MACOMB, Ill. — Sam Iorio returned to the lineup after missing two games and finished with a game-high 18 points in a 69-56 loss to Western Illinois on Wednesday evening at Western Hall.
American (2-6) played catch-up most of the game after the Leathernecks held a nine-point lead before a 14-7 run by the Eagles put them ahead 20-19 on a layup by Jesse Little with 5:20 remaining in the half.
Sa'eed Nelson had 14 points in 40 minutes along with Larry Motuzis who added 11 points in a complete game.
Western Illinois (6-2) led 32-26 at the half shooting 61 percent from the field.
American battled back in the second with a 12-4 run and tied the contest 54-54 on a 3-pointer by Iorio with 5:08 left to play. Little gave the Eagles a two-point lead, 56-54, but the Leathernecks finished the contest scoring the final 13 points, holding the Eagles scoreless in the final 4:26 of regulation.
American shot 36 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free throw line.
Western Illinois was led by Brandon Gilbeck with 17 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks. Kobe Webster had 15 points and six assists and C.J. Duff had 10 points.
American will host Howard on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. The Game can be seen live on NBC Sports Washington+, NBC Sports Philadelphia+ and the Patriot League Network on Stadium.
For the latest on American Men's Basketball, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_MBasketball.
Tickets to all American basketball games along with season and single-game tickets are now on-sale at the Bender Arena box office or online by clicking here.