EASTON, Pa. - Led by three players in double figures and a balanced offensive attack, Lafayette outlasted Holy Cross, 63-53, for its seventh straight home win on Wednesday night at Kirby Sports Center.
Bryce Scott and Seth Hinrichs each scored 16 points to pace the Leopards in the scoring column, while Tony Johnson added 15. Lafayette's defense was also smothering in the game, holding Holy Cross to 35.1 percent shooting (20-of-57), and the lowest percentage for a Leopards' opponent this season.
Lafayette (9-12, 2-2 Patriot) sprinted out to a 10-2 lead and forced Holy Cross to call a timeout a little more than three minutes in. A Levi Giese three started the scoring on the first possession of the night, before Scott and Hinrichs each added a bucket prior to a wide-open triple by Johnson.
The margin teetered around 10 points and went to 11 at the 7:15 mark when Scott calmly knocked down a corner three to put the Leopards up 21-10. From that point, Lafayette was held to one made field goal as Holy Cross ended the half on a 10-2 run, which included a pair of threes by Phil Beans in the final minute of the period.
The Leopards opened the second half much like the first, scoring the first five points to extend their cushion to 28-20 and force Holy Cross (10-9, 2-2) to use a timeout. After the interruption, Dave Dudzinski (13 points) missed a layup inside and Hinrichs connected on his second three to push Lafayette's advantage back to 11 points. Scott then drilled another three, capping the second-half opening run at 13-4.
"I don't think we did as good of a job in the last three or four minutes in the first half, but we came out to start the second half and reestablished ourselves," head coach Fran O'Hanlon said. "Hinrichs' two threes during that run were huge for us."
Consecutive threes by the Crusaders cut Lafayette's lead to six (36-30), before Joey Ptasinski stepped into a three in transition off a feed from Scott. Lafayette distributed 16 assists on its 22 made field goals, with five different players dishing out at least two assists. The Leopards put in the next seven points and held Holy Cross without a point for more than a seven-minute stretch, going on an 11-0 run to take a 17-point advantage.
"We got the ball moving really well," Hinrichs added. "There were great finds by Tony and Bryce in the second half. "The start of both halves we really ran our offense well. We just need to be consistent throughout the game."
Justin Burrell's three-pointer with 6:40 to go ended the drought, before Beans (14 points) hit twice from deep, surrounding a Ptasinski long ball. A pair of free throws by Cullen Hamilton and a Dudzinski turnaround jumper in the lane pulled Holy Cross within eight, but Scott drained his third three to put it back to 11 points with 3:25 to go.
Holding a seven-point lead with a little more than a minute to play, Scott erased all doubt of a Holy Cross comeback, with a left-handed finish and old-fashioned three-point play. Johnson made four free throws to end the game as Lafayette ultimately prevailed, 63-53.
Lafayette travels to Bethlehem, Pa. on Sunday for a nationally-televised meeting with Lehigh on Sunday at noon. Opening tip from Stabler Arena can be seen live on CBS Sports Network. A free audio-only broadcast of the game can be heard on GoLeopards.com/allaccess
Lafayette matched its season-high with six blocked shots, led by Giese's career-high four rejections.
Dan Trist matched his career high with seven rebounds.
Scott set a new career-high with four assists.
For the second straight game, Lafayette turned the ball over a season-low six times.
The Leopards improved to 8-2 at home this season and have won seven straight at Kirby Sports Center for the first time since 2009-10.
Lafayette is now 8-2 on the season when leading at halftime.
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