Playing in its fourth game in just eight days, American men's basketball faltered in its return to Bender Arena on Sunday afternoon, falling to Columbia, 54-42. Senior Stephen Lumpkins' double-double was not enough as the Lions' backcourt of Grant Mullins and Brian Barbour combined for 39 points. The Eagles led early in the contest, but the Lions finished the first half strong and continued its solid play into the second half.
Neither team shot well in the contest but Columbia (5-4) was able to capitalize on American's (4-6) miscues, scoring 16 points off turnovers, compared to the Eagles' seven, while only committing seven turnovers.
Lumpkins finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds while classmate Daniel Munoz joined him in double figure scoring with 12 points. Only four Eagles found the bottom of the net in the game.
"We did not shoot well today and we must do so in order to be successful," said head coach Jeff Jones. "We have to finish; both plays and at the end of the game. It is difficult for our team to overcome turnovers when we are not making shots."
American limited the Lions to just one point through the initial 9:15 of the first half and held an eight-point advantage. Columbia strung together a 9-2 run however, to close within one, but senior Mike Bersch came through with one of his three 3-pointers in the game to put the Eagles up 14-10.
Columbia then went on a 10-0 run, which included two 3-pointers, to take the lead, forcing an American timeout. Munoz knocked down a jumper in the lane to end the Lion run and make it a four-point deficit for the Eagles at the half, 20-16.
The Lions owned the beginning of the second, increasing their lead to 15 at 10:27, 42-27. American did not back down though, using an 11-2 run to close within six points of Columbia with 3:55 to play.
Two free throws by Lumpkins with just 1:34 remaining had American still within six points of Columbia, but the Eagles could not get any closer as Barbour and Mullins each hit free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
American hits the books this week for finals, but returns to the court at Hampton on Tuesday, December 18, at 7 p.m.
Head Coach Jeff Jones Postgame Press Conference