The American University men's basketball team defeated Lafayette on Saturday in Easton, Pa., 76-66, marking the team's 11th straight victory over the Leopards. The Eagles were led by a 21-point performance from Vlad Moldoveanu as Stephen Lumpkins added 13 points, Nick Hendra tallied 12 and Daniel Munoz notched 10.
American came out firing and connected on each of its first four attempts to take a 10-5 lead. Lumpkins began the scoring with a two-handed slam off a Simon McCormack feed and was followed by spot-up three's from Daniel Munoz and Hendra. Munoz finished off the stretch with a runner in the lane. Lafayette made it an 11-9 game after a Jared Mintz three-point play but six straight points scored by Moldoveanu, including a four-point play, put the Eagles out in front, 17-9, with 13:43 to play.
An 8-0 Lafayette run allowed the Leopards to tie the score at 23 before a pair of Jeff Kari free throws extended the run to 10-0 and put Lafayette ahead 25-23. McCormack ended the stretch with an uncontested layup, evening the score at 25 with 5:00 remaining. American regained an advantage, 29-28, off a Riley Grafft jumper and extended its margin to four points, 32-38, with a Munoz three on the next possession. Jim Mower pulled Lafayette back to within two, 35-33, on a three-pointer with just under 1:00 remaining where the score would remain heading into the intermission.
Munoz led all scorers at the break with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, already surpassing his previous career-high of eight points. Moldoveanu added six points in the half while Lumpkins and McCormack each notched five. The Eagles shot 52.0 percent in the frame, connecting on 13-of-25 attempts, while Lafayette shot 47.8 percent from the field led by Mower's eight points. American also held a 14-11 advantage on the glass but was outscored 8-3 in second-chance points.
Hendra scored eight straight points for American out of the break, helping the Eagles to a 43-38 lead. The junior hit a pair of three-pointers on the team's first two possessions and then added an uncontested layup off a Lumpkins feed. Lumpkins later pushed American's advantage to nine points, 51-42, with his second dunk of the day off a Steve Luptak feed with 12:00 to play.
Mintz scored eight points during an 11-2 Lafayette run and hit a pair of free throws with 7:51 remaining to tie the score at 53. On American's next possession, however, Joe Hill drained a three from well beyond the arc to put the eagles back out in front, 56-53. Lumpkins followed Hill's bucket with a layup and another two-handed slam, moving the score to 60-55 in favor of the Eagles.
Lafayette got back to within three on a Kari free throw but a Lumpkins lay-in off a feed from Moldoveanu regained a five point lead for American, 65-60, with 2:49 to play. Moldoveanu then all but locked up the victory as his three-pointer with 1:04 on the clock made it a 70-61 game. The junior added four free throws down the stretch as the final buzzer sounded the American victory, 76-66.
Moldoveanu reached 20 points for a fourth straight contest, scoring a game-high 21. He was 7-of-12 from the field and added six rebounds, one assist and one steal. Lumpkins' 13 points came on 6-of-8 shooting with eight rebounds and a career-high five assists. Hendra scored 12 points to go along with eight boards as he matched his career-high of six assists. Munoz tallied 10 points while Hill chipped in nine.
American outshot the Leopards 52.8 percent to 44.2 percent, shooting over 50.0 percent for a second straight game. The Eagles also dished out 22 assists, marking the third straight game the team has combined for 20 assists or more. The victory improves American's record to 4-3 in the conference, moving the team into second place.
American will return to action on Saturday, February 6, when its puts its 20-game home Patriot League winning streak on the line against Lehigh. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Tickets are currently available for the game and can be purchased by clicking here.
Note: Today's game will be re-aired by MASN Sunday, January 31, at 3:00 p.m.