The American University men's basketball team connected on eight three-pointers in the second half but could not overcome its double-digit deficit in a 76-60 loss at Florida on Monday in Gainesville, Fla. A Joe Hill three-pointer with 1:33 to play brought American to within 10 after trailing by as many as 23 points but it was as close as the Eagles would come down the stretch.
Florida's (9-3) Alex Tyus scored the game's first seven points as the Gators jumped out to a 9-0 lead. A Blake Jolivette three-pointer with 11:35 remaining cut the deficit to 16-10 before Vernon Macklin scored six straight points to push the score to 22-10. Four consecutive points scored by Stephen Lumpkins and Nick Hendra moved the score to 29-16 but the Gators closed out the half on a 10-2 run to take a 39-18 advantage into the intermission.
Hendra led the Eagles with five points and three rebounds at the break. American (2-11) was limited to just 4-of-20 shooting in the half while Florida connected on 15-of-32 attempts. The Gators held a 23-2 advantage in the paint as Tyus and Macklin each scored 12 points in the frame.
American connected on its first three attempts of the second half but each bucket was answered at the other end of the court. The Eagles moved the score to 47-30 off a Vlad Moldoveanu three and Hendra driving layup before Florida reopened a 53-31 advantage with 11:11 to play. An 11-4 American run made it a 57-42 game as Hendra, Hill and Moldoveanu hit from behind the arc on three straight possessions.
The Eagles made a run at the Gators in the games waning moments but in the end were not able to overcome the deficit. Moldoveanu brought the score to 64-50 with a three and a Lumpkins two-handed slam made it a 68-55 game with 2:16 to play. American got to as close as 10 points, 68-58, on a Hill three in transition with 1:33 to play but the Gators held off American's surge with an 8-2 run over the final minute-plus to take the 76-60 victory.
Hendra notched his second career double-double in the loss, scoring a team-high 15 points and grabbing a game and career-high 13 rebounds. The junior added two assists while playing 37 minutes. Moldoveanu notched 14 points, including 11 after the break, connecting on 5-of-9 shots from the floor and 4-of-6 from long-range. Hendra's double-double was the team's third of the season.
American finished the game shooting 38.8 percent from the field and made a season-high 10 attempts from beyond the arc. The Eagles also held a slight 37-36 advantage on the boards. Florida, however, shot 45.2 percent and owned a 41-12 advantage in the paint. Tyus led all scorers with 20 points while Kenny Boynton added 19 points and Macklin 18.
American will return to action Saturday, January 2, at Brown in the third game of the team's current six-game roadswing. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.