American tops Lafayette for first regular-season title since ’06
WASHINGTON (AP)—Bryce Simon scored 19 points to lead five players in double figures as American beat Lafayette 84-72 on Saturday and clinched its first outright Patriot League regular-season title in six years.
Students rushed the floor after the win, which coupled with Navy’s 73-62 loss to Colgate on Saturday guaranteed American (18-11, 10-4) homecourt advantage throughout the conference tournament.
The Eagles’ first-place bid was put in jeopardy when they lost to Navy 83-68 on Wednesday, giving the Midshipmen the edge in case of a tiebreaker, but Saturday’s results sent Navy to second.
American led 33-24 at halftime, then went nearly five minutes without a field goal while Lafayette (15-14, 6-8) went on an 8-0 run and tied the game at 49 after Everest Schmidt’s right-handed jam with just under 11 minutes left.
But American jumped ahead with a 15-0 run to take its largest lead of the game at 64-49 with less than six minutes left. Simon made back-to-back 3-pointers, and Brian Gilmore completed a three-point play to key the surge.
Gilmore and Derrick Mercer each scored 16 points, Garrison Carr had 13 and Travis Lay added 11 for American, which matched its highest win total since the 2003-04 season and will host a quarterfinal game Wednesday.
Bilal Abdullah scored 23 and Matt Betley had 21 for Lafayette, which has dropped eight of its last 10 after a 4-0 conference start.