Five key plays: American 71, Navy 63

American beat Navy 71-63 Wednesday night to improve to 8-6, 2-1 in the Patriot League. Here are five key plays/sequences from the win.

1. Navy grabs three ORBs on second possession
The Mids set the tone early, grabbing three ORBs on an early possession that led to a basket. The Mids are known for their hustling and rebounding, and would finish the night with 15 ORBs on 34 misses (44% ORB).

2. American halfcourt offensive execution
The Eagles weren’t perfect in the half court vs. Navy in the first half, but did enough — shooting 12-for-24 — and shared the ball (eight assists) as illustrated on this final possession of the half that gave American a 32-26 advantage heading into the locker room.

3. Navy goes on 11-2 run to get back into game
After American built an 11-point lead early in the second half, Navy came back and quickly made this game as tight as any with an 11-2 spurt. The Mids caught American before the Eagles were set on defense several times to get layups and wide-open looks, and George Kiernan finished off the spurt with a putback.

4. American goes inside late
This year’s Eagles have a luxury in that in any late situation, they can go to their star guard Sa’eed Nelson or try go play inside-out through Gasperini. The big man delivered again late vs. Navy with two huge baskets as the teams battled back and forth. He finished with 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting.

5. Larry Motuzis huge corner 3
The senior has a penchant for doing senior things, so it was no surprise that once again Motuzis was in the right spot to hit the game’s biggest shot — a corner 3 that extended American’s slim margin to five. Navy didn’t get closer than four the rest of the game as Sa’eed Nelson (25 points) was tremendous from the free-throw line (11-12 FTs).