Game #18 • Lafayette (6-11, 2-4 PL) at American (4-13, 1-5 PL)
Wed, Jan. 18, 2017 • 7:30 p.m. • Washington, D.C. • Bender Arena (3,500)
All-Time Record: American, 36-19
Last Meeting: American 60, Lafayette 59 (OT) — Feb. 17, 2016
Stream: PLN — Dan Laing (PXP), Jeremy Huber (Color), Megan O'Keefe (Sideline)
American Game Notes
Lafayette Game Notes
WASHINGTON — Last season, the American men's basketball team snapped a 10-game losing streak on the road in late January at Lafayette and went on to win the next four. This season, the Eagles are looking to snap their current four-game skid when they welcome the Leopards to Bender Arena on Wednesday.
TICKETS: Tickets for this game are still available and start at just $7. Purchase the best seat locations today at AUeagles.com by clicking here. Current undergraduate, graduate, and WCL students are admitted free to all home basketball games in Bender Arena with AU ID.
News, Notes, and Storylines
ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: American owns a 36-19 all-time record against the Leopards that dates back to the 1961-62 season. Since joining the Patriot League, American is 27-9 with four of those meetings coming in the league tournament. Each team has won twice in the postseason.
LAFAYETTE SCOUT: Lafayette comes into Wednesday's game after a 37-point drubbing to Navy on Saturday. The Leopards struggled on both ends of the court, allowing Navy to shoot 60 percent from the floor and connect on 9-of-16 from the outside. The Midshipmen had four players finish in double figures. Lafayette shot 38 percent from the field and was outrebounded 36-21. Nick Linder is second in Lafayette and ninth all-time in the Patriot League in career assists with 478. The guard is second in team scoring (13.2) behind Matt Klinewski (17.5). Klinewski had 34 points in a home loss to Boston U and 30 points against St. Francis Brooklyn. He has increased his points per game average in the PL, netting 21.8 points per outing. Klinewski also leads the team in rebounding at 6.1 per contest. Lafayette averages 68.2 points per game and is outscored by a margin of 10.1 per night. In his 22nd season, head coach Fran O'Hanlon picked up his 300th win on Jan. 1 on the road at Loyola.
WHAT IT WILL TAKE FOR AN AU WIN: American needs to erase its slow starts in order to find its rhythm throughout the contest. In the past three games, AU has trailed by 10 or more points at least once before the half. In the previous two games at Boston U and home to Army West Points, the Eagles trailed by double figures at the midway point of the first. Sa'eed Nelson continues to lead the Eagles in scoring on a nightly basis with Mark Gasperini and Delante Jones as the second and third options. American will need all three to be in sync in order to escape with a win. An AU win will make Monday's CBS Sports Network matchup with Holy Cross a more enjoyable game to watch. The Crusaders meet Army West Point before their TV appearance.
KEY MATCHUP: The featured matchup for the contest will be Delante Jones and Hunter Janacek. Rather than choosing the obvious matchups of Lindner-Nelson or Gasperini-Klinewski, the Jones-Janacek pairing will determine who will be the third option for either side. Delante Jones (second in scoring for AU) had a breakout performance against Boston U. with 19 points. He was up against Eric Fanning, one of the top guards in the PL. Jones has struggled a bit this season in three main areas (ball control, three-point shooting, and free throws) but the 2016 PL Rookie of the Year has still found a way to get to the lane and use the baseline to draw fouls and score layups. Defensively, Jones is third on the team in steal with 17 and has pulled down 43 defensive rebounds. Janacek is fourth on the Leopards in scoring at 7.3 points per game with eight starts in 18 appearances. He doesn't rebound the ball particularly well nor does he shoot well from the field. Janacek is a terrific free throw shooter (12-13). He had his best game against Moravian (D3) when he dropped 22 points and had five rebounds.
BREAKING DOWN THE ARMY WEST POINT LOSS: After a slow start in the first half, American made a valiant effort in the second before falling 53-49. AU shot 39 percent from the floor and Army didn't fair well either from the field at 41 percent. Sa'eed Nelson led the Eagles with 13 points, five assists and had five rebounds. Mark Gasperini finished with 12 points and contributed seven rebounds in 29 minutes. Jalen Rhea added 11 points off the bench and Charlie Jones chipped in nine points and 10 rebounds. Army's Matt Wilson had a team-best 13 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Fox and Luke Morrison each scored 11 points for the Black Knights. The Black Knights started hot and took a 16-6 lead after 10 minutes before elevating the lead to 21-6 with 6:31 left in the half. AU trailed by 17 (25-8) before an 8-0 closed out the half putting the Eagles behind by nine (25-16). In the second, early baskets by Rhea and Gasperini were erased by a pair of three's by Morrison and Jacob Kessler to regain Army's double-digit lead. The Eagles battled back with a 14-4 run and took a 36-35 lead on a layup by Gasperini. Army retook the lead for good on free throws by Fox and then a three by Scott Mammel gave the Black Knights a 42-38 advantage. American had a chance to take a lead late after a three by Rhea, but a missed layup and free throw by Nelson allowed the Black Knights hold onto the lead.
SENIOR SPREADS HIS WINGS: Jalen Rhea has seen an increased time this season and recorded his first collegiate start against Army West Point. This season, Rhea has played 10 or minutes more 10 games this season. In the past two games, Rhea nearly played 30 minutes (28 and 29) and set a season-best with 11 points.