Another strong showing from the men’s basketball bench

AU bench combines for 20 in victory over Holy Cross

Another strong showing from the men’s basketball bench
Josh Alexander (#21) during a game against Holy Cross on Jan. 18.

In AU men’s basketball’s 81-69 victory over Holy Cross on Saturday, players off the Eagles’ bench continued to offer solid contributions to the team. 

With a combined 20 points, the Eagles’ bench outscored their counterparts on the Crusaders by 14, hitting the shots that came their way in a balanced scoring effort from AU in the victory. 

Sophomore guard Connor Nelson, fresh off of hitting a game-winner in the Eagle’s previous victory over Bucknell and a 19-point game against Lehigh in the game prior, continued to shine on Saturday. Nelson made timely plays throughout the game, with three steals as well as a key 3-pointer with three minutes left. The shot extended AU’s lead into the double digits, effectively ending Holy Cross’s last attempt to get back into the game. 

Sophomore forward Josh Alexander provided solid play down low throughout the game, grabbing four rebounds and 5 points in relief. Alexander had a couple of solid finishes in the paint, including one in the second half to help fend off a Holy Cross run. 

Freshman Ben Lubarsky, after not playing in the previous game against Bucknell, hit three open jumpers and a pair of free throws in his 13 minutes of playing time.

“Ben didn’t play at all in the last game,” said head coach Mike Brennan. “After that game, he was in the gym, 10 o’clock at night putting himself through a hard workout. He prepares himself and he’s ready, so I feel confident throwing him in there.”

Teams become very difficult to defend when they can get consistent all-around scoring contributions from every player on the team. In addition to the bench, Sa’eed Nelson scored 21 points and fellow starters Stacy Beckton Jr. and Mark Gasperini pitched in with 13. Shots were falling everywhere from the Eagles as they shot 61.5 percent from the field, and there was little Holy Cross could do to stop them.

“It’s amazing,” said Nelson when asked about the Eagles’ all-around scoring effort. “It makes the game easier, [it] takes a lot off me knowing that these guys can convert, and they’re really capable of doing that.”

AU’s next game comes on the road against Loyola University Maryland on Wednesday, providing another opportunity for this Eagles’ bench to contribute in a big way.

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