Leopards Drop Home Contest to Navy
EASTON, Pa. – The Lafayette men’s basketball team could never really get going on Saturday afternoon at Kirby Sports Center, dropping an 88-51 decision to Navy. The loss drops the Leopards to 6-11 overall on the year and 2-4 in conference play, while Navy improves to 8-10 overall and 3-3 in Patriot League action.
Navy led from the opening tip to the final buzzer, opening up a 22-7 lead over the first five minutes and never looking back. The Mids led by as many as 37 in the contest, hanging onto an advantage that was 17 at the halftime intermission.
Lafayette struggled offensively, connecting on 19-of-49 from the field (38.8%) and 6-of-18 from three-point territory (33.3%). Additionally, Navy was excellent, shooting 60.3 percent from the floor on 35-of-58. The Mids made nine of their 16 three-point attempts, including a 7-for-11 mark in the first half.
Junior Matt Klinewski led the way for the Leopards with 16 points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks, while senior captain Nick Lindner chipped in with 10 points of his own to go along with three steals and two assists. Navy had its way on the glass, holding a 36-21 advantage in rebounding and got its share of easy buckets, getting 36 points off 20 Lafayette turnovers.
It was another slow start for the Leopards on Saturday afternoon as eight points from Bryce Dulin in the opening four minutes of play sparked an 18-7 start for the visitors into the first media timeout at 14:19. Poor transition defense continued to hurt Lafayette through the midway point of the opening half as three fast break lay-ups opened up a 28-13 lead with 7:49 to play.
The Leopards’ offensive struggles persisted, while Dulin kept leading a hot-shooting Navy team as five more points from the junior and the Mids’ seventh three of the opening half from Hasan Abdullah pushed the advantage to 20 at 39-19 with three minutes left. The teams traded buckets for the remainder of the first half, going into the break with the visitors on top by a 43-26 score.
The second half began similarly to the first as Navy opened on a 12-3 run to open up a 26-point lead at 55-29 with 16:17 to play. Auston Evans free-throws stopped the run at 15:32, but the Mids recorded eight of the next 13 points through the 12-minute media timeout, up 63-36 with 11:23 remaining.
Lafayette’s comeback never came in this one as Navy poured it on, moving its lead to 30 at 73-43 with 7:44 left. That margin would remain through the final minutes as the Mids closed it out with a final score of 88-51.
Lafayette hits the road for a two-game stretch this week, traveling to American on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. before the first installment of The Rivalry next Saturday in Bethlehem, Pa. vs. Lehigh at 7 p.m.