Here are five key plays/sequences from American’s 95-82 win over St. Francis (Pa.) Tuesday night, American’s best scoring output since 2006.
1. Sam Iorio on fire
Sam Iorio was on fire for the Eagles in the first half, scoring 24 points on 9-for-10 shooting including six 3s. Must we say more? Behind Iorio’s shooting, the Eagles led by as many as 23 in the half including by 20 at the break. While St. Francis clung to Iorio’s jersey in the second half, he still managed to set a career high with 33.
2. Sa’eed Nelson sets a career high for assists
Who was mostly feeding Iorio as he racked up points? Sa’eed Nelson. The junior guard notched a career-best 12 assists, making plays all over the court for the Eagles. Overall, Nelson finished with 17 points, the 12 assists, six rebounds, two steals and just two turnovers.
3. Red Flash storm back to start second half
In the first half, American did a good job of stymying St. Francis’ drives to the hoop. To start the second half, the Red Flash couldn’t be stopped. They scored on 14 of 18 possessions, combining a bevy of hard slashes to the basket with timely 3s, as a 20-point game suddenly was trimmed to five points.
4. Mark Gasperini settles the Eagles
American was in a lot of trouble, its lead down to five. But credit to Mark Gasperini, who fought through early shooting struggles to score three straight interior buckets for the Eagles — establishing deep position in the post — and then found Marvin Bragg for probably the biggest basket of the game to extend American’s lead to 69-61. St. Francis wouldn’t get closer.
5. Larry Motuzis attacks on both ends to close out Red Flash
Similar to Gasperini, Larry Motuzis shook off early struggles and was huge down the stretch for the Eagles, showing flashes of the aggressiveness he used a year ago to become one of AU’s biggest offensive weapons. Motuzis hit a big 3, his first of the game, got a block on the other end — one of three on the night — and drove hard for two layups in traffic en route to a season-high 15 points in a season-high 38 minutes.