EASTON, Pa. — Sa'eed Nelson set a career-best and Patriot League Tournament First Round record with 41 points, but hot-shooting Lafayette defeated American University 93-86 on Tuesday evening at the Kirby Sports Center.
American concluded the season with a 6-24 record. No. 7 Lafayette (10-20) will face No. 2 Colgate in the PL Quarterfinals on Thursday evening.
Nelson slashed the PL first round single-game mark when he scored his 30th-point of the contest. He finished the night shooting 14 of 20 from the field, 4 of 6 from the outside and 9-for-10 at the free throw line. Nelson was one assist away from a double-double.
Sam Iorio had 17 points on 6 of 9 from the field and 3-for-5 from 3-point range. Larry Motuzis turned it on in the second half scoring all 13 points in the final 20 minutes.
Lafayette was led by Matt Klinewski with 23 points. Justin Jaworski had 20 points and Alex Petrie finished with 17. The Leopards shot well from behind the arc, connecting on 12 of 19 from long-distance.
the hosts took a 42-31 lead at the break before AU jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead on its first two offensive possessions. Jaworski pushed the lead to five, 25-20 with a 3-pointer at 8:07. The Leopards finished the half on an 11-2 run.
American trailed by as many as 15 — 48-33 — after a trifecta by Klinewski at 18:12. The Eagles battled hard in the final half after a Motuzis 3-pointer with 8:28 left made it 70-66. In the final minutes, Nelson took scoring AU's last 11 points of the contest.
American is slated to return all five starters next year along with key members off the bench.