Game #11 • American (3-7) at No. 1 Villanova (11-0)
Wed, Dec. 21, 2016 • 6:30 P.M. • Villanova, Pa. • The Pavillion (6,500)
All-Time Record: Villanova 10-0
Last Meeting: Villanova 73, American 52 — 12/22/11
TV: FS1 — Scott Graham (PXP), Donny Marshall (Analyst)
FS1 TV Listings
VILLANOVA, Pa. — American concludes its non-conference schedule on Wednesday at No. 1 Villanova. The Eagles are coming off a pair of wins against Youngstown State and Maryland Eastern Shore.
News, Notes, and Storylines
ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: American is 0-10 against Villanova. The series began on Feb. 20, 1932, with the Wildcats winning 25-19 on the road. The Wildcats enter the game as the No.1 team in the nation in both the AP and USA Today polls. This will be the second game in AU's history against a No.1 team which happens to come from the same conference… The BIG EAST. On Dec. 12, 1984, the Eagles took on D.C. foe Georgetown in front of 5,112 fans at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. The Hoyas came away with the win, 86-64. Wednesday's clash with the Wildcats will be the first-ever time AU will face the defending champion that is the top-ranked team heading into the game.
ALL-TIME AGAINST TOP 25: American is 2-59 all-time against top 25 opponents in its history. The two wins come against No.5 Georgetown (W, 62-61) on Dec. 15, 1982, and No. 17 La Salle (W, 68-62) on Feb. 24, 1971. The last time American faced two nationally ranked squads in the regular season was the 2012-13 campaign when they took on No. 15 Georgetown (L, 65-48) on Dec. 22 and No. 6 Kansas (L, 89-57). AU is 1-46 on the road against top teams, 1-6 at home and 0-7 at neutral site events. The contest against Villanova will be the third time AU meets the Wildcats as a ranked opponent. The first meeting came on Jan. 28, 1963 when the (No. 6) Wildcats defeated AU, 84-49. The second contest came during American's second NCAA Tournament appearance where the third-seeded (11th ranked) Wildcats used a second half surge to defeat the Eagles 80-67.
BREAKING DOWN THE MARYLAND EASTERN SHORE WIN: Sa'eed Nelson led the Eagles with 16 points on 5-of-9 from the field. Nelson had a team-best five rebounds and four steals. Mark Gasperini added 12 points and Delante Jones finished with 11 for AU. Senior Charlie Jones had seven points, a game-high six assists and a pair of steals for the Eagles. American's largest lead of the first half was 24-11 with 7:05 to play, but the Hawks pulled within 29-25 by halftime. AU led by as many as eight (45-37) in the second half before the visitors rallied.
VILLANOVA SCOUT: Villanova is one of six (Baylor, Creighton, Gonzaga, UCLA and USC) undefeated teams remaining in the NCAA nearing the holiday break. The Wildcats have the highest out of conference strength of schedule out of the undefeated sextet. Villanova is outscoring its opposition by 17.6 points per game and had its toughest test against Purdue (79-76) in the Gavitt Tipoff Games. The team is shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and 80 percent from the line. Josh Hart leads the Wildcats in scoring, rebounding and assists this season. His 20.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game rank him fourth, fifth and fifth in the Big East, respectively. Kris Jenkins is second on the squad at 13.4 points per game.
COMMON FOE: American and Villanova share Patriot League foe Lafayette as a common opponent this season. The Wildcats raised their NCAA Championship banner in the 88-48 win on Nov. 11. Jalen Brunson led Nova with 17 points. Mikal Bridges had eight rebounds.
NO SLEEP TILL.....: Sa'eed Nelson's 40-minute performance against New Hampshire was the 50th time under head coach Mike Brennan that an Eagle went the distance. Jesse Reed '16 played 16 full games, including a 50-minute performance against Colgate when the Eagles won 71-69 on Jan. 10, 2015. AU is 36-26 in games where a player plays 40 or more minutes. Through six home games, Nelson has is averaging 40.0 minutes per game.
WROBLICKY IN TRAINING: Not since Tony Wroblicky has American had a dominating center. Mark Gasperini has big shoes to fill if he wants to be in the same class as the Class of 2014 graduate. In his senior year, Wroblicky averaged 12.2 points per game and was named the PL Defensive Player of the Year while helping the Eagles to a NCAA Tournament appearance. He shot 58 percent from the floor and 73 percent from the line with 7.2 rebounds per contest. Wroblicky had 23 double-digit performance in his final season with Eagles. Gasperini has already surpassed Wroblicky's number as a freshman. Through 10 games, Gasperini has scored 120 points (12.0) compared to Wroblicky's 38 points (1.3).
BATTLING BACK FROM AN INJURY IS ALWAYS TOUGH: Sophomore Lonnie Rivera was ready for the 2016-17 season when a preseason injury held the lanky forward out the first three games of the season. He made his season debut against Wagner but was then shut down three more times. He eventually played in the Howard game and then set a career-best with nine points and pulled down four rebounds against Youngstown State. Head coach Mike Brennan said of Rivera after the YSU win, "his defense is what makes him a great player." Rivera shot 4-of-4 from the field in the home win and made a layup, three-pointer, and spot up jumper. Rivera added six points in the win over Maryland Eastern Shore.
0 TO 500: Delante Jones is 17 points away from 500 career points. As a freshman, Jones scored 361 points in 30 games and averaged 12.0 per night. This season, Jones is on pace to tie last season's performance. He is averaging 12.2 per contest through nine games.