American lost its Patriot League opener 84-55 at league favorite Bucknell on Dec. 29. Here are five key plays/sequences from the loss.
1. Bucknell jumps on AU for 11-3 lead
U was in for a huge challenge before it was learned that Sa'eed Nelson would miss the game with a hand injury. Bucknell jumped on the Eagles early with precise and overpowering offensive execution.
2. Drew Lamont catches fire for AU
AU hung tough early thanks in part to Drew Lamont, who came off the bench and sandwiched two 3s around a pair of FTs. Lamont tied his career high within a short span and brought AU within 21-18.
3. American forces nine Bucknell turnovers in first half
While Bucknell was sloppy early, American also deserves some credit for playing defense with active hands and causing many deflections. The Eagles' first half defense wasn't great, but it was good enough to keep the margin in single figures much of the opening 20 minutes.
4. American kills itself at free-throw line
American destroyed itself at the free-throw line, shooting 10-25 from the stripe. The Eagles are now 62.7 percent from the line on the season, 340th out of 351 teams nationally.
5. Bucknell pours it on in second half
Any good feelings American had in the first half quickly eroded in the second half as the Eagles couldn't stop Bucknell and the lead grew and grew until it eclipsed 30 points. The Bison shot 16-21 on twos, made three 3s and would've done more damage if not for making just 50 percent of their free throws.