Men's Hoops Begins PL Play at Bender Against Loyola Maryland

Men's Hoops Begins PL Play at Bender Against Loyola Maryland

Game #12 •  Loyola (Md.) (6-5) at American (3-8)
Fri, Dec. 30, 2016 • 7:30 P.M. • Washington, D.C. • Bender Arena (2,500)
All-Time Record: Series tied, 45-45
Last Meeting: American 67, Loyola 66
Stream: PLN — Dan Laing (PXP), Jeremy Huber (Analyst), Nick Papadis (Sideline)
Live Stats

American Game Notes
Loyola Game Notes

WASHINGTON — 
With the first part of the season complete, the American University men's basketball team is set for a grueling 18-game Patriot League slate, beginning with Loyola Maryland on Friday evening at Bender Arena. 

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 and Loyola are tied 45-45 after splitting home games last season. In the previous five, Loyola has a 3-2 edge. Delante Jones led the Eagles last season averaging 14.5 points against the Greyhounds. Charlie Jones will be playing in his fifth career game against G.G. Smith's squad. The Eagles secured a fourth-place tie last year with a 67-66 win over Loyola on the final day of the regular season. Andrija Matic scored the game-winning free throw with one second remaining on the clock after a missed jumper by Delante Jones. Loyola's Andre Walker averaged 18.0 points last season. He had 25 points at Bender Arena and shot 6-of-6 from the outside. 

BREAKING DOWN THE VILLANOVA LOSS: Delante Jones led the Eagles with 12 points, but Wildcats finished in double figures to secure the 90-48 victory. American led three times early in the first half and kept the score in single digits until a jumper by Josh Hart at the buzzer gave Villanova a 40-29 lead at the break. Hart led all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-14 from the field. Mikal Bridges and Eric Paschall each had 15 points. Sa'eed Nelson added 11 points for the Eagles and Jalen Rhea returned from an injury with nine points in eight minutes down the stretch. 

LOYOLA MARYLAND SCOUT: The Greyhounds have a lot to be excited about this season after a 1-10 non-conference record last season. The 2016 Greyhounds finished the non-league schedule with a 6-5 record (5-5 in D1 games). Loyola's top non-league win this season came at home against former MAAC foe Fairfield (81-66) before Thanksgiving. Loyola faced a pair of tough opponents in Notre Dame and Creighton and finished December strong with a 3-1 record. Jarred Jones leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 15.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Andre Walker is a tough competitor for American. He is second on the team in scoring at 14.1 per game with 41 assists. Jones and Walker are the only two Greyhounds to have started all 11 games for coach Smith this season. James Fives and Andrew Kostecka are third and fourth in scoring and each made the starting rotation in eight games. Loyola does not have a player averaging over 30 minutes per game. Ten players average at least 10 minutes of action a night.    

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.  Nelson is top the Patriot League in minutes played (37.3) and is seventh in the NCAA. 

DEFENSE LEADS TO HIS OFFENSE: Sa'eed Nelson ranks in the top 10 in the NCAA in steals per game (2.82) and total steals (31). Nelson is in the top 200 in points per game (16.3) and free throw attempts (68). 

RAY OF LIGHT: Jalen Rhea had a season-best nine points in eight minutes at Villanova. Rhea connected on three baskets from the outside after missing the previous three games with a lower-body injury.

Ep. 4: AU Hoop Talk with Mike Brennan

Head coach Mike Brennan joins host Dan Laing for this week's episode of AU Hoop Talk. Senior Yilret Yiljep sits with Laing in the second segment.