The Boston University Terriers have struggled against American guard Sa’eed Nelson before. In the conference play opener on the road, Nelson led the Eagles to a 86-74 win at home with 30 points and six assists to lead the Eagles.
In their second matchup of the season, the Terriers brought a better fight. But it was again Nelson and the Eagles who took home the victory, as American University defeated BU, 70-66, at Case Gym on Wednesday evening.
“He’s tough,” head coach Joe Jones said. “He has another gear to him. He’s got a—I don’t want to say NBA quick, if you want to say that, but he’s got that level of explosiveness to his game.”
Nelson was electric for the Eagles (9-9, 3-4 Patriot League) all evening, slashing his way through the Terriers defense, quickly amassing 10 points, five assists and three steals by halftime.
The 6’2″, 190-pound guard finished with 26 points and five steals on just 12 field goal attempts.
“He got some in transition, he got some off turnovers,” Jones said. “He’s a very good player, but I thought the turnovers and him scoring in the open court were big. … He’s just explosive. He’s quick.”
Led by Nelson’s give steals, the Eagles recorded 12 steals for the night and forced 18 turnovers against the Terriers (9-11, 2-5 PL), who only managed to post six assists.
“If we don’t turnover the ball like we did, we’re in much better shape,” Jones said. “Our decision making wasn’t just very good, [and] we struggled to make quicker decisions that we needed to. I thought that really factored in.”
Facing an early 12-point deficit in the first half, the game remained close junior forward Max Mahoney’s and-one sparked a 15-2 run that helped the Terriers stay close for majority of the evening.
“I feel for the guys,” head coach Joe Jones said. “We’ve obviously been struggling, [but] I thought tonight was a start because I thought we battled.”
Terriers have lost four of their last five games, but Jones said his focus is on the taking away the positives from the game—like the 35-21 advantage on the rebounds—and keep battling.
“We’ve just got to keep fighting,” Jones said. “What else are you gonna do?”