Five key plays: American 68, New Hampshire 44

Here’s our video series on American’s 68-44 win over New Hampshire Friday night to improve to 2-1 on the season.

1. Defense sets the tone
American’s defense was energetic and trouble for overmatched UNH from the start, and it quickly began generating easy transition opportunities for American. This helped the Eagles to jump out to a quick 11-2 lead at home.

2. American blows game open with 20-3 run to end first half
After UNH battled back to 25-20, American took control of the game with a crushing 20-3 spurt — the likes of which we’ve rarely seen the last couple years — to end the half and go into the locker room with a 45-23 lead. Most noticeable during the run is how balanced American’s scoring was. All eight Eagles who played in the opening 20 minutes scored between four and eight points.

3. Stacy Beckton, Jr.’s best game as an Eagle
The sophomore guard was terrific off the bench, making contributions on both ends. He finished with 12 points, six rebounds and a career-high three blocks in 20 minutes. It’s clear from just three games how much more comfortable Beckton is on the court, and he’s also allowed Mike Brennan to give Sa’eed Nelson more rest than AU’s star got either of his first two seasons.

4. Josh Alexander, welcome to the show
In his first real minutes as an Eagle and the game well in hand, freshman Josh Alexander made an immediate impact with two strong takes to the rim and a slick pass to Beckton for a dunk to close things out. It will be interesting to see how many more minutes Brennan can give his freshman before league play and how comfortable Alexander can get by then. This was a good start.

5. Sa’eed continues to impress on defense
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include a package of Nelson’s defensive plays. Once again, AU’s leader created havoc on one end and turned it into layups on the other end. He finished with 14 points and four steals.