Despite leading for nearly 30 minutes straight spanning the first and second halves, the AU men’s basketball team fell to Howard, 55-50, at Burr Gymnasium Dec. 4.
“We did not execute, and Howard took advantage of those opportunities,” AU head coach Jeff Jones told AU Athletics.
Daniel Munoz and Stephen Lumpkins paced the Eagles in the narrow loss with 11 and 10 points, respectively. AU (3-5) outshot Howard from both the floor and 3-point line, but was outrebounded 37-23 and gave up 15 second-chance points.
“We got beat on the boards tonight and we must do a better job rebounding the basketball as well as making open shots when they present themselves,” Jones said.
Howard held Lumpkins to six points below his season average as they often threw double-, triple- and even quadruple-teams at him. Only AU’s Tony Wroblicky was able to shoot above 50 percent from the field, finishing with eight points on the night.
AU was unable to stop – or even slow down – the Bison during the game’s most critical moments. Howard’s Michael Phillips scored 11 straight points in less than six minutes, turning AU’s 41-40 lead with 7:39 remaining into a 49-48 Howard edge with 1:59 left. It was the first Bison lead since they held a 14-12 advantage 8:52 into the game.
Howard (2-7) never relinquished its late lead, knocking down six straight free throws in the last minute to secure the win.
AU earns weekend win
Over the weekend, the Eagles recorded their largest margin of victory of the season when they defeated St. Francis (Pa.) 61-51 Dec. 1 at Bender Arena.
Lumpkins finished with game-highs of 22 points and seven rebounds, notching 18 points in the first half alone. He also chipped in three assists and three blocks.
“Thank goodness in the first half for Lumpkins,” Jones said. “Lump carried us [and] not just on the offensive side.”
Munoz made the defensive play of the game when he stole the ball with St. Francis (0-6) in transition and about to convert an easy bucket. The steal, with 2:35 left in the game, led to a layup on the other end by Wroblicky, who posted 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 21 minutes.
“It was definitely a huge play because it would’ve been a big swing,” Lumpkins said.
AU hopes to bounce back from the Howard loss when it plays at Maryland, Baltimore County Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. The Eagles return to Bender Dec. 9 to face Columbia in their last home game of the semester.