Five key plays: Bucknell 55, American 54

American fell to Bucknell 55-54 Saturday. See below for five key plays/sequences from the game.

1. Balanced scoring early
American built an early lead with balance. After this 9-0 run during which four different players scored, American had eight players in the points column. The Eagles would grab their first double-digit lead just moments later.

2. Bucknell ice cold from 3
The Bison came in with a roster full of players who shoot good to great from 3, but they couldn’t buy one in the first half and American did a decent job of contesting shots on the perimeter. American was able to build its lead thanks in part to Bucknell’s 1-for-10 3-point shooting in the first half.

3. Sa’eed Nelson goes into attack mode to start second half
AU’s point guard came out on a mission in the second half, scoring American’s first six — four at the free-throw line — and continuing to attack a Bucknell defense that in most situations lacked a shot-blocker. Nelson finished with a team-high 18 points for the Eagles.

4. Nate Sestina’s big 3s
The Bucknell big man was quiet for much of the game, but came up huge when needed — hitting the 3 that tied the game and then the 3 that gave Bucknell a 55-52 advantage.

5. Sa’eed’s close misses
After a brilliant Stacy Beckton Jr. putback dunk, American was within a point and would get three chances in the final half minute to win it. Each team, the Eagles put the ball in Nelson’s hands, and you can’t ask for much more than that. After a turnover on the first possession, Nelson then back-rimmed a layup that he probably makes seven of 10 times and finally rimmed out a 3 at the buzzer after Bucknell’s second straight missed front end of a one-and-one. American fell just short of its first win at Bucknell since 2014.