Behind a strategic game-plan, staunch defense on one of the best scorers in the league and three Eagles in double figure scoring, the American men's basketball team won its Patriot League opener at Colgate, 72-63. Senior Stephen Lumpkins led the charge with 22 points, just missing the double-double with nine rebounds.
"It's good to get a win, especially a Patriot League win," said head Jeff Jones. " We did a good job on the boards and I was pleased that we were successful in using our gameplan to pick up a road win."
American (6-10, 1-0) often times used its big men on guards throughout the game, getting Colgate (6-11, 0-1) out of their rhythm. The defensive execution and intensity showed as the Raiders shot just 37.5 percent from the floor. Conversely, the Eagles knocked down 45.5 percent of their shots.
Lumpkins was joined by senior guard Blake Jolivette and junior center Tony Wroblicky in double-figure scoring. Jolivette scored 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting with a 3-pointer and three assists. Wroblicky double-doubled with 17 points and 13 rebounds, hitting 7-of-10 from the floor.
Sophomore John Schoof played 38 minutes in the game and was a key cog in limiting Colgate's leading scorer, Murphy Burnatowski, to just 5-of-16 shooting from the field.
The Eagles came out strong in the first half, scoring the initial basket of the game on a 3-pointer from Daniel Munoz and held the advantage throughout the frame. American pushed the lead to its largest margin of 11 at 27-16 on a 3-pointer by senior Mike Bersch. Colgate was able to cut into the advantage, but AU brought a six point lead, 33-27, into the break.
American kept its foot on the gas to begin the second half as the Eagles took their biggest lead of the game at 46-31 on an inbounds ally-oop to Wroblicky.
It became a game of runs as Colgate staged a comeback midway through the second thanks to the efforts of Brandon James who scored 12-straight points for the Raiders on a 12-4 span that had the AU lead down to four points at 46-42. The Eagles had a run of their own to counter James however, using a 11-5 streak to go back up by 10 after two free throws by Jolivette.
Colgate closed within three points after a 9-2 run, but again American had a counter, scoring eight points to the Raiders two in the next two in a half minutes.
Clutch free throws down the stretch by Jolivette, Lumpkins and rookie Jesse Reed helped seal the victory for the Eagles.
American continues Patriot League play on Wednesday, January 16, at 7:30 p.m., when the Eagles take on Lehigh. Fans can purchase tickets to this game and to all AU home games by clicking here or by calling (202) 885-TIXX.