American University head men's basketball coach Jeff Jones earned his 300th career win on Saturday as the Eagles defeated Holy Cross, 71-64, in Bender Arena. American was led by Stephen Lumpkins who recorded his third double-double of the season with 17 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.
American (5-15, 2-3) used a 7-0 run to break a 6-6 tie and go on top 13-6 with 13:59 remaining. Nick Hendra capped off the run with a three-pointer after Simon McCormack pulled down an offensive rebound to give the Eagles an extra possession. Holy Cross (5-15, 2-3) cut American's lead to two, 15-13, on an Eric Meister layup but the Eagles answered back with a Lumpkins jumper and McCormack layup to go back ahead by six, 19-13.
Holy Cross took its first lead of the afternoon with 7:55 to play, 21-20, on back-to-back three's by Devin Brown. Vlad Moldoveanu gave the advantage right back to American though with a layup off a feed from Daniel Munoz. Two possessions later, Lumpkins made it a four-point game in American's favor, 25-21, with 6:06 on the clock. The Crusaders were able to regain the lead with just over four minutes to go, 26-25, and led by as many as three late in the period, 28-25, but five straight points scored by Munoz put the Eagles back on top, 30-28.
R.J. Evans scored on a layup in transition with 1:08 remaining to even the game at 30. The Eagles held the ball for a final shot but Hendra's three-point attempt was off the mark, sending the teams into the intermission tied 30-30.
Lumpkins scored 10 points in the first half on 4-of-5 shooting and added eight rebounds and two assists. Both McCormack and Moldoveanu notched six points in the frame with three rebounds. The Eagles shot a combined 46.2 percent from the floor while Holy Cross connected on 42.3 percent of its attempts. Brown led all scorers at the break with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
The teams traded baskets early to open the second half but it was the Eagles who first grabbed hold of the momentum, scoring five straight points on a Joe Hill three-pointer and Lumpkins lay-in to take a 39-34 lead. Holy Cross cut its deficit to one, 39-38, on a jumper from Andrew Beinert before a 9-0 American stretch extended the margin to 10, 48-38. Moldoveanu sparked the run with seven straight points and gave American its first double-digit lead of the game with 9:52 to play.
Hill's second three of the afternoon made it a 55-45 game and with 4:48 remaining before Lumpkins gave the Eagles their largest lead of the day, 58-47, with a layup in the paint. The Crusaders later cut the margin to five with 2:43 on the clock, 59-54, behind the strength of a 7-1 stretch. Moldoveanu hit four straight free-throws to push the score to 63-54 but a three-point play by Evans brought Holy Cross to within three with under 1:00 to play, 67-64. Forced to foul, the Crusaders put the Eagles at the free-throw line down the stretch where Munoz, Hendra and Moldoveanu combined to hit 4-of-6 freebies and seal the victory, 71-64.
The win marked the 300th career victory for Jones who is now in his 18th season as a head coach. Jones has recorded 154 wins in 10 seasons at American after notching 146 wins in eight seasons at his alma mater, the University of Virginia. Last season, he became the all-time winningest coach in American history, passing Stafford Cassell's previous mark of 142 wins.
Lumpkins registered his third double-double of the season to lead American, tallying 17 points and grabbing a career-high 15 rebounds. The sophomore shot 7-of-10 from the field and added three assists and two blocks to his stat line. Moldoveanu scored a game-high 20 points for the Eagles on 6-of-13 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and a career-high five assists. Hendra and McCormack each turned in a 10-point performance while Hendra also dished out five assists. Munoz scored eight points with five assists.
American finished the game shooting 46.9 percent from the field and outrebound Holy Cross by a margin of 39-29. The Eagles turned up the defensive pressure in the second half, holding the Crusaders to 11-of-31 shooting, as Holy Cross shot just 38.6 percent for the day. Brown scored a team-high 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting to lead the Crusaders while Beinert chipped in 15 points and Evans 14.
American will return to action on Wednesday, January 27, against Navy. Tipoff from Bender Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.