Game #28 • American (6-21, 3-13 PL) at Navy (15-13, 10-6 PL)
Wed., Feb. 22, 2017 • 7 p.m. • Annapolis, Md. • Alumni Hall (5,710)
All-Time Record: American, 40-45
Last Meeting: Navy 71, American 53 — Jan. 25, 2017
Stream: PLN — Pete Medhurst (PXP), Michael Heary(Color)
American Game Notes
Navy Game Notes
WASHINGTON — Two games remain before the Patriot League Tournament begins for the American men's basketball team. Both games will be played away from Bender Arena but within driving distance of Ward Circle. Wednesday's contest will be at Navy and Saturday at Loyola.
Parking / Shuttle Information
All fans attending the game are encouraged to park at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Fans can enter Gate 5 off Taylor Ave. and pay $5 for parking. The shuttle is free and the pickup and drop off spot is in front of the Blue Angel plane. The shuttle will run from one hour before the start of the game to one hour after the game concludes. Fans ages 18 and over need photo ID to enter the Academy. Parking at the stadium is the best option for fans attending the game. Due to Naval Academy security restrictions, the general public can not drive their vehicles on to the Yard. The pedestrian entries at Gate 1, Gate 3 and Gate 8, will be open.
News, Notes, and Storylines
ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: American owns a 45-40 all-time record against the Midshipmen that dates back to the 1928-29 season. Since joining the Patriot League, American is 27-7 against Navy. AU is 2-0 against Navy in the PL Tournament. The loss to the Midshipmen on Jan. 25, snapped a three-game winning streak by the Eagles in which they outscored the Mids by a +10.3 scoring margin.
NAVY SCOUT: The Midshipmen enter Wednesday's contest after dropping three of their last five games. Shawn Anderson leads the Mids in scoring, averaging 11.9 points per game. He is second in rebounding (4.5) behind Tom Lacey (7.7). Lacey is fifth in team scoring at 7.8 points per game. Navy surrendered a 25-point lead in the second half of Saturday contest against Army.
EAGLES REWIND VS. NAVY: Rebounds and second chance opportunities hurt the American University men's basketball team as they fell to Navy, 71-53, on Wednesday evening at Bender Arena. 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.
WHAT IT WILL TAKE FOR AN AU WIN: In the first meeting, American went down 11-0 early in the first half before taking a one-point lead midway through the half. The Eagles will need to execute tougher on the defensive end while maintaining a balanced scoring attack. AU finished with three players in double figures and while Delante Jones was held to three points, he will need to be on the attacking side to give his team a chance to win. Last season, Jalen Rhea was a big help for the Eagles on the road and was a major factor from the outside. Rhea missed the last game battling an injury thus the AU bench only contributed six points from Alex Paquin. Navy had five players in double figures and owned the glass. American will need Jones to attack the glass to give the Eagles a shot.
KEY MATCHUP - PART II: The major battle in the second edition of the AU-Navy rivalry will be Mark Gasperini and Tom Lacey. Gasperini had 11 points and five rebounds in 34 minutes. Gasperini shot 40 percent from the floor. Lacey had his way with the Eagles and scored 14 points and had 15 rebounds. Lacey pulled down 10 defensive rebounds and had five on the offensive end.
BREAKING DOWN THE HOLY CROSS LOSS: Sa'eed Nelson and Delante Jones led American with 16 points each but Holy Cross led the entire way en route to a 69-54 win on Sunday afternoon at Bender Arena. Delante Jones scored all of his 16 in the second half. Charlie Jones added eight points and five rebounds in 39 minutes. Holy Cross was led in scoring by Matt Husek who finished with a game-high 20 points. Husek shot 8 of 9 from the field and 4-of-5 from the three-point line. Robert Champion added 16 points, shooting 7 of 9 from the foul line. AU's four seniors were honored at the start of the game. Senior Yilret Yiljep who has missed the past three seasons due to a rare heart condition took the ceremonial tip to start the game.Holy Cross jumped out to an early 9-0 lead. AU answered with a 9-0 run of their own. Although, AU was never able to capture the lead, but came as close as one point in the first half. Holy Cross took their biggest lead of the game with 5 minutes left in the game. AU was never able to regroup late in the game and Holy Cross pulled away towards the end.
WINNING IS IMPORTANT, BUT DEVELOPMENT IS KEY: When head coach Mike Brennan took over the program on April 30, 2013, he spoke about developing players and making them into the best they can be. Since then, Brennan has seen the maturation process of several holdovers and recruited players. Jesse Reed '16 became a good example. He started every game he played under the Brennan watch and graduated with 1,405 career points. In two seasons, Pee Wee Gardner became a high-scoring guard who will forever be remembered by AU fans. In the past two seasons, Brennan has put an emphasis on younger players. In year three, Delante Jones, James Washington, and Andrija Matic saw veteran-like minutes as freshmen. Jones and Washington finished in the top four in team scoring. This season, Sa'eed Nelson and Mark Gasperini are Brennan's newest players going through a season-long development. Nelson leads the Eagles in points and Gasperini is third.