Eagles Hope to Phil Bender on Sunday for CBS Sports Network Game

Eagles Hope to Phil Bender on Sunday for CBS Sports Network Game

Game #21 • Colgate (6-16, 4-5 PL) at American (5-15, 2-7 PL)  
Wed, Jan. 25, 2017 • 7:30 p.m. • Washington, D.C. • Bender Arena (3,500)
All-Time Record: American, 31-7
Last Meeting: American 67, Colgate 64 (OT) — Jan. 2, 2017
TV: CBSSN Jason Knapp (PXP), Moe Cassara (Color)
Live Stats

American Game Notes
Colgate Game Notes 

WASHINGTON — American is looking for its third win in the Patriot League and the second against Colgate. American is coming off a loss to Navy on Wednesday while the Raiders fell to Lehigh.

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

American owns a 31-7 all-time record over Colgate. The Raiders took the first ever meeting between both sides, but American had winning streaks of 11 (2005-10) and eight (2010-14). At one point, American won 19 of 20 games against the Raiders. Last season, both squads won on the road, with AU winning at Cotterell Court, 54-49 and falling at home 56-37. Delante Jones returns as the top scorer for AU against Colgate at 9.0 points per game in two appearances. This will be Charlie Jones' 10th appearance against Colgate. 

EAGLES REWIND VS. COLGATE: Mark Gasperini recorded his first collegiate double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Sa'eed Nelson and Delante Jones each finished with 12 points to give AU the overtime win 67-64. Will Rayman had 15 points for the Raiders but fouled out in the final minute of regulation. Rayman scored 13 of his 15 in the first half. Sean O'Brien led all scorers with 21 points and nearly won the game with one second left for the Raiders. American was set to take the regulation win despite woes at the free throw line. However, Delante Jones missed a pair that would have solidified the win. After a rebound by Jordan Swopshire, the Raiders set a high screen that allowed O'Brien to hit a jumper that bounced in tying the contest at 58-58 with one second left. O'Brien was fouled on the play and missed the potential game-winning free throw to send the game to overtime. In the extra frame, AU jumped out to a five-point lead (64-59) but Colgate tied the game with five straight points by Tom Rivard. AU scored the next three points at the free throw line to secure the win. AU shot 40 percent from the field and got 28 points off the bench. Lonnie Rivera has eight and Charlie Jones had seven with 12 rebounds in 41 minutes.

COLGATE SCOUT: Colgate has won three of its last five games and is 4-5 in league play. The Raiders dropped both games after taking the three-point overtime loss to American on Jan. 2. Will Rayman has turned out to be a nifty rookie for the Raiders. He leads the team in scoring in both PL play and overall. In 22 games, Rayman is averaging 14.9 points and 16.6 in the nine league games. Tom Rivard has stepped up as of late with three double-figure performances in the last six games, including a season-best 21 points at Navy on Jan. 8. Rivard added 16 points and 10 rebounds in the recent loss to Lehigh. Sean O'Brien has not topped his performance since the AU game when he had 21 points and the chance to win the game with a last-second free throw. O'Brien did score 20 at Boston U., and made all of his four free throws.

WHAT IT WILL TAKE FOR AN AU WIN: American played a solid game in Hamilton, New York earlier in the month. AU's main issue was free throws. The Eagles held a nine-point lead with 90 seconds to go but needed extra time to secure their first  PL win. Despite a small deficit margin in rebounding, Charlie Jones and Mark Gasperini each recorded double-digit boards. Gasperini will need to stay out of foul trouble and use his size to his advantage against Malcolm Regisford and Will Rayman. Gasperini held Regisford to 1-of-7 from the field with four personal fouls. In all five PL losses for the Raiders, Colgate has allowed at least six made three-pointers.

KEY MATCHUP - PART II: The top matchup for the contest will be Sa'eed Nelson for American and Sean O'Brien for Colgate. In the first meeting, O'Brien got the best of Nelson offensively with 21 points compared to Nelson's 12. However, Sa'eed played a full 45 minutes and stayed out of foul trouble while O'Brien fouled out in 35 minutes. American needs a player of Nelson's caliber to stay out of foul trouble while running the offense. If American, can find a way to once again break down Colgate by sharing the ball, Nelson will have an easy day in the office. 

BREAKING DOWN THE NAVY LOSS: Rebounds and second chance opportunities hurt the American University men's basketball team as they fell to Navy, 71-53. Lonnie Rivera led AU's scoring efforts, putting up his third double-digit game of the season with 13 points off of 4-of-6 from the field. Mark Gasperini and Sa'eed Nelson also scored in the double-figures with 11 points apiece. Although the Eagles improved on ball control against the Midshipmen, giving up only 13 turnovers, they suffered on the boards with only 19 rebounds to Navy's 36. The Eagles shot 46.2 percent overall off of 18-for-39 from the field, and put up one of their top performances of the season from the line, shooting 80 percent. The Midshipmen shot 25-of-52 from the field, including 16 points off of second chance opportunities. Bryce Dullin put up a team-high 15 points, while Hasan Abdullah added 14, and Shawn Anderson and George Kiernan each contributed another 10 points.  Tom Lacey put up a double-double effort for Navy with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

COACHES VS. CANCER WEEK: During the Holy Cross and Navy games, members of the American coaching and support staff will be taking part in Coaches vs. Cancer Suits & Sneakers Awareness Week, a collaborative initiative of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the American Cancer Society. The coaches will wear sneakers instead of dress shoes with their usual game attire to demonstrate their support for the American Cancer Society and the fight against cancer. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of coaches across the country, Coaches vs. Cancer participants have raised more than $87 million since 1993 to help the American Cancer Society fund groundbreaking cancer research, provide up-to-date cancer information and education, advocate for public health policies that benefit communities, and deliver services that improve the quality of life for patients and their families.

INTRODUCING AU'S 15TH PRESIDENT: Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who was most recently the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under former President Barack Obama, has been named the 15th President of American University in Washington, DC. She succeeds Neil Kerwin as president and will assume her responsibilities on June 1, 2017. Burwell is the first woman to hold the highest leadership position at AU. Burwell comes to AU after having served as the 22nd Secretary of HHS, a role she held from 2014 through the end of President Obama's second term. Prior to that Cabinet appointment, Burwell was Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), also a Cabinet position.

American and Lehigh have three players each in the top 20 in Patriot League overall scoring heading into this weekend's games. The Eagles are represented by Sa'eed Nelson (15.1), Delante Jones (11.9) and Mark Gasperini (11.4). Lehigh's three players are Tim Kempton (21.4), Austin Price (13.2) and Kahron Ross (11.8). Boston, Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette and Loyola have two players in the top 20 while Army and Navy have one. 

American — Nelson, Jones, Gasperini; Lehigh — Kempton, Price, Ross; Boston — Fanning, Alston; Bucknell — Thomas, Foulland; Colgate — O'Brien, Rayman; Holy Cross — Alexander, Champion; Lafayette — Klinewski, Lindner; Loyola — Walker, Jones; Army — Fox; Navy — Anderson

In league only scoring 23 players sit in the top 20 in league-only scoring  American, Bucknell and Lehigh have three players in the upper echelon in PL scoring. Four new players cracked the list in league-only scoring while 19 were held over.

American — Nelson, Jones, Gasperini; Bucknell — Foulland, Mackenzie, Thomas; Lehigh — Kempton, Price, Ross; Army — Morrison, Fox; Boston U. — Fanning, Alston; Colgate — Rayman, O'Brien; Holy Cross — Alexander, Charles; Lafayette — Klinewski, Lindner; Loyola — Walker, Jones; Navy — Anderson, Abdullah