Men’s Basketball Can’t Overcome Strong Second Half by Hampton; Falls 72-65
A third-straight double-double by senior forward Stephen Lumpkins and a career night from rookie Marko Vasic was not enough on Tuesday night at the HU Convocation Center as American fell to Hampton, 72-65. The Pirates benefited from three players with 17-plus points each while shooting 48.3 percent from the field in the second half.
American (4-7) and Hampton (2-7) were tied at 26-all in the first half as the Eagles limited the Pirates' leading scorer, Deron Powers, to just two points in the initial stanza. Powers exploded in the second however, finishing with 17 points and 10 assists while Emmanuel Okoroba added a double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds) and guard Jasper Williams nearly shot the lights out, going 7-of-10 from the field for a game-high 22 points, including five 3-pointers.
Lumpkins and Vasic each finished with a team-high 12 points. Lumpkins grabbed a team-high 15 rebounds and had two blocks, but could only convert 4-of-12 shots from the floor. Vasic set career highs across the board, coming down with five rebounds, dishing out two assists and registering a block and a steal in 24 minutes off the bench.
"Hampton had great performances by three players tonight, but we were not able to convert on some good looks from the field," said head coach Jeff Jones. "Vasic definitely provided energy off the bench for us, but we need to get better as a team, making improvements each day, in order for us to be successful."
American led by as much as seven in the first half, but after a cold start, the Pirates began to heat up late in the frame, evening the score at the break.
Vasic did all he could to keep the Eagles with Hampton in the second, scoring 10 of American's 12 points in a five-minute span, midway through the half as AU trailed by just four with 8:10 to play.
A free throw by Lumpkins made it a three-point game with 5:28 to go, but American would get no closer as Okoroba and Powers quickly netted answers.
The game marked the return of senior guard Blake Jolivette, who made his season debut and scored six points on 3-of-6 shooting with two rebounds and two assists in 26 minutes.
American continues a three-game road trip to close out 2012 this Saturday, December 22, when they head downtown to the Verizon Center to take on in-city rival, No. 15/21 Georgetown, at Noon. The Eagles then close out this year's slate at No. 9/8 Kansas on Friday, December 28.