- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 7, 2012

One long run ensured American would leave Bender Arena with one impressive victory.

It also illustrated just how the Eagles can secure even more wins deeper in conference play.

American routed Colgate 82-54, collecting a victory in its Patriot League opener with the assistance of an 18-0 run to close out the first half.

“It makes it easy on offense when you’re coming down and facing an unsettled situation and an unsettled defense,” coach Jeff Jones said. “We were getting stops, and guys were making shots.”

Charles Hinkle scored 21 points for American (10-6, 1-0), while John Schoof added a career-best 18 points.

Guard Troy Brewer sat with a sprained ankle, and Jones said he would be “very conservative, very cautious” with the injury.

He wasn’t needed Saturday as the Eagles spread around the offense among several players against the listless Raiders (5-10, 0-1), who struggled mightily on defense while yielding 1.32 points per possession on American’s 62 trips down the court.

“It can’t be the Charles Hinkle Show,” Jones said. “If we try that, it isn’t going to work. Getting other guys to contribute is really key because we’re not really sure when we’re going to get Troy back, and until then we have to find a way to manufacture points. Today, we could do it.”

Hinkle pressed a bit early, and the Eagles weren’t initially sharp on offense as Colgate hung around. But the Eagles opened up a double-digit lead midway through the first half before the Raiders stabilized things.

Not for long, though, in large part because Colgate was rarely granted the chance at putbacks throughout the first half.

“We were playing real good on defense, and I think the biggest thing was we were getting stops and finishing,” Hinkle said. “We were rebounding the ball and holding them to one shot.”

Eventually, the Eagles’ offense complemented their defensive prowess. American scored on nine of its last 11 trips before halftime, securing a 44-19 edge that eventually ballooned to 30 points after the break.

“My big thing that I’ve kept saying is, ‘Forty minutes, 40 minutes, 40 minutes,’” Jones said. “We didn’t get 40 minutes today, but we probably got about as close as we have this year.”

Five other thoughts from the Eagles’ Patriot League opener …

* Schoof scores … Without Brewer, the Eagles received an offensive burst from Schoof, a noteworthy development since the freshman guard hadn’t scored in the last three games.

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