Video Highlights (ALL VIDEO)
The American University men's basketball team fought back from a double-digit Florida Atlantic lead but could not overcome the deficit as the Owls held on for an 81-67 win in Bender Arena Saturday. Sophomore Stephen Lumpkins scored a career-high 23 points in the loss with nine rebounds.
Florida Atlantic (2-1) sprinted out to a 5-0 lead following a Sanchez Hughley three-pointer and Brett Royster dunk on its first two possessions of the game. Lumpkins, who accounted for each of the Eagles first five points, cut the team's deficit to one, 6-5. Florida Atlantic would then extend its lead back to 10-5 as Hughley converted a three-point play and then further pushed its lead to 12-5 on Hughley's third basket of the afternoon with 11:29 to play.
Mike Bersch began an Eagles comeback with a pair of free throws which were followed by a Nick Hendra layup and Simon McCormack freebie, bringing American (0-4) to within four, 16-12. FAU later responded with an 11-0 run over a three-minute span, earning the Owls a 33-18 lead with 1:43 remaining. Daniel Munoz hit a pair of free throws with just over one minute to play, bringing the score to 33-20, but a Raymond Taylor three-pointer with three seconds remaining gave Florida Atlantic its largest lead of the half, 36-20 as the teams went into halftime.
American hit just 26.1 percent (6-23) of its shots in the first half and went 0-of-4 from behind the arc. Lumpkins contributed a team-high seven points in the frame with two rebounds and one assist while Matthew Wilson chipped in four points and two boards.
FAU used an 11-4 run coming out of the intermission to extend its lead to as many as 23 points, 47-23. American still trailed by 22 with 11:05 to go but began a remarkable comeback after a Lumpkins layup brought the score to 57-37. The basket began a four-minute stretch in which the Eagles outscored the Owls 15-1, including six points scored by Blake Jolivette and five by Lumpkins. Jolivette capped the run off with a three pointer off a Hendra feed, which brought the score to 58-50 with 7:50 to play.
Florida Atlantic regained a 14 point advantage on a Jordan McCoy bucket, 64-50, and was still in control with a 13 point lead, 70-57, with 3:50 remaining. A Wilson jumper on American's ensuing possession sparked a second Eagles run in which American outscored FAU 10-1 and cut its deficit to four, 71-67, with 1:15 to play. The Owls, however, ended American's comeback attempt by scoring 10 of the game's final 12 points to take the victory by a final margin of 81-69.
Lumpkins recorded a career-high in points for the third straight game, scoring a game-high 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor. The sophomore also grabbed nine rebounds in a career-high 36 minutes. Jolivette added a season-best 13 points to go with four assists and four rebounds while Bersch contributed 10 points. American improved upon its field goal percentage from the first half, shooting 17-of-34 in the second, but an uncharacteristic 20-of-35 performance from the line hindered the Eagles comeback.
Hughley scored a team-high 15 points for FAU with 10 rebounds, leading a quintet of Owls in double-digits. As a team, Florida Atlantic shot 42.6 percent (26-61) and was 8-of-16 from behind the arc.
American will return to action on Monday, November 23, against Fairfield in Bender Arena with tipoff between the Eagles and Stags set for 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the game are on-sale now and can be purchased by calling (202) 885-TIXX or by clicking here.
Fans unable to attend Monday's game can catch all of the action live on the new Eagles Vision TV channel, featuring expert analysis from the Eagles' broadcast team of Dan Laing and Jeremy Huber, multiple camera angles and a live scoreboard. To sign up for Eagles Vision TV today, click here.