American University sophomore forward Patrick Doctor may have had his worst game of the season yesterday against Jacksonville. Luckily for the Eagles, he also had his biggest moment.
Doctor rebounded his own missed layup attempt and banked a basket with three seconds remaining to give American a 61-59 victory over Jacksonville before 3,761 at Bender Arena. Doctor, who is from Gwynn Park High, had 11 points to lead American (5-2), which is enjoying its best start in 10 seasons.
"He came through for us," American Coach Art Perry said of Doctor. "He didn't have a good game. But he certainly made two of the biggest points of his career."
After entering the game averaging a team-best 15.2 points per game, Doctor made only 5 of 16 field goal attempts and 1 of 3 free throws.
And his winning play was as imperfect as the game was for him and his team. Jacksonville (2-4) tied the score at 59 after rallying from a four-point deficit, and the Eagles called a timeout with 13 seconds left.
Eagles junior guard Dejuan Goodwin dribbled to the right side and found himself open a few feet from the basket. He leaped, but when two Jacksonville defenders moved toward him he passed inside to Doctor.
"I thought it was a shot, but [Goodwin] said it was a pass," Perry said.
Doctor's first shot banked off the rim, but rolled right back to him, and this time he converted.
"When I missed it, I was thinking that was the end of it, we were going to overtime," Doctor said. "But then it just came back to me."
American had to rally twice in the second half against Jacksonville, which was led by senior forward Calvin Slaughter's 17 points and eight rebounds. American also had to rally at the start of the game from a 12-3 deficit, as the Eagles began by missing nine of their first 10 shots and committing six turnovers.
The Eagles got a lift from their reserves, who accounted for 30 points. Junior guard Ronald Hearns contributed nine points, including a key sequence in the second half when he made a three-pointer, then stole the inbounds and converted a free throw to give American a 55-53 lead.
Another reserve, sophomore forward Keith Gray, had a key three-point play to put American up, 59-55, with two minutes to play.
"We've only been able to put together good basketball in spurts, five, six, seven minutes at a time," Perry said. "When you want to be good, you have to put together consistently good games."
LIBERTY 62, VIRGINIA TECH 61: Carl Williams scored 22 points, including his team's last five, and the visiting Flames held on when Tony Dobbins (Maret) missed two free throws with 50 seconds remaining.
Liberty (6-1) has beaten three state teams this season, also having knocked off James Madison and Richmond. The Hokies (4-3) lost their second straight close game at home to an instate rival. Radford beat them 62-60 Thursday.
Williams made a three-pointer with 3 minutes 57 seconds to play to give the Flames a 60-56 lead, then added two free throws with 1:58 left to give Liberty a 62-58 lead.
RIDER 78, GEORGE MASON 69: Michael Crawford scored 21 points, including six free throws in the final 15 seconds, for the Broncs in the Conference Challenge at UMBC.
Mario Porter scored 20 points for Rider, which improved to 4-3. Porter, named the game's outstanding player, also had eight rebounds.
BOWIE STATE 63, KUTZTOWN 54: Sophomore guard Jamal Shivers (Friendly) scored 19 points to lead the visiting Bulldogs to their first victory.