Foul trouble has plagued American so far this afternoon, as three senior starters (Brian Gilmore, Frank Borden and Jordan Nichols) each have two personals. Still, AU has managed to build a 10-point lead over Holy Cross thanks to sniper Garrison Carr and some horrific shooting by the Crusaders.
Carr hit a couple big 3-pointers, setting up his own shot off the dribble and effectively using a screen from backcourt mate Derrick Mercer. Carr leads all scorers with eight points.
But the real number of this game is 18.2 — as in 18.2 percent shooting for Holy Cross. The Crusaders are 4-for-22 from the floor, and many of the misses are from in close. If not for six offensive rebounds, Holy Cross wouldn’t even be within reach.
Mercer has continued the shooting slump he started in the semifinals against Army, going 1-for-9 in the first half. But his three assists show exactly what he means to this team — his ability to orchestrate the offense.
Gilmore thrilled the Bender Arena crowd with 7:19 left by driving and dunking, but he apparently taunted an opponent and was assessed a technical. If this game comes down to one or two points, it could turn out to be a crucial juncture in the game. But after those Holy Cross free throws, AU outscored the Crusaders 17-11 the rest of the half.