American fell to Bucknell in its third Patriot League game, 69-60. Here are our five key plays/sequences from the game.
1. Lonnie Rivera heats up from deep
American's sophomore forward entered the game 1-8 on the year from 3, with most of his misses not close. Credit to Lonnie, he's kept working on his shot and taking open looks and his 3-for-3 shooting performance as part of a 13-point first half staked the Eagles to an early lead.
2. American perfect from the free-throw line in the first half
The Eagles entered the game as the worst free-throw shooting percentage team in the country following the 13-for-31 disaster at Colgate. They seemed healed from Monday at the line three days later, going 7-7 in the first half to help grab a 30-26 halftime advantage.
3. American settles for jumpers, can't extend lead
The first part of the momentum swing in the second half was American failing to do what it did in the first half — get into the paint for buckets and drawing fouls. The Eagles just got a little jumper happy, and the shots weren't falling like they did in the first half. Slowly, Bucknell crept back into it.
4. Thomas and Foulland come alive
Bucknell's top two scorers, Zach Thomas and Nana Foulland, had been quiet for most of the night. But in the key minute of the game, Thomas came alive with two 3s to get Bucknell the lead and Foulland got free for a dunk to start building the Bison's lead.
5. Kimbal Mackenzie finishes things
Bucknell's small, crafty guard was a thorn in AU's side all night, and he finished things, too, with a backbreaking three-point play and going 7-for-7 from the free-throw line down the stretch as the Bison pulled away for the win. He finished with a game-high 24 points.
"They just don't let you relax," Mike Brennan said of Mackenzie and Stephen Brown after the game. "If you don't sprint back on defense every single time, they make you pay. If you don't guard the ball screen properly every single time, they make you play. So that's what happened late in the game."