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AU men’s basketball falls to Lafayette in overtime thriller

Nelson and Beckton Jr. combine for 36 points in loss to the Leopards

AU men’s basketball falls to Lafayette in overtime thriller

Sa'eed Nelson, center, dribbles down the court during a men's basketball game in February 2018. 

AU men’s basketball lost to Lafayette in an overtime thriller in Bender Arena on Saturday, Jan. 19. Though sophomore forward Sam Iorio tied the game with a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left in regulation, the Eagles were not able to close out the game, falling 84-79. 

Turnovers hurt AU (8-9, 2-4 PL) in the match, as the Lafeyette Leopards were able to score 22 points off of 19 turnovers.

“That’s on us, our decision making, us sharing the ball and looking for each other, and staying with our offense more as opposed to trying to do something quickly,” said head coach Mike Brennan.

Lafayette’s Paulius Zalys led all scorers with 21 points. Guards Stacy Beckton Jr. and Sa’eed Nelson finished with 18 points each, a career-high for Beckton. Iorio added 17 points, shooting 5 for 11 from behind the arc. 

After entering the half trailing 33-28, the Eagles went on a 9-0 run towards the end of the second half to force overtime. The Eagles then got outscored 15-10.

“We had some chances, but we didn’t complete plays,” Brennan said. “[Lafayette] made shots. They finished plays. We had some decent looks, but then we did a couple things that we hadn’t practiced, and that hurt us.”

Junior center Mark Gasperini’s offensive struggles continued on Saturday, as the 6-10 big man shot just 1 for 7 from the field. 

“He just had a bad game,” Brennan said. “We ask a lot of him, and he’s not completely there yet to deliver on everything that we’re asking him to do … but he gets in there and goes after offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, plays hard, plays tough and we need that.” 

With the loss, AU is on a three-game losing streak and has fallen to seventh in the Patriot League standings. 

“Every game is a tough game, we’re right there with everybody in the league, but it doesn’t get easier, so you gotta be able to bounce back and compete, and it’s about who’s going to do that better,” Brennan said. 

The Eagles will travel to play Boston University on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Men’s basketball will then return to Bender to host a double header against Bucknell on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. The women’s team will play Lafayette at noon in Bender. 

mhashash@theeagleonline.com 


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