American fell 69-54 to Holy Cross in its home finale, dropping the Eagles to 6-21, 3-13 in the league. Here are five key plays/sequences from the game.
1. Holy Cross 9-0 run to start
American came out slow, a recurring problem throughout the season. After a Matt Husek 3 (more on him in a minute), the Crusaders got to the rim three straight times.
2. American scores nine straight to even things
James Washington provided a needed spark off the bench, slicing through the zone and dishing to Mark Gasperini for a layup. Another Gasperini layin and two fastbreak buckets later off Holy Cross turnovers, and the game was tied 9-9.
3. Matt Husek goes off for 20 points
The Holy Cross big man entered the game averaging six points, but AU had no answer for him. He kept Gasperini honest with cuts to the basket for layups, and then penetration by Crusaders guards that drew Gasperini into the paint left Husek wide open for 3s. A big man like that is a difficult matchup, and him having almost a career day didn't help.
4. Delante Jones goes off in the second half
If only he did this in first halves. In another season theme for American, the Eagles got nothing (0 points, 0-2 shooting) from Delante Jones in the first 20 minutes but he came alive after the break. Delante scored 16 points including four 3s, mixing in drives to the hoop and even a pull-up mid-range jumper, an aspect of his game that has all but disappeared this year. Take second-half Delante from this game and sprinkle it throughout the season, and American would have a very different record.
5. Holy Cross puts it away with 12-0 run
American has been in almost every game late this season, but finishing — for a variety of factors — has been difficult. Sunday was no different. In this case, American hurt itself by failing to score but also got unlucky with Anthony Thompson (31% on 3s) nailing two and a tipped ball ending up in Robert Champion's hands for a layup. When things aren't going well, these types of scenarios tend to play out.