Senior forward Stephen Lumpkins’ second straight double-double and his sixth on the season wasn’t enough for the AU men’s basketball team as they lost to Holy Cross, 79-60, Jan. 19 in Worcester, Mass.
The Eagles (6-12, 1-2 PL) got off to a slow start as they found themselves down more than 10 points seven minutes into the first half and faced a 45-27 deficit heading into the half. Despite an improved second-half performance, AU was unable to mount a comeback against Holy Cross (10-8, 2-1 PL), losing its first road conference game of the season.
“If it was a boxing match it would’ve been a TKO. They hit us in the face and we didn’t respond,” AU Head Coach Jeff Jones said. “You can’t go into a college basketball game and not be ready to play with the kind of energy and the intensity that it takes, particularly on the road, particularly against a team that prides itself on playing hard.”
Lumpkins posted a team-high 17 points and game-high 11 rebounds. However, he shot just 5-for-12 from the field and 7-for-11 from the free throw line. Freshman guard Jesse Reed also chipped in a career-high 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting, including a 2-for-4 mark from beyond the arc.
After a dismal first half in which the Eagles allowed the Crusaders to shoot over 64 percent from the field and over 72 percent from beyond the arc, AU clawed back into the game after cutting a 24-point deficit to just 11 points off of a steal and dunk by Reed. However, it was to no avail as Holy Cross went on a small 10-4 run to expand their lead.
“We played with a little bit more energy in the second half but [we were] not playing smart,” Jones said. “To really make a difference, you gotta bring that energy and play smart.”
Throughout the whole game, AU struggled with shooting the ball from the floor as they knocked down just 38 percent of their attempts from the field and less than 32 percent from beyond the 3-point line. The Eagles were also out-rebounded, turned the ball over more and dished out far fewer assists than Holy Cross.
“We did not come out with the energy we needed to match up with an aggressive team like Holy Cross,” Jones said. “Holy Cross was the aggressor and had that energy all game long and knocked down shots. We need to execute on the defensive end to limit open looks for opponents.”
Sophomore guard John Schoof chipped in eight points and a team-high three assists in the loss, shooting 2-for-5 from beyond the arc. Forward Kyle Kager pulled down a career-high five rebounds in eight minutes of play.
AU returns to Bender to take on Navy on Jan 23. Following Navy, the Eagles will make a weekend trip to West Point to play Army before coming back to D.C. for a game against Bucknell Jan 30.