Men's Basketball Looks For Season Sweep at Lafayette

Men's Basketball Looks For Season Sweep at Lafayette

Game #26 • American (6-19, 3-11 PL) at Lafayette (7-18, 3-11 PL)
Wed., Feb. 15, 2017 • 7 p.m. • Easton, Pa. • Kirby Sports Center  (2,644)
All-Time Record: American, 37-19
Last Meeting: American 71, Lafayette 57 — Jan. 18, 2017
Stream: PLN  (Lafayette)  
TV: Lafayette Sports Network — Gary Laubach (PXP), John Leone (Color), Mike Joseph (Sideline)
Live Stats

American Game Notes
Lafayette Game Notes

WASHINGTON — Heading into Wednesday's contest, the American men's basketball team is eighth in the Patriot League standings with four games remaining. The Eagles secured their third league win on Saturday at Army West Point.

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 28-9 with four of those meetings coming in the league tournament. Each team has won twice in the postseason.

LAFAYETTE SCOUT: Matt Klinewski is second in the Patriot League in scoring, averaging 16.1 points per game and 11th in rebounding. He is also third in field goal percentage (51.4) Nick Lindner is 11th with 13.7 points per game and sixth in assists (4.3). Lindner leads the PL in three-pointers made per game (2.6) and is the only player in the PL to hit the NCAA minimum of 2.5 per contest. The Leopards allow the most points overall (76.2) and ninth in the PL (75.3).

EAGLES REWIND VS. LAFAYETTE: Charlie Jones and Alex Paquin both tied career-highs in scoring to lead American to a 71-57 win over Lafayette. American set a season-best in field goal percentage and three-point percentage shooting 61.9% on 26-of-42 from the floor and 8-of-15 from the outside. Charlie Jones' 18 points tied his career-best set nearly two years ago to the date against the Leopards in Easton, Pennsylvania. The senior shot 8-of-10 from the field with four rebounds and three assists in 38 minutes. Alex Paquin added 13 points off the bench to tie his career-best set last season at Mount St. Mary's. Paquin whose seen added minutes as of late shot 4-of-4 from the floor with two from the outside and 3-of-4 from the line. Delante Jones and Sa'eed Nelson each contributed 13 and 11 points, respectively. Jones scored all of his points in the second half and grabbed five rebounds in the final 18 minutes. American outrebounded the Leopards, 29-20, and got 22 points off the bench. American trailed early but secured the lead on a jumper by Charlie Jones with 13:20 left in the first. The Eagles would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way. The hosts took a 10-point advantage 22-12 on a three by Paquin with 8:05 remaining in the frame. Lafayette cut the deficit to three (23-20) on a jumper by Eric Stafford with 2:49 left. AU went into the break ahead six, 27-21. The Eagles regained the double-digit lead (40-29) on a layup by Nelson with 14:24 left in the contest. Lafayette lessened AU's lead to five (59-54) before cushioning the lead back to double digits. Matt Klinewski led the Leopards with 19 points and Nick Linder had 10. Lafayette shot 42 percent from the field.

WHAT IT WILL TAKE FOR AN AU WIN: American did a good job on the offensive side of the ball in the first meeting, shooting over 60 percent against the Leopards. The 71-point output was the third highest for American this season and AU is 2-2 in games where it scores over 70 points. The Eagles saw a balanced offensive attack with four players scoring in double figures.

KEY MATCHUP - PART II: Senior leadership will be a major factor for American late in the season. Charlie Jones tied his career-high against the Leopards with 18 points in the 71-57 win. Jones' previous career-best was set two years to the date against the same Leopards. In seven career games against Lafayette, Jones is averaging 11.7 points per game. On the other end, Matt Klinewski had 19 points in the loss and was held to 25 minutes due to fouls. Klinewski, the PL's second best scorer, is a dynamic inside presence for a squad that also has one of the best outside shooters in Nick Lindner.

RIVERA'S HOMECOMING A SUCCESSES: Lonnie Rivera had a successful homecoming in front of family and friends on Saturday. The Spring Valley, New York, native had 13 points and shot 5-of-9 from the field with four rebounds in 30 minutes. Rivera was most effective on the defensive side with three defensive rebounds and two steals. Rivera is fifth on the team in scoring, averaging 5.6 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. He is third in three-point shooting (40.7), fourth in field goals (48.6) and first in free throws (89.5).

EARLY BIRD TOURNAMENT SPECIAL: With four games remaining, it's never too early to take a look at the upcoming Patriot League Tournament. American is in a three-way tie with Army West Point and Lafayette for eighth, but hold a tie-breaker over both heading into the final meeting with Lafayette. Army will take on Holy Cross, who is tied with Colgate and Loyola for fifth.

INJURIES FORCES SHAKE UP: American has seen four different starting lineups this season with eight different players on the court for the opening tip. Three players — Sa'eed Nelson, Mark Gasperini, and Delante Jones — have started all 25 games for the Eagles. Leon Tolksdorf started the first 14 games before his season-ending injury put him in street clothes. Charlie Jones has started 13 games and James Washington with 12. Lonnie Rivera and Jalen Rhea are the other two to start in games. Rivera has heard his name called in the last six.

PERSEVERE IS A STRONG WORD: PLN correspondent Morgan Uber recently sat down with American senior Yilret Yiljep to talk his health issues that cut his career short. The senior from Nigeria has a rare heart condition that caused him to step away from the game he loves as a freshman. Yilret kept his scholarship at American and became part of the coaching staff working to develop younger players that are going through the system. His love of the game helped him this summer when he did an internship with the Philadelphia 76ers working alongside Dr. J and Allen Iverson.

Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle: Yilret Yiljep Perseveres at American

Yilret Yiljep was diagnosed with a rare enlarged heart condition during his freshman year at American University.