Five key plays: American 70, Boston 66

American beat Boston Wednesday evening, 70-66, to snap a three-game losing skid and improve to 9-9, 3-4 in the Patriot League. Here are five key plays/sequences from the game.

1. A hot-shooting start for American
The Eagles made eight of their first 10 field-goal attempts to jump out to a 19-7 lead. When AU didn’t turn it over, it was near perfect to begin the game with crisp passing and pinpoint shooting including making three of four 3s to start. The Sa’eed Nelson-Mark Gasperini pick-and-roll was so effective that it didn’t take long for BU to switch to a 2-3 zone.

2. Max Mahoney leads BU comeback
It didn’t take long for BU to respond with a 15-2 run to take a 22-21 lead, and it started with big man Max Mahoney. He was so effective against Gasperini that Mike Brennan switched to trying the smaller but quicker Sam Iorio on him. Nothing really worked and most of BU’s residual action started with Mahoney, who finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds

3. Sa’eed pushes paces in transition to bring AU back
Boston quickly erased a four-point halftime deficit and took the lead behind freshman guard Alex Vilarino, but that’s when Nelson really took over for American. On the ensuing possession, he pushed the pace for a layup plus a foul. Then, after a steal by Iorio, he did the exact same thing — the cameras struggling to catch up to him. And on the next offensive trip, Nelson got the bounce of all bounces on a 3-pointer from the corner. American led 52-49 and wouldn’t trail again.

4. Sa’eed Nelson steals the show
We’d be remiss to talk about Nelson’s performance without mentioning his defense. Throughout the evening, he caused chaos on that end by getting in passing lanes and deflecting passes. Most turnovers generated by Nelson led to baskets on the other end. He finished with five steals (one of which should’ve gone to Larry Motuzis, it appears), including two huge thefts in the final two minutes as American hung onto a four-point lead.

5. Stacy seals the win with a dunk
After Boston cut the margin to two, 66-64, American inbounded to Nelson who looked to be fouled by Vilarino, but no call was made and Nelson alertly threw the ball up to Stacy Beckton Jr. for a dunk. A missed 3 and Sam Iorio rebound later, and this one was basically sealed.