A career-high 18 point performance by Nick Hendra helped propel the American University men's basketball team to a 76-68 victory at Brown Saturday afternoon in Providence, R.I. Vlad Moldoveanu contributed 15 points in the victory as Stephen Lumpkins notched his second career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
An old fashioned shootout erupted over the course of the game's first seven-plus minutes as the two teams combined for 35 points on 14-of-26 shooting. Moldoveanu connected on his first two three-point attempts to give American (3-11) a 6-4 lead and was followed by consecutive treys from Hendra which pushed the score to 12-9. Daniel Munoz later buried a three from the left wing to push the score to 17-11. Lumpkins capped off the scoring outburst with a putback off a Hendra miss to put the Eagles on top 19-16 with 12:31 remaining.
American's hot start continued as Joe Hill sank a pair of three-pointers to give the Eagles a 29-22 advantage. Hendra gave American its largest lead of the half, 36-27, with his third trifecta of the frame with 3:10 on the clock. Brown (5-9) finished the half on a slight 5-3 run, sending the teams into the intermission with American in front, 39-32.
Moldoveanu had 14 points at the break on 6-of-10 shooting, leading the Eagles to a combined 15-of-31 performance from the floor. American connected on 8-of-14 three-point attempts in the frame, including a 3-of-6 effort from Hendra who totaled nine points, four rebounds and three assists. The Eagles forced eight Brown turnovers on the defensive end but a 12-of-23 shooting performance by the Bears held them in the game.
The Eagles quickly pushed their advantage to 44-32 with five straight points to begin the second half. Brown closed the margin to 46-39 with a 7-2 run but had their stretch ended by a Lumpkins basket in the paint, making it a 48-39 game with 13:28 remaining. Peter Sullivan later scored all eight points during an 8-2 Brown run as the Bears cut their deficit to just three, 54-51, with 8:36 to play.
American responded to Brown's run with a 5-0 spurt of its own, reopening a 59-51 lead. Hendra scored four straight points to help keep the margin at eight before the Bears rattled off five straight points to close the gap to 63-60 with 4:07 on the clock. Hendra hit a three from the top of the key to push the score to 68-62 in favor of the Eagles with 1:36 remaining but the Bears answered with a three of their own on the ensuing possession to put the score at 68-65.
A Lumpkins layup with 1:00 made it a five-point game, 70-65, and gave the Eagles enough breathing room to ice it at the foul line down the stretch. Munoz, Simon McCormack, and Matthew Wilson each contributed from the line in the final 36 seconds as American emerged with the 76-68 victory.
Hendra led the Eagles with 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting while going 4-of-8 from behind the arc. The junior added six rebounds, four assists and one steal in 35 minutes of action. Lumpkins notched his second career double-double and second of the year with 13 points and 11 rebounds. He also contributed a career-high three assists, three steals and one block. Moldoveanu finished the afternoon with 15 points, two rebounds, two assists and one block.
The Eagles shot just 12-of-29 in the second half, including going 1-of-3 from long range, but finished the afternoon shooting 45.0 percent from the field and a season-high 52.9 percent from three. Brown was limited to 9-of-28 shooting in the second half and shot 41.2 percent for the game. American held a 20-9 advantage in points off turnovers, forcing the Browns to turn it over 16 times, and outrebounded the Bears by a margin of 36-34.
American will return to action on Monday, January 4, as they continue their northern road trip at Columbia. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.