Francis!