Munoz helps American U. outlast Holy Cross 67-54
WASHINGTON—Daniel Munoz scored eight of American University's last 12 points as the Eagles pulled away to a 67-54 victory over Holy Cross on Saturday.
Charles Hinkle scored 17 points for American (11-7, 2-1 Patriot League), which blew an 18-point first-half lead only to hold the Crusaders (8-9, 2-1) without a field goal for the final 9:20 of play.
Munoz finished with 14 points. Hinkle also grabbed 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
It's a very nice win for our club," said American coach Jeff Jones.
"They're a team that plays in spurts. But when they went ahead, the fact that we were able to respond with our own spurt -- that was very good to see."
Devin Brown scored 14 points and Phil Beans added 11 for Holy Cross, which trailed 31-13 early, but crawled back into it by outscoring the Eagles 29-11 during a stretch that spanned both halves.
American moved to 9-0 at home and improved its home record to 8-6 and overall record to 11-16 against the Crusaders, with all but one of those meetings occurring in Patriot League play.
Holy Cross suffered its first league loss after opening with home wins against Lehigh and Navy, and sank to 1-8 on the road.
The Crusaders took their first and only lead of the second half on Justin Burrell's pull-up jumper to make it 47-46. That was the last made field goal of the afternoon for Holy Cross.
"We just tried to make sure that we just mentally stayed locked in," said Holy Cross coach Milan Brown. "I think that was the reason for the comeback, and it was also the reason we weren't able to close it all the way out."
The Eagles responded with a 7-0 run, capped by Troy Brewer's 3-pointer to give American a 53-47 lead.
The Crusaders cut the deficit to three, but Munoz hit a layup off an inbounds play and added a pair of foul shots to stretch it to 59-52.
A couple of possessions later, Munoz added a leaning jumper and a pair of foul shots to give American a 65-54 lead before Hinkle sank his last pair of 12 straight made free throws to seal the victory.
The Eagles outrebounded Holy Cross 34-27 and held the Crusaders to just 15 field goals, their lowest total since hitting just 14 of 60 shots (23 percent) in a 46-45 loss at Columbia on Dec. 6.
"I think that was the big thing, because we were struggling to score," Jones said of American's defense. "We said it in the huddle; the offense will come if we can get stops."