Sophomore Stephen Lumpkins scored eight of his team-high 15 points during a four-minute stretch in the second half as American attempted to battle back from a double-digit deficit but it was not enough as the University of Maryland Eastern Shore held on for a 65-58 victory Saturday afternoon in Princess Anne, Md.
Ameican was held scoreless for nearly five minutes to begin the game but a strong defensive effort kept UMES from building a lead. Riley Grafft netted the Eagles first points with an easy lay-in off a Lumpkins feed to move the score to 4-2 before a Lumpkins three-point play put American on top, 7-6, with 12:31 remaining. The Hawks evened the score at 11 with a Tim Burns three-pointer but on the Eagles' next trip down the court Nick Hendra opened a 14-11 lead with his first trey of the afternoon.
American held a four-point advantage, 21-17, following a Simon McCormack backdoor layup from Grafft with 2:21 on the clock. UMES, however, used a 15-4 run over the final two-plus minutes to take a 32-25 lead into the break. Burns scored six points during the stretch which was capped off by a Kevin White three-pointer from the backcourt as time expired.
Burns led all scorers in the first half, tallying 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor. McCormack recorded a team-high eight points on 3-of-4 shooting for the Eagles while Lumpkins chipped in seven points. American shot 39.1 percent in the frame against 41.4 percent for the Hawks.
UMES opened the second half on a 5-0 run and took a 37-25 lead off a James Cotton layup with 18:19 to play. Daniel Munoz ended the Hawks spurt with a pull-up jumper in transition and followed that up by dishing off to Grafft for a dunk in transition, cutting the margin to 37-29. Munoz found Steve Luptak for a spot-up three moments later, bringing the score to within five, 39-34, with 15:10 remaining.
Lumpkins sparked a 12-2 American run by scoring five points within a 32 second span, moving the score to 43-41 with 11:22 on the clock. The Eagles tied the score at 45 on a Blake Jolivette jumper and then took their first lead since the waning moments of the first half, 46-45, on a Lumpkins free throw. The sophomore forward added one more bucket on the Eagles next trip down the court to give American a 48-45 advantage with 7:45 to play. In total, Lumpkins scored eight of American's 12 points during the stretch.
Sean Berry put UMES back in the lead, 49-48, with a putback off a missed jumper and then converted a three-point play to push the score to 52-49 in favor of the Hawks. American scored on consecutive trips down the court to cut the margin to one but was answered each time by a UMES basket to regain the three-point spread. A pair of White free throws pushed UMES's advantage to five, 60-55, but a Hendra spot-up three from the corner pulled American to within two, 60-58, with just 1:54 remaining.
Trailing by four, 62-58, American had an opportunity to pull within one but Grafft's three-point attempt was no good and the rebound went to UMES. The Hawks would tack on three more points down the stretch to take the victory, 65-58.
Lumpkins scored a team-high 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting. The sophomore also chipped in nine rebounds, three blocks and one assist. Hendra recorded 11 points and three rebounds while McCormack chipped in 10 points and six rebounds. As a team, the Eagles shot 44.2 percent from the floor while limiting UMES to 39.7 percent shooting. Burns and Neal Pitt each notched 16 points with White adding 13.
American will return to Bender Arena on Tuesday, December 1, against cross-town rival Howard at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live locally on RCN Cable as well as online via Eagles Vision TV. Tickets to Tuesday's game are on-sale now and can be purchased by clicking here.