American survived its brutal nonconference schedule — 10 of its first 14 games were on the road — to emerge with a winning record for the third year in a row. With a nod toward German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, Eagles Coach Jeff Jones hopes that which hasn't killed his team makes it stronger as it heads into the Patriot League season.
“We’re getting there,” Jones said. “There’s certainly some positives that we can point to and feel good about, but I think it’s pretty apparent that we’ve got a lot of things that we still are kind of searching for answers [to].”
Jones hopes he can find those answers sooner rather than later. For the fifth year in a row, American (8-6) opens the league season against Lehigh (10-4) on Saturday. Tipoff is at 2 p.m. at Bender Arena. The Mountain Hawks were picked to finish second in the preseason poll behind the Eagles and represent the team most likely to prevent American from defending its league title.
Senior guard Garrison Carr, the reigning Patriot League player of the week, continues to lead the Eagles, who are riding a three-game winning streak. Carr sank seven three-pointers in American’s win over Columbia on Monday to move into the Patriot League career three-point field goal top 10 list. He has made 51 three-pointers this season and ranks second in the league in scoring (18.4 ppg).
Lehigh, which is coming off a 73-64 loss to Princeton, has the second-best scoring offense in the league behind Navy. The Mountain Hawks average 69.1 points per game. Junior guard Marquis Hall, who leads the team in scoring (14.4 ppg) and assists (4.7 per game), played a big role in Lehigh’s 76-71 upset at Rutgers on Nov. 26. Hall scored 28 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to earn the Mountain Hawks their first victory over a Big East school since they joined the Patriot League.
January 9, 2009; 5:58 AM ET
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