Junior Vlad Moldoveanu scored a career-high 37 points Wednesday night to lead the American University men's basketball team to a 69-59 victory over Navy in Bender Arena. Moldoveanu was 10-of-17 from the floor, 3-of-6 from three, 14-of-15 from the free-throw line and added nine rebounds. The victory extended American's home Patriot League winning streak to 20 games.
Moldoveanu opened the game with a layup but the Eagles missed four of their next five attempts to fall behind, 10-4. The reigning Patriot League Player of the Week took over the game from that point, quickly tying the game at 10 with back-to-back three-pointers from the right wing. With the game tied at 18, Moldoveanu hit a layup off a feed from Daniel Fisher, putting American (6-15, 3-3) ahead for good with 6:26 to play.
The junior scored five straight points, all from the free-throw line, following the layup to extend American's advantage to 25-18 with 4:39 remaining. Jordan Sugars cut Navy's (9-12, 3-3) deficit to four, 25-21, the closest the Midshipmen would get for the remainder of the period. Stephen Lumpkins regained a six-point lead for the Eagles with a layup off a Steve Luptak feed and was followed by a Luptak three-pointer to make it a 30-21 game with 1:19 on the clock. Navy added two free throws with just over one minute to go, sending the team's into the locker room with the Eagles on top, 30-23.
Moldoveanu accounted for 21 of American's 30 points in the first half, connecting on 5-of-8 attempts from the field, 2-of-3 from three and 9-of-10 from the line. He scored 10 straight points for the Eagles during one four-plus minute stretch stretch and added a second similar stretch of nine straight. As a team, American outshot the Midshipmen 48.6 percent to 36.4 percent and held a slight 18-15 advantage on the glass.
Moldoveanu picked up where he left off after the break, connecting on his first two attempts from the line to put American up by nine, 32-23. After a Lumpkins lay-in regained a nine-point margin for the Eagles, Navy went on to score seven straight points to cut the lead to 36-34 with 13:12 remaining. Moldoveanu answered back with a layup of his own to end the stretch but a Chris Harris three-point play brought Navy to within one, 38-37, with 12:57 on the clock.
Riley Grafft hit three straight shots as the teams traded baskets back and forth over the next three-plus minutes. Still leading by one, 46-45, Moldoveanu began a 6-0 American run with a jumper in the paint, helping the Eagles to take a 52-45 advantage. Sugars brought the Midshipmen back to within six with 3:56 to play, 59-53, before a Moldoveanu three-point play pushed the lead back to nine, 62-53.
Navy never got closer than within six points of the lead down the stretch as American led by as many as 11, 68-57, off a pair of Lumpkins free throws. A Daniel Munoz freebie with 40 seconds remaining gave the Eagles the final margin, 69-59.
Moldoveanu finished the evening with 37 points, nine rebounds and one assist. He was 10-of-17 from the floor, 3-of-6 from three and connected on 14-of-15 attempts from the line. Moldoveanu's 37 points are the most scored by an Eagle since Andre Ingram, '07, scored 37 in a 93-89 overtime loss at Lafayette on February 19, 2005. His 14 free throws are tied for the eighth most free throws made in a single game in program history.
Lumpkins added 14 points to the winning effort. He shot 6-of-11 from the floor and grabbed six rebounds. Grafft scored eight points on 4-of-4 shooting while Simon McCormack notched four points, four assists and six rebounds.
The Eagles shot 62.5 percent from the floor in the second half, connecting on 15-of-24 attempts. They finished the game shooting 53.3 percent while holding the Midshipmen to 38.5 percent. American also outrebounded Navy by a margin of 35-23, marking the sixth time this season the Eagles have held a +10 margin on the glass.
With the victory, American extended its home winning streak against Patriot League opponents to 20 games. The streak began on February 10, 2008, with an 82-74 win over Lehigh and includes six Patriot League Tournament victories.
American will return to action on Saturday, January 30, at 1:00 p.m. at Lafayette. The game will broadcast live on RCN 8 (Washington) and simulcast on Patriot League All-Access.