Vlad Moldoveanu and Stephen Lumpkins combined for 44 points as the Eagles withstood a strong second-half charge from Florida Atlantic University to defeat the Owls 82-72 on Saturday in Boca Raton, Fla.
Moldoveanu scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Lumpkins registered a double-double with 22 points and 15 boards in the victory. Junior guard Troy Brewer added 15 points, five rebounds and two blocks for the Eagles, who have now opened the 2010-11 campaign with four straight wins.
Guard Greg Gantt paced the Owls with 18 points on 6 for 12 shooting from the field.
After trailing 6-4 following the first media timeout, AU went on a 16-2 run to build its first double-digit lead of the game. Brewer started the spurt with one of his four first-half three pointer, and ended it by again hitting from long range to give the Eagles a 20-8 lead eight minutes into the game.
Brewer made all five shots he attempted in the first half, and his three-pointer with less than six minutes to go until halftime put the Eagles up 36-22. Daniel Munoz followed with two free throws to extend the AU advantage to 16.
Leading 40-29, the Eagles closed the opening 20 minutes on a 7-1 run to take a 47-30 lead going into the locker room.
After only scoring 23 points in the first half on Wednesday, the Eagles more than doubled that output on Saturday. Brewer led all scorers at the break with 14 points, while AU shot 55 percent from the field and went 7 for 11on three point shots. The Owls struggled to find an offensive rhythm, going 6 for 28 in the opening half.
When Munoz made a layup to extend the Eagles’ lead to 22 early in the second half, it looked like AU had everything under control. But after the half FAU began a furious rally that nearly resulted in a victory for the Owls.
Following a layup at the 17:45 mark of the second half, the Eagles would only score six points over the next nine minutes, allowing the Owls back into the game. Alex Tucker scored seven points and Kore White had six during a key 19-4 FAU run that made it 58-51 AU with 8:40 remaining. Just over two minutes later, forward Brett Royster hit two free throws to pull the Owls within three at 64-61.
With FAU trailing by five with 4:31 to play Tucker, who tallied 14 points, would hit two free throws and a layup to cut the deficit to one at 69-68. But Lumpkins responded with a layup and Moldoveanu nailed two free throws to push the lead to five.
The clincher came when Lumpkins, who spearheaded an AU attack that outscored FAU 38-22 in the paint, hit a layup to put his team up 77-72with 56 seconds remaining. Lumpkins, Moldoveanu and Brewer would then combine for five free throws down the stretch to secure the 82-72 victory.
The Eagles will play at Howard University on Nov. 23, before returning home to face Columbia University on Nov. 28.