The American University men's basketball team advanced to the Patriot League Tournament Semifinals with a 69-53 victory over Colgate Wednesday night at Bender Arena. The Eagles will now host Lafayette on Sunday, March 6 at 5:00 p.m. live on CBS College Sports.
Vlad Moldoveanu led the way for American, finishing with 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting, while Stephen Lumpkins recorded 19 points and 15 boards to notch his third double-double in the last five games. Nick Hendra tied his career-high with nine assists, the ninth straight game in which he's dished out four assists or more. Yaw Gyawu and Nick Pascale led Colgate with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
"Well we did what we set out to do and that was win the game," Head Coach Jeff Jones said after the victory. "It wasn't always pretty and it certainly wasn't easy – Colgate is very well-coached and they created some problems for us, but Vlad had a fantastic game."
The two teams got off to an even start, as the score was tied three times in the game's first five minutes. Gyawu scored on a pair of strong moves, but a quick jumper by Troy Brewer evened the score at 6-6 with 15:55 remaining. On the ensuing possession for Colgate (7-23, 4-10), Brewer swatted away a Rolls layup and set the tone for the rest of the half, as he and Moldoveanu scored the next nine points for American (22-8, 11-3).
Joe Hoban converted a layup to pull the Raiders within 16-15 with 10:40 left in the half, but Charles Hinkle buried a three and then hit a pull-up jumper to stretch the lead to six. After a Lumpkins free throw, both teams slipped into an offensive funk and scored only four points apiece over the next 4:21. Back-to-back Raiders baskets kept the game close before a Moldoveanu layup in the closing seconds made it 29-23 American at halftime.
Moldoveanu led all scorers at the half with 13 points, while Lumpkins had seven points and seven rebounds. The Eagles held slim statistical advantages in both rebounds (18-16) and shooting percentage (42.3 percent – 37.0 percent) at the break.
Steve Luptak began the second half with a nice layup, but from that point on it was Lumpkins and Moldoveanu who accounted for 31 of American's final 38 points. Lumpkins finished an easy dunk at the 17:17 mark, knocked down a pair of free throws and converted a layup to put the Eagles up nine, 41-33, with 13:40 left in the game. Moldoveanu then strung together eight straight points of his own, giving American its first double-digit lead of the night, 49-39.
The Raiders kept it close with a Gyawu jumper and a quick three by Rolls, but Moldoveanu and Lumpkins continued to pace the Eagles' offense. The duo tallied American's next 19 points and kept their team ahead by double-digits for the remainder of the game. A pair of free throws by Daniel Munoz in the final two minutes stretched the lead to 19 before two jumpers by Rolls in the closing moments led to the final 69-53 margin.
Moldoveanu now stands just 13 points shy of becoming the 28th player in program history to reach the 1,000 point plateau. American outrebounded the Raiders 35-28, marking the 12th time in the last 13 games that they have gotten the best of their opponents on the glass. The Eagles also committed just seven turnovers in the win, their fewest since January 22 against Holy Cross.
American will now host Lafayette this Sunday, March 6 in the Patriot League Semifinals. The sixth-seeded Leopards advanced with a 77-70 upset at Holy Cross, the tournament's No. 3 seed. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. with the game being broadcast live on CBS College Sports. To purchase your tickets for Sunday, click here.