Holy Cross Closes Out Men’s Hoops in Worcester
WORCESTER, Mass. – The Lafayette men’s basketball team fought back from a 16-point deficit to cut it to two midway through the second half at Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon, but the defensive side of the ball wasn’t there for the Maroon and White, dropping an 85-74 decision to the Crusaders at the Hart Center.
Freshman Alex Petrie tied his own rookie single-game scoring record with 29 points on the afternoon, going 6-of-9 from three-point range and 10-for-16 overall. The loss drops the Maroon and White to 5-16 on the year and 3-7 in Patriot League play, while Holy Cross improves to 7-14 this season and 4-6 in conference action.
Both sides were executing offensively throughout the afternoon as Lafayette went 22-of-49 from the field (44.9%) and 11-for-24 from three-point range (45.8%). Holy Cross countered at 33-of-59 from the floor (55.9%) and 9-of-30 from distance (30.0%).
Senior co-captain Matt Klinewski was the only other Leopard in double-figure scoring, extending his streak to 24 consecutive double-digit games with 14 points on 3-of-9 from the field. Freshman E.J. Stephens also chipped in with eight points on an efficient 3-of-4 from the floor.
The Crusader offense was tough to stop throughout the day, getting its 33 field goals on 22 assists compared to just seven turnovers as a unit. Caleb Green and Karl Charles tallied eight assists each to compliment 28 points from rookie Austin Butler, who went 11-of-15 from the field on the afternoon.
The energy was electric to start as Butler dropped 10 of the home side’s first 17 points to put the Leopards in an early seven-point hole after five minutes, 17-10. Petrie’s triple at the 12:58 mark helped to stop an early onslaught, but Jehyve Floyd’s finish through a foul sent the half to its midway point with the Crusaders up 10, 23-13.
The lead got as high as 16 on a Jacob Grandison jumper with 10:23 to play, but Klinewski’s finish through a foul and free throws from sophomore Myles Cherry got it back to a 13-point game at the 7:20 mark with the Leopards trailing, 33-20. That sparked a Leopard surge as, after a Floyd dunk at 6:24, Lafayette rattled off 10 straight to pull within five with 4:28 to play in the half, 35-30.
Four from Stephens over the next two possessions brought the visitors within one at 35-34, but Holy Cross closed the half strong to push it back out. The Crusaders finished with 14 of the final 17 points in the last 2:20 to go into the break up 12, 49-37.
Lafayette started the second half with a good five-minute stretch that saw the Crusaders’ lead cut to eight, 51-43. That momentum swing continued as an excellent stretch from Petrie, including five straight and a steal around the midway point, brought the Holy Cross lead to just two, 62-60.
The Leopards’ offense stalled at that point though, as nine straight from Holy Cross helped the home side stretch the advantage back out to nine, 73-64, with 4:16 to go. Lafayette never got closer than a seven-point deficit from there as the Crusaders closed it out with a final of 85-74.
Lafayette returns to Kirby Sports Center to close out the January slate on Wednesday. Tip-off with Colgate is set for 7 p.m.