American beat Boston 86-74 on Jan. 2, 2019, to start Patriot League play with a win for the first time since 2014. See below for video and select quotes from head coach Mike Brennan and Sa’eed Nelson, who scored a season-high 30 points.
On Sa’eed’s turnaround after the GW game
"I think he learned from the game, they were packing it in against GW and they were trying to pack it in a little today, so he came out where his first couple of plays were passes out to guys for open shots. He was terrific. He’s been the guy that we’re asking the most from, so for him to have to respond in different ways dramatically because everyone is keying in on him is impressive. He’s been great all year long."
On AU’s defense against BU’s big men
"Not bad. They shot 54% so our defense wasn’t great, we just outscored them tonight. They’re a really good offensive team, they have a ton of weapons, a ton of ways they can hurt you. Our defense at times - I think we tried - they just test you in a lot of different ways."
On Josh’s progression
"His work ethic. Every day he comes and works and follows YY’s example and he puts in a hard day’s work every single day. He’s a basketball player so he gets better quickly. You tell him things, he understands them, he can implement them. So I’d like to get him in more to be honest."
On matching BU’s interior presence
"We emphasized that, so we want to start scoring in the paint first and then kick it out when they start helping a lot - even on the flip side, on the defensive end - we knew Mahoney is a handful, so we forced him to take difficult shots and I think we did that and that led to some easy transition points for us and everybody just having that focus to know where he is at all times and to have the focus to get the ball in the paint first on our team and get easy layups."
On AU’s maturation with respect to closing out games
"We’re definitely still working on it. It showed a lot tonight, because in recent years it will go to seven, then it gets cut to five ... And to stretch that seven-point lead where they can’t come back is important."
On starting the PL with a win for the first time in your career
"It was definitely on my mind. We always start out 0-1 so to come out and give it everything you’ve got, no matter how tired you get, just to keep pushing — I knew we had to get it done today and I’m glad the whole team showed up."