The AU men’s basketball team overcame miscues against Mount St. Mary’s for a win, but couldn’t do the same against San Francisco in the team’s first two games at Bender Arena.
Despite committing 23 turnovers in their home opener Nov. 15 against Mount St. Mary’s, the Eagles picked up a 62-57 victory. AU (2-2) overcame its turnovers thanks to key 3-pointers, specifically from Mike Bersch.
Bersch connected on five 3-pointers, with none more important than his fifth with 3:13 remaining that put the Eagles up 54-50.
“I think that gave the team an emotional lift … each time [Bersch] knocked one down,” AU head coach Jeff Jones said. “You know, that was a bit of a relief.”
Daniel Munoz, who had a rough night for the Eagles with eight turnovers, sealed the game with two key plays late.
The senior point guard made two foul shots to put AU ahead 59-57 with 13 seconds left. Then, Munoz stole the ball on The Mount’s (1-2) next possession, and knocked down two more free throws on the ensuing trip to the foul line.
“Danny is just a lot more confident now,” AU’s Stephen Lumpkins said. “… We wanted to get him the ball at the end of the game, and he made the free throws and put the game away like you want your senior point guard to do.”
Against San Francisco Nov. 19, the Eagles could not overcome some defensive miscues and received their first home loss of the season. The Dons won 67-53, but the score does not tell the story.
It was a two-point game at halftime, but a handful of AU defensive lapses allowed San Francisco (2-1) to take aim at open 3-pointers they didn’t miss. The turning point came when San Francisco’s De’End Parker made back-to-back 3-pointers with 13:38 remaining to put the Dons up 49-36, and the Eagles never recovered.
“What we saw [after Parker’s 3-pointers] was at times, it might just be for a short period of time, but I think we hung our heads,” Jones said. “And that’s not the response that you’d really like to see.”
San Francisco was the aggressor on the night, outrebounding the Eagles 28-19 and earning six offensive rebounds to AU’s one.
“In the first half, what’d they get: five or six offensive rebounds?” Jones said. “And they weren’t the ones right around the basket. For the most part they were the 50-50 balls, the hustle balls, the long rebounds. And they were getting to them, and we weren’t.”
The Eagles will return to the court to take on Florida Atlantic Nov. 24 in Boca Raton, Fla.