After two straight road games to open the 2012-13 season the American men's basketball team finally made its way to the friendly confines of Bender Arena where they edged Mount St. Mary's, 62-57, to improve to 2-1 overall. The Mountaineers fall to 1-2. Senior forward Stephen Lumpkins once again led the way for the Eagles with a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds.
It was American's reserves that provided the extra push against the Mount as senior Mike Bersch came off the bench to hit 5-of-7 3-pointers for 15 points while rookie Jesse Reed chipped in six points, a three, rebound and a steal.
"It was about old-fashioned basketball tonight." Said head coach Jeff Jones. "We went small so we could get an additional ball-handler and it worked as Mount was forced to trap a lot. We got away from set plays and we credit Mount St. Mary's as there was not a single easy possession in the game."
Playing in front of its home crown for the first time this season, American fed off of the energy and opened up a 6-0 lead. Mount was able to fight back however and opened up its biggest lead of the half at 21-16.
The Eagles regrouped after the Mount St. Mary's push and ended the half on a 13-5 run of its own, keyed by two 3-pointers from Bersch.
Mount opened the second half on an 8-0, but 3-pointers by Bersch and Reed gave American a 35-34 advantage. A lay-in by Joe Castellanos gave Mount St. Mary's the lead again, but five-straight points by Lumpkins put American back in the driver's seat as the Eagles went on a 7-0.
The Mountaineers seemed to have a counter for the American run with six points of their own, but when the Eagles needed a run-breaker it was Bersch from deep with the rebuttal.
After a Lumpkins lay-in, Mount found yet another run as 3-pointers by Sam Prescott and Rashad Whack highlighted an 8-0 push.
Lumpkins continued his strong play down low however was able to work his way to charity stripe for two free throws before throwing one down on the next possession to give the Eagles a 51-50 lead with 4:14 remaining. His strong effort began a 9-0 run for American.
Senior guard Daniel Munoz was able to draw a foul on the Eagles next possession and knocked both down before corralling a turnover by the Mount with 4.1 seconds left to ice the game for American.
The Eagles are back in action on Monday, November 19, when host the San Francisco Dons at 7:30 p.m., at Bender Arena.