March 5, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- American forward Brian Gilmore converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 18 seconds remaining, to lift the Eagles to a 62-60 victory over the Holy Cross men's basketball team at Bender Arena in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Patriot League Tournament. Senior center Tim Clifford (Walpole, Mass.) recorded 23 points and six rebounds to lead the Crusaders, while junior forward Colin Cunningham (Memphis, Tenn.) scored a career-high 20 points.
Holy Cross scored the first five points of the game, on its way to an 18-9 lead after 10 minutes of play. After American cut the lead down to five points, the Crusaders used a 6-0 spurt to go up by 11 (26-15) with 4:28 left in the half. But the Eagles then closed out the half with a 7-2 run, to trail by just six points (28-22) at the break.
American hit a pair of three-pointers on its first two possessions of the second half to tie the game at 28-28, and the score remained close the rest of the way. Holy Cross was up by five points (50-45) with 6:31 left to play, before two more three-pointers gave the Eagles their first lead of the night, 51-50 with 5:51 remaining. There would then be three ties and five lead changes down the stretch, before Cunningham hit a pair of free throws with 1:19 on the clock to give the Crusaders a 60-59 lead. But Gilmore's three-point play in the closing minute would conclude the scoring, giving American the victory.
The Crusaders end their season with an overall record of 15-14, while American improves to 19-11, and will face Army in the Patriot League semifinals on Sunday, March 9.