Vlad Moldoveanu hit an uncontested layup with 0:14 remaining in the second overtime on Wednesday to help the American University men's basketball team to an 80-77 double-overtime win at Navy. The Eagles fought back from down eight late in the second half and trailed by five early in the second overtime, but timely free-throw shooting and an aggressive defense helped American overcome its deficits.
American (9-19, 6-7) connected on five of its first eight attempts to jump out to a 12-6 lead. Stephen Lumpkins scored off an inbounds lob on the team's first possession to begin the scoring outburst and after a Moldoveanu jumper American led by a score of 9-4. A Daniel Munoz three-point play on the next trip down the court gave the Eagles their 12-6 edge with 15:48 to play.
Jordan Sugars scored five straight points for Navy (13-15, 7-6) as the Midshipmen charged back to tie the game at 16. American answered with a 7-0 run, capped off by a Simon McCormack three-point play to put the Eagles on top 23-16 with 8:09 remaining. American led by just two after a Chris Harris three-pointer, 23-21, but back-to-back baskets by Riley Grafft moved the score to 27-21. A pair of Moldoveanu free throws extended the Eagles advantage further, putting American up 29-21 with 5:29 on the clock. The two teams traded baskets the rest of the way before a Lumpkins putback at the buzzer gave American a 38-30 lead at the break.
Lumpkins led the way for the Eagles with 13 first-half points, scoring on 6-of-9 attempts from the field with six rebounds, one assists, one block and one steal. Moldoveanu added seven points, three assists and one steal while McCormack notched seven points, three rebounds and two steals. The Eagles shot 45.2 percent as a team against Navy's 37.9 percent and held a slight 20-17 advantage on the glass. American's biggest advantage came in the paint where it outscored the Midshipmen 22-10.
Moldoveanu and Nick Hendra scored on the Eagles' first two possessions of the second half to make it a 12-point game, 42-30. Navy scored the game's next eight points, however, and with 17:42 on the clock trailed by four, 42-38. Munoz stopped the run with a floater in the paint but back-to-back three's by Romeo Garcia and Harris evened the score at 44 with 13:20 remaining.
The Midshipmen took their first lead of the game off a Garcia jumper in transition, 48-46, but American quickly tied the game at 48 on a Lumpkins lay-in. Navy regained the lead with five straight points scored by Harris, 53-48, and with 5:31 to play held a 58-50 advantage. Two trips to the free-throw line helped the Eagles pull to within four, 58-54, and after a McCormack layup American trailed by just two, 58-56.
Matthew Wilson retied the game at 58 as he drove the right baseline for an uncontested layup. Moldoveanu put the Eagles back on top with a pair of free throws, 60-58, and following a McCormack fastbreak layup with 1:38 on the clock American held a 62-58 lead. Harris pulled Navy back to within two, 62-60, and later had a chance to tie it but Steve Luptak was able to draw a charge on Harris, turning the ball back over to the Eagles.
Hendra made it a three-point game as he hit the first of two free throws, 63-60, with 26 seconds to play. Navy answered with 0:20 remaining though on a three-point play by O.J. Avworo to tie it at 63 where the score would stand at the end of regulation.
Lumpkins scored the first basket of the overtime period to give American a quick 65-63 lead. A Sugars three-pointer gave the advantage back to Navy, 68-67, before a Munoz free throw with 2:31 remaining knotted the game at 68. American regained the lead, 69-68, on a McCormack free throw but a Greg Brown jumper with 1:12 to play put the Mids ahead, 70-69.
The Eagles tied the score once again at 70 with a Lumpkins free throw with just 0:26 on the clock. With time winding down Sugars banked a shot in from the left block, moving the score to 72-70 in favor of the Mids with 1.5 seconds to go. Out of a timeout, American went for it all with a full-court pass intended for Lumpkins but the ball was deflected by a Navy defender into the hands of Joe Hill just outside of the paint. Hill put up a quick runner as time expired which banked in, sending the game into a second overtime with the score tied at 72.
Navy opened the second overtime on a 5-0 run, taking a 77-72 lead with 3:16 remaining. American ended the Midshipmen's run with a pair of Moldoveanu free throws which began a 6-0 stretch for the Eagles to regain the lead, 78-77. Lumpkins knocked down two from the line to bring the score to 77-76 and Moldoveanu finished off the comeback on an uncontested layup with just 0:14 on the clock. Munoz added two free throws with 0:07 remaining, sealing the victory for American, 80-77.
Lumpkins scored a team-high 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to record his sixth double-double of the season. The junior shot 8-of-11 from the field, 5-of-7 from the line and added three assists, two blocks and one steal. Moldoveanu finished his evening with 19 points, connecting on 10-of-11 attempts from the line to go along with nine rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block. McCormack also reached double-digits with a career-high 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting while going 6-of-8 from the line with four rebounds, three steals and one assist.
American shot just 3-of-6 from the floor in the extra sessions but hit 11-of-16 free throws to earn the victory. The Eagles finished the game shooting 41.7 percent against Navy's 40.3 percent and added a season-high 29 points from the free-throw line. American also held a 45-40 advantage on the glass, a 40-22 margin in the paint and scored 19 points off turnovers against just nine from the Midshipmen. Harris scored a game-high 30 points on 11-of-22 shooting to lead Navy while Sugars added 25 points on 8-of-16 shooting with 12 boards.
American's victory pulled the team to within one game of Navy in the Patriot League standings for fourth place with one game to play. A win on Saturday coupled with a Navy loss will tie the teams at 7-7 in conference play with the Eagles holding the head-to-head tiebreaking advantage. The top four teams from the regular season earn the right to host the first round of the Patriot League Tournament.
American will return home to Bender Arena for its regular season finale this Saturday, February 27, at 4:00 p.m. against Lafayette. The game will be broadcast live nationally by CBS College Sports with the familiar Patriot League duo of Bob Socci and John Feinstein providing the call. Immediately preceding the game, American will honor its lone graduating student-athlete, Wilson, with a special "Senior Day" ceremony. Tickets to Saturday's game are still available and can be purchased by clicking here.