- The Washington Times - Monday, March 10, 2003

The smallest man on the basketball court made sure American University will have another chance to make program history.
Glenn Stokes, a 5-foot-7 senior from Silver Spring, provided the long-range daggers as the Eagles defeated Lafayette 74-55 last night in the semifinals of the Patriot League tournament at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. American, the No.2 seed, will face top-seeded Holy Cross on Friday for the conference championship, and a chance to go to the NCAA tournament for the first time.
Stokes scored 26 points to lead American, which shot 53 percent and wore down the Leopards. American (16-13), in just its second year in the league, earned a trip to its second straight title game.
"For some reason, my guys were setting picks and I was getting open looks," said Stokes, who had 16 points in the first half when the Eagles opened a 20-point lead. "I was getting open looks. It wasn't anything special."
As regular-season champions, Holy Cross, which defeated American for the title last year, will play host to the championship. The Crusaders defeated No.5 Bucknell 75-50 in the other semifinal. The championship game will be televised on ESPN at 4p.m. from Worcester, Mass.
"That was our drive all season," said AU guard Steven Miles, who struggled and finished with 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting. "We were so close last year and had that taste [of winning] in our mouths. We want to overcome that."
Last season in the title game Holy Cross upset top seed American 58-54 at Bender Arena. The teams split their meetings this season, each winning at home. American handed the Crusaders their only conference loss of the season, a 72-49 dusting on Jan.26, while Holy Cross escaped with a 68-66 victory on Feb.21.
Stokes, a graduate of Einstein High School in Kensington who spent his first two seasons at Tallahassee (Fla.) Community College, heated up and made four of five 3-pointers. The Eagles made seven of 16 (44 percent) overall from beyond the arc and built a 44-24 halftime advantage. Lafayette (13-16) wilted under the Eagles' defensive pressure and missed countless close-range attempts while shooting just 36 percent.
The Eagles opened up in a full-court press and Jernavis Draughn (13 points) broke a 5-5 tie with an inside basket as part of a 13-2 run. Raimondas Petrauskas scored the final six points of the stretch for American on second-chance field goals. A put-back by the 6-7 Lithuanian gave American an 18-7 lead.
"We got off to a poor start, got ourselves in a hole and never came out of it," said Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon, whose team upset No.3 Colgate in the quarterfinals..
Rob Dill led the Leopards with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Teammate Justin DeBerry, who came in as the league's second leading scorer (16.3), was held to four points and no field goals.
The Eagles finished the first half on a 15-2 run to take their 20-point advantage into the locker room. Stokes started the stretch with a pair of 3-pointers. After a Lafayette basket made it 35-24, American scored nine straight on two 3-pointers from Stokes and one by Demek Adams to take command.
"The real key for us was coming out with energy and intensity to start the game," said third-year American coach Jeff Jones. "The stretch we had in the last six or seven minutes of the first half gave us a good cushion."

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