@AU_MBasketball Heads to The Windy City To Meet Northwestern

Larry Motuzis

Game 2  ·  American (1-0, 0-0 PL) vs. Northwestern (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Monday, Nov. 12, 2018  ·  8 p.m. ET ·  Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
All-Time Record: Northwestern leads, 1-0

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Game Notes: 
 American  |  Northwestern

WASHINGTON — After Friday's overtime win at George Mason, the American University men's basketball team travels to the Northern Chicago Suburb of Evanston to take on Big Ten member Northwestern on Monday evening. 

SCOUTING THE EAGLES

  • Sa'eed Nelson led all scorers with 24 points and shot 52 percent from the field. 
  • Sam Iorio picked up a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds. He hit a pair of late free throws in overtime to solidify the win for AU at George Mason. 
  • Marvin Bragg led all bench scorers with 16 points, a career-best and shot 6 of 8 from the field. 
  • Eight players played at least 10 minutes in the season opener. Nelson played 42 minutes and Iorio finished with 39 minutes. Bragg played a career-best 34 minutes as the Eagles were able to spread players around the floor due to depth.

SCOUTING THE WILDCATS

  • In his first game with the Wildcats, Ryan Taylor led the team with 20 points in an 82-52 win over New Orleans. Taylor, a transfer from Evansville led the Missouri Valley in points (21.3) and 3-point percentage (42.4). 
  • Dererk Pardon finished with a double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds) and shot 4 of 5 from the field and 5 of 6 from the free throw line. 
  • Vic Law had an all-around game at the point. He had 18 points, six rebounds and five assists. 
  • Northwestern moved back to its Evanston facility, Welsh-Ryan Arena, after a year away due to renovations. This historic arena was built in 1952 and hosted the NCAA Final Four in 1956. 

FREE'd 

  • Sa'eed Nelson's 24 points in the season opener rank tied for fourth in his best performance list. Nelson has scored 24 points on three other occasions —see below— against (Saint Francis (Pa.), Wagner and Colgate). 
  • With the returns of Mark Gasperini and Yilret Yiljep, Nelson has more room to move into the paint and around the court with bodyguards on his side. 
  • Still a work in progress, Nelson shot 6 of 11 from the line but made all three in overtime.  
  • Nelson has an all-around performance with four rebounds, four assists and four steals. 

Mr. 1,000

  • Nelson reached 1,000 career points in 60 career games at American. 
  • As a freshman, Nelson scored 447 points. 
  • He eclipsed 500 points as a sophomore with 538 points. 
  • Scored double figures in 52 of 60 career games. 
  • Scored 20 or more points 21 times. 
  • Played 40 or more minutes in 23 of 50 games.

NATURAL POSITIONING  

  • Last season, Sam Iorio played nearly every position for American but has slid back into the small forward spot thanks to the return of Yilret Yiljep and Mark Gasperini. Iorio will move to the power forward spot when on the floor with fellow forward Marvin Bragg.
  • Iorio started the season on a high note with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
  • Iorio dropped 13 of his 17 points in the second half where he nailed all three shots from the outside and had a dunk off the post. 
  • Despite a late game cramp, Iorio totaled 39 minutes and muscled through overtime scoring the final two points from the line and pulling down four rebounds in the extra time.

WELCOME BACK

  • American welcomed back Yilret Yiljep and Mark Gasperini on Friday.
  • Yiljep missed the final three years of his undergraduate career due to a heart condition but played 21 minutes in his return. Yiljep finished with one steal and one block but had a dominating presence on the floor. 
  • Gasperini, missed all of 2017-18 with a concussion, scored 14 points and had six rebounds. His return will spark a big body inside the paint.  
  • Although he did not see action, Justin Perez dressed for just the second time in his AU career. As a freshman two years ago, Perez went down with a lower-body injury that caused him to miss two seasons of competition. In the home finale last season, Perez dressed after being medically cleared. 

NOT BRAGG'IN 

  • Marvin Bragg finished with a career-best 16 points on 6 of 8 from the field and 3 of 5 from the outside in 34 minutes. His six made field goals are a career-best for the sophomore from California. 
  • Bragg's three 3-pointers tied a career-best set last season at Lehigh (1/14/18). Against the Mountain Hawks, Bragg shot 3 of 6 from the outside. 
  • As a freshman, Bragg set a season-best 11 points on two occasions (at New Hampshire and vs. Loyola Maryland).

MY KINDA TOWN

  • Larry Motuzis will be playing in front of family and friends as he makes his homecoming to Chicago on Monday. 
  • Motuzis is from nearby Darien, Illinois and will be greeted by members of the local Lithuanian church youth basketball team. 

MASON RECAP

  • American led 31-31 at the half thanks to a buzzer-beater from half court by Mark Gasperini
  • American trailed by four (74-70) with 1:43 left in overtime. AU went on an 8-1 run to finish the game. 
  • George Mason had five players in double figures, led by Javon Greene with 18 points off the bench. The Patriots scored 44 bench points. Otis Livingston II had a 10-point, 10-assist double-double for Mason. 
  • Mike Brennan picked up his first win against Mason, who he faced in his head coaching debut on Nov. 8, 2013.

AU-NU CONNECTION

  • American and Northwestern have some connections through its history and friendships. 
  • Northwestern assistant coach Billy Donlon began his coaching career at American University during the 1990-2000 season. 
  • AU alumnus David Aldridge worked alongside many Northwestern alumni including Craig Sager (#SagerStrong),  J.A. Adande, Kevin Blackistone, Mike Greenberg, Rachel Nichols and Michael Wilbon to name a few.