Game #16 • American (4-11, 1-3 PL) at Boston U. (9-7, 4-0 PL)
Wed, Jan. 11, 2017 • 7 p.m. • Boston, Mass. • Case Gym (1,800)
All-Time Record: Boston U., 7-4
Last Meeting: American 69, Boston U. 64 — March 3, 2016
Stream: PLN (Boston U.) — Doug Brown (PXP), Brian Mauer (Color)
American Game Notes
Boston U. Game Notes
WASHINGTON — American is looking to snap a two-game skid on the road when they travel to Boston U. on Wednesday evening. The Eagles suffered a six-point loss to PL favorite Lehigh while the Terriers set a program record 18 three's in a win at Lafayette.
News, Notes, and Storylines
ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: Boston owns a 7-4 all-time record against the Eagles that dates back to the 1942-43 season. The two teams met in non-league play in back-to-back seasons during the 1997-98 and 1998-97 campaigns with BU winning both. Since joining the Patriot League, BU is 5-3 against the Eagles winning all five in league play. American won the first PL meeting, 86-56. The other two AU wins came during the Patriot League Tournament. American won the PL Championship in 2014, defeating BU on the road 55-36. Last season, AU picked up a PL Semifinal upset, 69-64 at Case Gym. American is 2-4 on the road and AU is 1-3 at Bender Arena. The contest from 1942-43 does not have a location.
BOSTON U. SCOUT: The Terriers are coming off a 91-75 win over Lafayette and set a program record with 18 three-point baskets. Cedric Hankerson led the team with 21 points and connected on 6-of-10 from the outside. Eric Fanning added 18 points and Tyler Scanlon had 12. Boston made more shots from the outside (18) than two-point baskets (13) and free throws (11). Fanning leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.8 points and is second in rebounds at 5.7 per game. Hankerson is second in scoring (12.1)after missing all of last season with an injury. His 45 made three's leads the team. Justin Alston is third in points (10.9), leads the squad in rebounds at 6.3 per night and is the only Terrier to start in all 16 games. Boston as a team has utilized 16 different players this season with all contributing on the scoresheet. The Terriers are averaging 75.6 points and reached the 90's three times. Boston has been held under AU's defensive average (69.5) four times.
WHAT IT WILL TAKE FOR AN AU WIN: American will need to bring the same amount of intensity it did in the PL semifinals in order to defeat the undefeated Terriers. A strong defensive push around the perimeter is also needed after the Terriers crushed 18 from beyond the arc at Lafayette. As a team, BU has taken 426 of its 951 shots from the outside. Sa'eed Nelson, Delante Jones and Charlie Jones will be the top three defenders on the exterior for American. Nelson will be an important part of the puzzle on the offensive side for AU. His 17.8 points per game in league play has qualified him as one of the toughest players to guard in the PL. Lonnie Rivera has come on strong lately for American. His 8.5 points per PL game has made him a reliable contributor for coach Brennan. If American wants to play from the outside, Jalen Rhea knocked down four triples in the semifinal match to lead the Eagles in scoring.
KEY MATCHUP: The top matchup for the contest will be Delante Jones and Eric Fanning. One leads his team in scoring (Fanning) while the other is playing the role of the Hitman (Jones). Jones will be tasked with stopping a heavy driver from the top of the key. Jones averaged 16 points against Boston last season with 14 points coming in the PL Semifinal win at Case Gym.
BREAKING DOWN THE LEHIGH LOSS• Despite trailing the entire contest, the American pushed Lehigh to the limit and fell 79-73 on Sunday afternoon at Stabler Arena. Sa'eed Nelson led the Eagles with 19 points and eight rebounds in 40 minutes. Delante Jones had 13 and Lonnie Rivera put up 11 in his first collegiate start. Tim Kempton had a career-best 36 points for Lehigh and added 11 rebounds. Kyle Leufroy had 16 points and Austin Price added 13. American trailed by as many as 14 early in the second half before cutting the deficit to a single possession with an 11-0 run in a span of 5:18 when Nelson made it 47-44 at 12:57. The Eagles kept the game within two possession until late when Lehigh regained a 10-point lead with 33 seconds left on a Kempton free throw. American shot 46 percent from the floor, 39 percent from the outside and made 14-of-20 from the line. Lehigh shot 57 percent from the floor and made 22-of-30 from the line.
NELSON AMONG NCAA LEADERS IN MINUTES: Sa'eed Nelson is second in the NCAA in minutes per game, averaging 38.20. Saint Bonaventure's Matt Mobley is first and has played three more minutes than Nelson. Mobley averages 38.32 minutes per game. Nelson is the only freshman in the top 40 in minutes played this season. The closest rookie is UCLA's Lorenzo Ball at 35:10. The closest patriot player to Nelson is Sean O'Brien from Colgate at 27th and Malachi Alexander from Holy Cross at 51st. Nelson leads the Patriot League in steals per game (2.40) and is third in points per game (16.7).
COMMON FOE: American and Boston U. shares New Hampshire as the lone non-conference opponent for the Eagles and Terriers. American lost to the Wildcats, 80-70, on Dec. 6 and Boston won 73-69 on Dec. 18.
TO THE BENCH AND BEYOND: The American bench has done wonders to show the growth and depth this season. Through 15 games, the AU bench is averaging 12.5 points and has reached double figures in nine games with the most production the overtime win at Colgate where they scored 28 of the 67 points. In three of the four wins this season, AU has gotten a solid contribution from Lonnie Rivera and Charlie Jones. Both have since moved into the starting lineup.
WASHINGTON INVADES BEANTOWN: Not only will the Eagles be in Boston on Wednesday, but the Washington Wizards will take on the Boston Celtics. The question remains who has it better... American will travel on JetBlue and stay at the Hyatt in Cambridge while the Wizards will charter and stay at a lavish hotel in the city. The Wizards are 18-18 on the season while the Celtics are 23-14. I wonder what game AU alumnus and TNT broadcaster David Aldridge would rather be at?