In American's final game before Patriot League play, the Eagles took on the Cornell Big Red and battled back from a 16-point deficit midway through the second half to close within four of Cornell with just 41 seconds remaining. The Big Red were able to hang on however, eventually securing the, 68-60, win.
For the second-straight game, senior guard Blake Jolivette led American (5-10) in scoring with 15 points. It was his second-straight start of the season. Senior Stephen Lumpkins tallied his second double-double in as many games with 10 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, but was harassed defensively by Cornell (7-9), limiting him to 4-of-15 shooting.
American shot just 34.4 percent from the field and hit only 5-of-21 3-pointers. Cornell also did a good job of capitalizing on the Eagles' mistakes, scoring 18 points off of AU's 14 turnovers.
"Cornell was the aggressor today," said head coach Jeff Jones. "That combined with us not putting the ball in the basket is not a good recipe for winning. We need to execute and put forth an intense effort in order to be successful. The execution was not there for us today."
Head coach Jeff Jones addresses the media after a 68-60 loss to Cornell
The first half was a back-and-forth affair in which neither team led by more than six points. Cornell took a 27-24 lead into the break as the duo of Shonn Miller and Johnathan Gray combined for 21 of the Big Red's points.
American scored the first three points of the second half, but Cornell used an 18-3 run to pull away from the Eagles, 45-31.
The Big Red increased the advantage to a game-high mark of 16 at 50-34, with 9:34 remaining, which prompted an American timeout.
After hitting just one 3-pointer in the first half and only two through the first 35 minutes of the game, American got three treys in a four-minute span as well as clutch shots from rookie Jesse Reed and Jolivette to close with four points of Cornell, 64-60.
The Eagles would get no closer however, as Cornell's Miller knocked down two free throws before defensive pressure led to a dunk for the Big Red sophomore and an eventual win.
Senior Daniel Munoz scored in double-figures for the second-straight game with 13 points and tied a season-high with seven assists. Junior center Tony Wroblicky had an active 21 mintues for the Eagles, setting a season-high with four blocks. Sophomore John Schoof extended his streak of games with at least one 3-pointer to 12 games.
American will have five days off to prepare for the Patriot League lid-lifter at Colgate on Saturday, January 12, at 2 p.m.
The Eagles next home game at Bender Arena is on Wednesday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m., against Patriot League Preseason-favorite, Lehigh. Purchase tickets to all AU home games by clicking here or by calling (202) 885-TIXX.