American routs Holy Cross, punches ticket to the Big Dance
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Garrison Carr provided 24 points, and the top-seeded American Eagles defeated second-seeded Holy Cross, 73-57, to claim their second consecutive Patriot League title and punch their ticket to the Big Dance.
Carr went 6-of-8 from three-point range, while Brian Gilmore added 18 points for the Eagles (24-7), who will appear in only their second-ever NCAA Tournament. Derrick Mercer contributed 13 points in the victory.
American shot 52.3 percent from the field in its 13th straight victory, not having lost since a 71-62 setback to Holy Cross on January 24. The Crusaders shot only 31.7 percent, including just four field goals in the first half.
R.J. Evans paced Holy Cross (18-14) with 16 points. Pat Doherty had 13 points, while Eric Meister recorded 12 points and 13 boards in the defeat, the Crusaders' first in five contests.
Trailing 9-8 early, American scored nine straight points, capped by Gilmore's dunk, to take a 17-9 lead with 7 1/2 minutes until halftime.
Bryce Simon's three-pointer with 2:46 on the clock extended the advantage to 10, and the Eagles led, 28-18, at the break.
Carr's three-pointer two minutes into the second half quickly upped American's lead to 15, 35-20, and Gilmore's two free throws made it a 20-point game five minutes into the period.
The lead remained in double-digits for the remainder of the contest, as the Eagles took home the Patriot League title.
Prior to 2008, American's last appearance in an NCAA tourney was as a Division II school in 1960...The Eagles joined the Patriot League and improved to 2-3 all-time in conference tournament finals, losing in 2002, 2003 and 2004...American finished the season 13-1 at home, while Holy Cross fell to 6-10 on the road...The Crusaders still lead the all-time series, 15-7.
03/13 19:49:42 ET