The American University men's basketball team fell at Lehigh Sunday night, 79-57, in the semifinal round of the Patriot League Tournament. Stephen Lumpkins led the Eagles with a 15 point, nine rebound performance but the Mountain Hawks' transition game gave Lehigh the edge.
Lehigh (21-10, 10-4) sprinted out to an 11-0 lead just under three minutes in before a Nick Hendra three and Simon McCormack jumper ended the spurt and brought the score to 11-5. A second Hendra three pulled American (11-20, 7-7) to within three, 11-8, capping off an 8-0 run for the Eagles. Lehigh responded with seven straight points and after a Michael Ojo three held an 18-10 lead with 9:17 to play. The Mountain Hawks used a 10-2 run late in the half to pull out to a 33-18 advantage and took a 39-21 margin into the locker room at the break.
Hendra led all scorers in the first half with 11 points, connecting on 4-of-7 attempts from the field and 3-of-5 from three. Lumpkins added five points and four rebounds. The Eagles shot just 33.3 percent in the half compared to 50.0 percent from Lehigh and trailed the Mountain Hawks 14-0 in points off turnovers.
Lehigh scored seven straight points to begin the second half, opening a 44-21 lead with 17:09 remaining. A McCormack jumper followed by a Steve Luptak three made it a 48-30 game but a 7-2 stretch by the Mountain Hawks pushed the score to 55-32. Back-to-back Luptak three-pointers again pulled American to within 18, 55-38, with 11:32 on the clock.
American trailed 68-44 before a 10-3 spurt made it a 71-54 game with 3:57 remaining. Lumpkins and Luptak each scored five points during the stretch with Lumpkins netting the first five and Luptak adding the second five. The Eagles were unable to pull any closer, however, as Lehigh closed out the game on an 8-3 run for the final 79-57 margin.
Lumpkins scored 10 points in the second half to finish with a team-high 15. The sophomore was 6-of-9 from the field, 3-of-4 from the line and grabbed nine rebounds, narrowly missing his fourth straight double-double. Luptak scored all 14 of his points in the second half, shooting 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-6 from three while adding three assists. Hendra finished with 11 points, two rebounds and two steals while Matthew Wilson notched seven points, six rebounds and three assists.
American shot 40.0 percent from the field for the game and held a 34-33 advantage on the glass. Lehigh, meanwhile, scored at a 47.2 percent pace and outscored the Eagles 26-9 off turnovers and 16-0 in transition. Four Moutain Hawks scored in double-digits led by CJ McCollum who netted a game-high 22 points.