Second Half Surge Pushes Men's Basketball Past Colgate, 73-63

Second Half Surge Pushes Men's Basketball Past Colgate, 73-63

The American University men's basketball team weathered seven lead changes to earn a 73-63 victory over Colgate on Sunday in Bender Arena. Stephen Lumpkins scored a team-high 19 points, including 12 in the second half, to help push American to the win.

Colgate (6-12, 1-2) took a 5-2 lead to open the game before a 9-0 American (4-14, 1-2) run gave the Eagles the advantage, 11-5. Vlad Moldoveanu  chipped in five points during the stretch, including a tough angled layup to cap it off. Colgate answered back with five straight points to make it a one point game, 11-10, with 11:19 to play.

The teams exchanged blows over the next five-plus minutes as American's lead ranged from as many as four points to as little as one. Colgate finally regained the lead, 18-17, off a Ben Johnson layup but a Daniel Munoz three-pointer on the team's next possession put the Eagles back on top, 20-18, with 5:21 remaining. The lead would change hands three more times before the end of the period with Colgate holding the final margin, 30-27.

Lumpkins led the Eagles with seven points in the first half, connecting on 2-of-5 attempts from the floor and 3-of-4 from the line. Riley Grafft, Steve Luptak and Moldoveanu each added five points with Grafft grabbing five rebounds and Moldoveanu four. American held a 17-15 advantage in rebounds at the break and received 10 points off the bench compared to zero for Colgate. The Raiders were able to connect on 41.7 percent of their shot attempts in the frame led by 13 points from Yaw Gyawu and 10 from Johnson.

Lumpkins carried the load for American early in the second half as he chipped in five straight points to help regain the lead. He scored on a layup with 14:44 to play to put the Eagles ahead 34-32 and then hit another shot in the paint to put American on top 36-34. With the game tied at 36, Joe Hill hit an open three from the right wing, making it a 39-36 game, and giving the Eagles the lead for a final time.

Luptak connected on a three from the left baseline to extend American's margin to 42-36 and was followed by a Molodveanu trifecta to push the advantage to seven, 45-38. Colgate brought the score to within three, 48-45, but a Moldoveanu three-point play pushed the tally to 51-45.

The Raiders hung close until a Luptak four-point play gave American a nine-point cushion, 57-48, with 3:43 remaining. Moldoveanu extended the lead to 11, 60-49, on his third three of the day before Lumpkins gave the Eagles their largest lead, 64-51, with a two-handed slam in transition. Simon McCormack and Luptak helped to seal the win at the free-throw line down the stretch before the final buzzer sounded the American victory, 73-63.

Lumpkins netted a team-high 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor. The junior also grabbed five rebounds, dished out two assists and matched his career-high with four blocks. Luptak finished with a career-high 18 points on 4-of-6 shooting while going 3-of-4 from three and 7-of-7 from the line. Moldoveanu chipped in 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting with seven rebounds and two assists. Nick Hendra recorded a new career-high with six assists and added seven rebounds.

The Eagles shot an impressive 60.9 percent from the floor in the second half and finished the game shooting at a 46.9 percent clip. The Eagles held Colgate to 37.5 percent for the game and outrebounded the Raiders 36-29. Gyawu led all scorers with 22 points while Kyle Roemer notched 19.

American will return to the court on Wednesday, January 20, as the team heads north to face Army in West Point, N.Y. Tipoff from Christl Arena is set for 7:00 p.m.