Leopards Shoot Past NJIT, 83-66
Jan. 2, 2013
Point guard Tony Johnson put together his most complete game of the season, scoring 15 points and dishing out seven assists, while grabbing six rebounds. The senior also collected two steals, pushing his Patriot League-leading total to 31 on the season.
Levi Giese joined Hinrichs and Johnson with double figures in the scoring column, adding 10 points. Lafayette's 37 rebounds were the most for the team in a win this season, as the Leopards finished the night with nine more rebounds than NJIT (37-28).
Consecutive threes by Johnson started a 13-4 run for Lafayette as the Leopards opened up a 10-point lead with five minutes to play in the period. Johnson scored 11 of his 15 first-half points during the stretch, which was capped by Joey Ptasinski's runner in the paint to give Lafayette a 36-26 advantage.
After four straight by NJIT, Lafayette (6-10) scored the final 10 points before halftime to take a 46-31 lead into the locker room. Les Smith's baseline jumper started the scoring, prior to a pair of Hinrichs treys and a layup by Johnson.
Lafayette's 15-point advantage at the break was supported by 18 points off 10 NJIT turnovers, while the Leopards only gave it away one time in the opening 20 minutes. The Maroon and White connected on 17 of their 31 attempts from the floor (54.8 percent), including 8-of-15 from beyond the arc (53.3 percent).
The hot three-point shooting continued early in the second half as Ptasinski and Hinrichs each struck from deep and Lafayette stretched its lead to 20 at 16:47. Holding onto its 20-point cushion (63-43) with 12 minutes to go, Lafayette reeled off eight in-a-row to take its largest lead of the night (71-43), punctuated by a Ptasinksi triple. Lafayette finished the night making 29-of-58 from the field, and 13-of-26 from downtown (50 percent).
From that point, NJIT scored 23 of the final 35 points, ultimately falling by the 83-66 final. The Highlanders (6-8) were led by Ryan Woods, Chris Flores and P.J. Miller, who each netted 13 points apiece.
Lafayette returns to the road for its final non-conference game of the season on Jan. 8 at The Palestra when it plays Penn at 7 p.m.
Hinrichs has scored at least 10 points in nine of the Leopards' last 10 games.
Giese (27 blocks) has had at least two rejections in 10 games this season.
Rob Delaney '12 and Jim Mower '12 were in attendance at the game.