American picked up its first win of the 2017-18 season 74-70 over New Hampshire. Here are five key plays/sequences (plus a bonus) from the Eagles' win.
1. American's offense gets hot, builds 14-point lead
When was the last time American's offense was this in sync? The Eagles scored on nine of 11 possessions, doing a bit of everything, to build a double-digit first half lead.
2. Sa'eed builds lead to 19
"That could be the dagger right there." That's what UNH's announcer said after Sa'eed hit a 3 from NBA range to extend American's lead to 56-37. Nelson had one of his best long-range shooting games as an Eagle, making 4-for-9 from behind the arc.
3. American goes ice cold against zone
New Hampshire went to a zone, and it worked brilliantly. The Eagles continuously chucked from deep, and the shots started clanking. They were also loose with the ball, struggling in particular to make the pass to the high post. The lead slowly dissipated.
4. American can't stop fouling as UNH take lead into final minutes
The Eagles committed 29 fouls and had two players, Sam Iorio and Nick Macarchuk, foul out as UNH lived at the free-throw line late, scoring 13 of 18 points there as they maintained a small late lead. It appeared the Wildcats might survive thanks to the whistle.
5. Larry Motuzis scores eight straight to tie game
We're quickly finding out that Larry Motuzis has unlimited range. Just when it seemed American wouldn't hit an outside shot again, the junior followed two free throws with two DEEP 3s to tie the game at 70.
Bonus: American's defense the last six possessions
For as bad and foul-prone as the Eagles were during UNH's comeback, they were equally good at the end. Jesse Little forced a turnover as did Nelson. And the Eagles defended well without fouling and rebounded each UNH miss. The defense ended up winning the game, including Little's final block of Tanner Leissner.