Playing in just its third home game of the 2012-13 season, the American University men's basketball team (3-4) took a tough victory from the visiting Saint Francis Red Flash (0-6) on Saturday afternoon at Bender Arena. Senior forward Stephen Lumpkins led the way for the Eagles, posting game highs of 22 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
"It was a grind-it-out win," said head coach Jeff Jones. "Saint Francis did a terrific job of attacking us and we were not sharp in the first half, but down the stretch we showed a sense of urgency."
Lumpkins' season-high in points was just as important as his defensive effort which kept the Eagles toe-to-toe with the Red Flash all afternoon. Early foul trouble limited starters Tony Wroblicky and Daniel Munoz to just eight and nine minutes, respectively, in the first half.
In a tightly-contested initial period, Lumpkins led the way with 18 in the first 20 minutes including a lay-in just before the buzzer to send the Eagles to the locker room up, 31-29.
For each basket that American made in the second half, the Red Flash always seemed to have an answer, keeping them in the game.
Saint Francis retook the lead with under eight minutes to play on a lay-in by freshman big man Stephon Mosley, but sophomore sharpshooter John Schoof hit his second trey of the half to put American back in front, 47-45.
After baskets by Umar Shannon and Mosley, American trailed 49-47, but Munoz drove the lane off the inbounds for the lay-in with just eight seconds left on the shot clock. Wroblicky followed with a lay-in of his own on the next possession to put the Eagles ahead, 51-49.
Saint Francis had a chance to tie it up after a steal and a break-away, but a hustle play from Munoz, stealing the ball as SFU's Kam Ritter was just about to lay it in, led to a basket for the Eagles and a 55-51 lead with just over two minutes to play.
American ended the game on a 14-2 run.
Senior Mike Bersch hit 5-of-9 shots, including four three pointers for 14 points, while Wroblicky finished with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting, with five rebounds and two blocks.
The Eagles step away from Bender Arena for two games next week as they take on Howard on Tuesday, December 4 and UMBC on Thursday, December 6. Both games tip at 7 p.m.