WASHINGTON — After a slow start in the first half, the American University men's basketball team made a valiant effort in the second before falling 53-49 on Saturday afternoon.
American (4-13, 1-5 PL) shot 39 percent from the floor and Army (8-10, 2-4 PL) 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.
American will host Lafayette on Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to all AU home basketball games are available online at www.aueagles.com/tickets.
For the latest on AU men's basketball, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_MBasketball.
Army Press Conference with Head Coach Mike Brennan
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