With Patriot League playoff positioning on the line, American University men's basketball and the College of the Holy Cross played a true barn-burner at Bender Arena on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles pulled out an overtime victory on a senior Daniel Munoz's 3-pointer as time expired. Munoz finished with 14 points, eight coming in overtime, in the 64-61 victory.
In the back-and-forth affair, aired live on the CBS Sports Network, the lead changed hands 17 times but it was American (10-15, 5-5 PL) that held the advantage in the end as Munoz's late-game heroics came with just one second left on the clock.
"It's big to get a win like that, especially against a tough foe like Holy Cross," said head coach Jeff Jones. "Danny came up with a huge basket in overtime and was very aggressive towards the end of the game which is what we needed."
Munoz's performance was aided by the 12th double-double of the season by senior Stephen Lumpkins who tallied a team-high 17 points and 12 rebounds. Lumpkins has now scored in double digits in 24-straight games.
Holy Cross (11-14, 3-7) was led by Dave Dudzinski, who finished with a game-high 19 points, but hit just 9-of-21 shots. Justin Burrell also had an off shooting performance, hitting just 3-of-18 attempts from the field, but did hand out nine assists.
In addition to the Eagles' senior duo, sophomore John Schoof finished in double-digit points with 15, including four 3-pointers, five assists and four rebounds. It was the sixth time this season he has hit four-or-more three-pointers.
In the early going, American built a four-point lead at 10-6, but Holy Cross came back to take its biggest advantage of the game at 21-16 with under six minutes to go in the period. AU looked like they may enter the break trailing, but a layup by senior Blake Jolivette and a what proved to be Munoz's first buzzer-beater of the afternoon, put AU ahead, 29-26.
The Eagles built their biggest lead of the game, 45-37, at 11:53 in the second half after a 3-pointer by Schoof, but a 9-0 Holy Cross run put the Crusaders back in front.
Neither team would go up by more than three points in the remaining half of the second stanza, with junior Tony Wroblicky laying one in to make it 53-52 with just over two minutes to go, before a Holy Cross free throw tied it up again.
Both teams had chances to go ahead with just over a minute left in regulation but staunch defense by each unit assured free basketball at Bender.
In the overtime period, Holy Cross was first to take the lead, but Munoz soon took over, putting in back-to-back baskets including his first 3-pointer of the extra frame.
Holy Cross had one last run as Dudzinski and Burrell each added jumpers to move ahead by one, 59-58, but an And-1 by Lumpkins, followed by a lay-in by Dudzinski set the stage for Munoz's heroics.
The Eagles improve to 5-0 in televised games at Bender Arena and 10-2 this season when they lead at the half.
American has a midweek matchup with the Midshipmen, traveling to Navy on Wednesday, February 20, at 7 p.m. The Eagles return to Bender Arena on Saturday, February 23, for the final home game and Senior Day! AU will take on Army at 2 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling (202) 885-TIXX.