American dropped its 2017-18 opener at Kansas State, 83-48. Here are five key plays/sequences from the loss.
1. The new guys come out shooting
It was evident from the opening minute that American's new guys weren't afraid to shoot or wait for the end of the shot clock in Mike Brennan's Princeton scheme. CB bricked a 3. Larry Motuzis got AU on the board. CB nailed a corner 3. Sam Iorio missed an open look. And watch CB get up and miss a put-back dunk off a Sa'eed Nelson miss. It's evident these guys won't have to be told twice to shoot this season. That's a good thing.
2. K-State blows it open with 17-0 run
After American took a 5-2 lead, the Wildcats took control with 17 straight points against a porous American defense. Dean Wade was an Eagle killer both inside and out during the run. Considering he shot 40 percent from 3 a year ago, AU needed to execute its switches better.
3. Poor perimeter defense dooms AU
Not having Mark Gasperini (out with a concussion) made this matchup near impossible for AU. While the Eagles tried to box in their defense and team rebound (which failed; they were outrebounded 41-23), they left the perimeter wide open and the Wildcats continued to connect from deep and extend their lead to 48-19 at halftime.
4. Sa'eed Nelson has off night
This team will go as Sa'eed Nelson goes, and such was the case Friday. He simply had a bad game, shooting 2-for-14 from the field and committing five turnovers. We've made a lot of the need for Nelson to improve his shooting. While his form looked good, the shots didn't fall — including a few wide-open looks from 3. A couple of the turnovers were on teammates not being in the right position.
5. Larry Motuzis is bright spot for American
The junior transfer from Saint Xavier was AU's biggest bright spot, scoring 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting. We expected the 3-point shooting, but the drives to the hoop, the post-up with the nifty footwork, and the behind-the-back finish in transition were all pleasant surprises in Motuzis' debut.