American Visits Army West Point on Saturday

American Visits Army West Point on Saturday

Game #25 • American (5-19, 2-11 PL) at Army West Point (9-16, 3-10 PL) 
Sat, Feb. 11, 2017 • 3 p.m. • West Point, N.Y. • Christl Arena (5,043)
All-Time Record: American, 26-11
Last Meeting: Lehigh 70, American 55 — Feb. 4, 2017
Stream: PLN  (Army) Rich DeMarco (PXP)
Live Stats

American Game Notes
Army West Point Game Notes

WASHINGTON — Five games remain in the regular season for the American men's basketball team with four on the road. The Eagles sit in 10th-place in the Patriot League behind their next two opponents Army West Point and Lafayette.

News, Notes, and Storylines

ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: American owns a 26-11 all-time record against the Black Knights that dates back to the 1963-46 season. American won straight 11 meetings over Army since joining the Patriot League. AU has had winning streaks of six and seven games over Army but the Black Knights have taken the previous five. 

EAGLES REWIND VS. ARMY WEST POINT: After a slow start in the first half, the eagles made a valiant effort in the second before falling 53-49. American 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.

ARMY WEST POINT SCOUT: Eight players are averaging at least 5.0 points or more points this season for the Black Knights. Despite being seven games under .500  overall and in league play, Army's scoring margin is nearly equal and is +1.4 in rebounding. Jordan Fox leads the Black Knights with 12.0 points per game. Mac Hoffman has been the most consistent player on the court and is seventh in scoring (6.7) but first in rebounding (6.8). In its last 10 games, Army is 3-7 and fell twice in back-to-back games in overtime to Navy and Boston U. In their previous two contests, Army dropped its last two by double-figure margins to Loyola and Colgate. Tommy Funk is fourth on the squad at 9.2 points per contest and dropped 13 against Colgate and Loyola. Looking at conference-only numbers, the Black Knights have three players in double figures. Fox leads the team with 11.3 points followed by John Emezie (10.2) and Luke Morrison (10.1). Hoffman is still consistent in the 13 PL games with 6.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He was also recently named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Team. 

WHAT IT WILL TAKE FOR AN AU WIN: American can't afford a slow start against Army. The Eagles trailed by 10 early on and eventually took a lead 20 minutes later. However, the Black Knights made timely shots and got stops on the defensive end to hold onto the lead. American made its first five shots against Boston on Wednesday and pushed the best defensive team in the PL to its limits. Army allows 77.1 points per game in league play. If AU can get Sa'eed Nelson and Mark Gasperini on the same page while utilizing Delante Jones on the wing, it could be a much-needed win for the Eagles. 

KEY MATCHUP - PART II: In the first meeting, both sides finished with three players in double figures. American was one point away from adding a fourth to the list. Despite that, the matchup that was one-sided was the bench. Army got 21 points off the bench while American had zero. Scott Mammel and Matt Wilson scored all the bench points and were vital factors for the Black Knights. With the lineup changes that AU has seen in the past five games with the injury to Jalen Rhea, it will be important for American to get contributions from Alex Paquin and Matt Cimino.

RIVERA RETURNS HOME LOOKING FOR BREAKOUT: New York native, Lonnie Rivera is looking to make an impact for the Eagles in his second season. He was injured early in the season and continues to rehab himself back to 100 percent. However, that hasn't stopped the Don Bosco Prep graduate. Rivera is fifth in scoring at 5.1 points per game but is the best free throw shooter on the squad making 15-of-16 this season.

Since the calendar switched over to 2017, Alex Paquin has seen his minutes increase. In the 12 games since the ball dropped, Paquin has reached double-digit minutes in nine games. He tied his career-best with 13 points against Lafayette and connected on a pair of three's in the last two games.