Men's Basketball Heads to PL Leader Bucknell on Wednesday

Men's Basketball Heads to PL Leader Bucknell on Wednesday

Game #22 • American (5-16, 2-8 PL)  at Bucknell (17-6, 9-1PL)
Wed, Feb. 2, 2017 • 7 p.m. • Lewisburg, Pa. • Sojka Pavilion (4,000)
All-Time Record: Bucknell, 33-27
Last Meeting: Bucknell 69, American 60 — Jan. 5, 2017
Stream: PLN (Bucknell) — Doug Birdsong (PXP)
Live Stats

American Game Notes
Bucknell Game Notes

WASHINGTON — Coming off a heart-breaking loss on Sunday, the American men's basketball team is set to tangle with the PL-leading Bucknell Bison on Wednesday at Sojka Pavilion. Bucknell put up a season-best scoring total in a 96-75 win at Army.

News, Notes, and Storylines

ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: Bucknell owns a 33-27 all-time series lead over the Eagles. AU and Bucknell split last season's games with each team winning on its home court.

EAGLES REWIND VS. BUCKNELL: • American was unable to hold off a late run by Bucknell suffered a 69-60 loss on Jan. 5. Freshman Sa'eed Nelson led the charge on the scoring front with 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting from the floor and 6-of-8 from the free throw line.  Sophomore Lonnie Rivera contributed a career-high 15 points off the bench. Nelson and senior Charlie Jones led the Eagles on the boards with four rebounds apiece. AU shot 40 percent from the field and 73.3 percent from the line, going 11-of-15 from the charity stripe. The Bison put three starters in the double figures, starting with 24 points from Kimbal Mackenzie. Zach Thomas and Nana Foulland contributed another 16 points and 11 points, respectively.  Stephen Brown pulled down a team-high seven rebounds, all on the defensive end. Bucknell shot 55 percent from the field off of 22-of-40, and made 22-of-31 from the line. American led until the 6:53 mark when Bruce Moore hit a pair of free throws to give the Bison the lead. 

BUCKNELL SCOUT: Sitting atop the Patriot League, Bucknell is riding a five-game winning streak outscoring its opponents by a 16.4 margin. The Bison are led by Zach Thomas averaging 15.1 points per game. Nana Foulland is second on the team at 14.9 and Kimbal Mackenzie is third at 11.3. Bucknell is averaging 74.5 points per game with a +6.4 scoring margin and a +1.3 rebounding margin. 

WHAT IT WILL TAKE FOR AN AU WIN: Last season, American took an 18-point beating at Sojka  Pavilion before the 14-point home win at Bender Arena as part of the five-game winning streak that turned the season around. In the home win, AU out battled Bucknell on all fronts. Delante Jones led the team with 18 points and James Washington added 12. AU held the Bison to 37 percent from the field and 0-of-15 from the outside. AU will need to stymie the Bison on all fronts and hold the lead.

KEY MATCHUP - PART II: The top matchup for the contest will be Mark Gasperini for American and Nana Foulland for Bucknell. In the first meeting, early foul trouble by Gasperini halted a 'Battle of the Bigs'. Foulland finished with 11 points and Gasperini had nine. Power forward Zach Thomas finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Foulland is second on the team in scoring at 14.9 with 8.0 rebounds per game. Gasperini is third on the team with 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. 

BREAKING DOWN THE COLGATE LOSS: American men's basketball team put up an early lead against Colgate, but couldn't keep up after a late surge propelled the Raiders to a 70-65 victory in Bender Arena on Sunday. Freshman Mark Gasperini led AU's scoring efforts, fouling out in the final four minutes just shy of his career-high with 18-points. Freshman Sa'eed Nelson and sophomore Delante Jones joined Gasperini in the double-digits with 15 points and 13 points, respectively. Nelson tied his career-high with five assists. Senior Charlie Jones led with seven rebounds. Four Raiders put up double figure efforts behind Malcolm Regisford's 15-point game. Jordan Swopshire added 14 points, and Will Rayman and Tom Rivard contributed another 13 points and 11 points, respectively. Regisford, Sean O'Brien and Dana Batt shared responsibilities on the boards with three rebounds each, while O'Brien also led with a team-high five assists. It was a fairly even game across the board, with American outshooting the visitors with 58.3 percent off of 21-of-36 from the floor while Colgate put up 53.8 percent from 21-of-39 shooting. The Eagles edged out the Raiders on the boards with 20 rebounds but were just edged out in bench points, with Colgate's reserves tallying 13 to AU's seven. American led the entire first half and held a 14-point lead 29-15 after a jumper by Gasperini with 5:50 left. Colgate finished the half on a 13-2 run after a three by Swopshire with one second left. The Eagles led 31-28 at the break and continued the advantage into the second but the Raiders kept the deficit within two possessions. Regisford gave Colgate its first lead, 51-50, with nine minutes left. The score went back-and-forth until O'Brien nailed the game-winning three with 55 seconds left. The basket came after Nelson drilled a three of his own on the previous possession. AU had a chance down two but a turnover and fouls allowed Colgate to escape with the victory.