Johnson's 25 Points Ends Palestra Drought
Jan. 8, 2013
With two minutes remaining and the score deadlocked at 81 following a 7-0 run by Penn, Bryce Scott delivered from deep. Scott pulled up off the dribble and drained a three-pointer as the shot clock was winding down to put Lafayette ahead for good. A layup by Penn's Henry Brooks cut the Leopards' lead to one with a minute left, before another Scott three went in-and-out on Lafayette's next trip. Penn had two chances to take the lead, but missed both attempts, including Steve Rennard's open three with five seconds to play.
The victory for Lafayette was the program's first ever against Penn at The Palestra, ending a 22-game losing streak to the Quakers in Philadelphia. Lafayette's first meeting with Penn at The Palestra was a 27-16 loss on Jan. 19, 1927. The win also marked Lafayette's first road win (1-8) of the year as the team improved to 7-10 overall.
Johnson finished 10-of-14 overall and 5-of-6 at the line, to go with four assists, four rebounds and two steals. Sophomore Dan Trist scored 17 points (6-of-9 FG) and was perfect from the free throw line (5-of-5), while Scott added 11 points off the bench. With Joey Ptasinski, Seth Hinrichs and Levi Giese each adding 10 points, Lafayette had all five starters - and six players - reach double digits in the scoring column for the first time since Jan. 2, 2011 at Fairleigh Dickinson.
Lafayette held a 41-40 lead at halftime after a torrid first 20 minutes shooting the basketball. The Leopards knocked down 69.6 percent (16-of-23) of their attempts, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, and were led by Tony Johnson's 12 points. On the other side, Penn (2-12) also shot the ball extremely well, converting 17-of-28, as the lead changed hands seven times during the tightly contested period.
The Leopards opened the second half on a 12-5 spurt to take a 55-47 lead on a basket inside by Trist at 14:27. Trist and Johnson combined for the first 14 points of the second half and Johnson matched his season-high of 17 points during the run.
Johnson's steal and coast-to-coast finish in traffic gave the visiting Leopards their largest lead to that point, a 67-56 advantage, with 10:30 to play. The Leopards then pushed the lead to 13 points on Hinrichs' layup off a feed from Johnson a minute later. Two Ptasinski free throws made it a 15-point lead with 7:47 showing.
Penn refused to go away, scoring nine straight in less than two minutes. After Lafayette regained its eight-point cushion, the Quakers used a transition three-pointer by Dau Jok (18 points) at the five minute mark to draw within five. On Lafayette's next possession, Trist hit two more freebies before Penn scored seven straight points to tie the game at 81 apiece.
Lafayette opens Patriot League play on Saturday when it hosts Navy at 2 p.m. The game will be televised on the Lafayette Sports Network and will be free to all fans online via Patriot League All Access.
Johnson's two steals moved him into a tie with Andrew Brown '09 for 13th on the all-time list (128 career).
Johnson's four assists (295 career) moved him into 12th place on the all-time list, breaking a tie with Bruce Stankavage '91.
Hinrichs has scored at least 10 points in 10 of Lafayette's last 11 games.
Alan Flannigan led Lafayette with five rebounds in the win.
Ross Harms '99 and Pat Betley '05 were both on hand to witness the victory.