The American University men's basketball team battled through the end of regulation and into overtime but could not outlast Bucknell as the Bison took a 72-68 decision Wednesday night in Lewisburg, Pa. The Eagles trailed by just two with 15 seconds remaining in overtime after a pair of Daniel Munoz free throws but Bucknell's Bryson Johnson iced the game at the line in the final moments.
American (3-14, 0-2) and Bucknell (6-12, 1-1) traded the lead three times to open the game before the Eagles took a 12-8 advantage behind driving layups from Nick Hendra and Vlad Moldoveanu. Moldoveanu accounted for eight of American's 12 points as he also connected on his first two attempts from three. The Bison would even the score at 12 but only briefly as Hendra scored five straight to give American a 17-12 lead with 11:23 remaining.
Stephen Lumpkins extended the margin to 24-16 with a two-handed slam from the baseline. Bucknell pulled to within three, 28-25, on a Bryson Johnson three-pointer but his bucket was answered by a Lumpkins lay-in to move the score to 30-25 with 1:46 to play. After a Darryl Shazier three made it a two-point game, 30-28, Lumpkins again answered the call as he was fouled under the basket with two seconds remaining. The sophomore hit both free throws, giving American a 32-28 lead at the break.
Hendra led the Eagles with nine points in the first half while Lumpkins and Moldoveanu each chipped in eight. The trio shot a combined 10-of-19 from the field, helping American to a 43.3 percent mark in the frame. American also held a slight 19-18 advantage on the glass as Moldoveanu and Simon McCormack grabbed six boards and five boards, respectively. Patrick Behan had a team-high 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting for Bucknell despite the Bison shooting only 36.4 percent.
American opened a 37-30 lead as Munoz found McCormack in transition for an easy lay-in with 18:15 on the clock. Bucknell charged back with a 9-2 run capped off by a G.W. Boon three-pointer, giving the Bison their first lead since the 16:00 mark of the first half, 43-41. The Eagles trailed by as many as four points, 49-45, before Moldoveanu hit back-to-back three's to regain the lead, 51-49, with 6:09 to play. Bucknell tied the game at 51 on its next possession but a Moldoveanu baseline layup with 4:14 remaining gave the lead right back to American, 53-51.
Stephen Tyree scored four straight for the Bison as Bucknell went back on top by two, 55-53, with under four to play. This time it was Munoz answering for American as the freshman hit his first shot of the night to put the Eagles ahead, 56-55, with 2:35 to play. Behan would later tie the game at 56, hitting 1-of-2 from the line.
Hendra gave the Eagles a 59-56 advantage on a three from the top of the key with just 46 ticks remaining but it would not be enough as Johnson matched Hendra to tie the score at 59 with 0:32 remaining. American held the ball for the final shot but Moldoveanu's fade-away jumper from the baseline came up short, sending the game into overtime.
American struck first in the extra period with a McCormack layup but back-to-back baskets by Behan put Bucknell back out in front, 63-61. Hendra stepped up with a three from the right wing, making it a 64-63 game in American's favor, before Mike Muscala regained the lead for Bucknell, 65-64, with 1:35 on the clock. Muscala would go on to hit a long jumper with 0:41 left to put the bison up by three, 67-64.
Trailing by four, 68-64, Munoz earned a trip to the line and hit both of his free throws to bring American to within two, 68-66, with 0:15 to play. It was as close as the Eagles would come, however, as Johnson hit four straight from the line to secure the victory, 72-68.
Moldoveanu recorded his second straight double-double in the loss with 19 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. The junior hit 4-of-9 attempts from three and added two assists while playing a career-best 41 mintues. Hendra finished his night with 15 point, six rebounds and five assists in a career-high 42 minutes. Munoz dished out a career-high six helpers to go along with five points and four rebounds. Lumpkins totaled 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
The Eagles shot 41.3 percent from the field while holding Bucknell to 39.7 percent. The Bison, however, connected on 4-of-6 attempts in overtime and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. American also outrebounded Bucknell, 39-35, while holding a 30-26 advantage in points in the paint. Bucknell was led by Behan's 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting and Johnson's 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting.
American will be back in action on Sunday, January 17, as the team returns to Bender Arena to face Colgate live on CBS College Sports. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Tickets are still available for Sunday's game and can be purchased by calling (202) 885-TIXX or by clicking here.