The American University men's basketball team could not outlast Fairfield on Monday night as the Stags took a 72-56 win in Bender Arena. Stephen Lumpkins and Nick Hendra scored a team-high 14 points for American but a strong second half performance by Fairfield helped the Stags overcome a 29-27 halftime deficit.
American (0-5) took a 7-4 lead early in the first half following a Hendra offensive rebound and layup but an 8-2 run by the Stags gave them a 12-9 advantage with 13:33 to play. Riley Grafft evened the score at 12 with a putback before a Lumpkins 15-foot jumper put the Eagles back on top, 14-12. The lead was short lived as Fairfield (3-1) responded with an 8-2 stretch, which included six straight points scored by Anthony Johnson, to regain a 20-14 lead at the nine-minute mark.
American bounced back with an offensive outburst, scoring 10 straight points for a 24-20 lead. Lumpkins began the run with a midrange jumper before back-to-back three-pointers by Mike Bersch and Steve Luptak pushed the score to 22-20. Daniel Munoz capped the run off with 4:18 remaining on an open drive to the basket.
A putback by Grafft and a Hendra three-pointer helped American to a 29-24 lead with 13 seconds left in the half. Mike Evanovich, however, had just enough time to get off a three before the buzzer sounded, bringing the score to 29-27 in favor of the Eagles at the intermission.
American outshot Fairfield 47.8 percent to 33.3 percent in the frame and outrebounded the Stags by a margin of 21-14. Lumpkins led the team in scoring at the break with seven points and five rebounds while Grafft and Hendra each chipped in six points and five boards.
Fairfield went on the first run of the second half, taking a 37-32 advantage on the strength of a 10-3 run. Ryan Olander and Yorel Hawkins each scored five points during the stretch. American continued to battle from behind and cut Fairfield's lead to just one, 39-38, on a Simon McCormack layin off a feed from Grafft. Fairfield was able to regain a 45-39 advantage as a pair of Lyndon Jordan free throws ended a quick 6-1 spurt for the Stags.
Hendra cut the Eagles deficit to 45-42 with his second three-pointer of the game but a Jordan trey on Fairfield's ensuing possession began an 8-0 run to push the score to 53-42 with 8:04 on the clock. The Stags' pressure defense began to wear down the Eagles in the waning minutes as American was unable to cut the deficit below 10. Fairfield led by as many as 19 points in the final minutes before taking the victory by the final margin of 72-56.
Lumpkins and Hendra each tallied a team-high 14 points for the Eagles. Lumpkins added nine rebounds while Hendra tallied seven boards, two assists and one steal. American shot 44.0 percent for the game and outrebounded the Stags by a margin of 37-27. Fairfield, however, shot 63.0 percent from the floor in the second half while outscoring American, 45-27. Hawkins netted a game-high 18 points and Evanovich tallied 11.
American will conclude its current five-game homestand on Wednesday, November 25, against Manhattan at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the game are still available and can be purchased by calling (202) 885-TIXX or by clicking here.
Fans unable to attend Wednesday's game can catch all of the action live on Eagles Vision TV 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.