Strong Second Half Stifles Loyola
EASTON, Pa. – Following a tie score at the break, the Lafayette men’s basketball team came out in the second half a different team, taking control early and never looking back for its second straight victory, an 84-67 win over Loyola at Kirby Sports Center on Sunday afternoon.
The Leopards, playing their second nationally televised game of the season, this time on CBS Sports Network, lit it up offensively throughout the game, going 29-of-51 from the field (56.9%) and 10-of-20 from three-point range (50.0%). Lafayette improves to 6-8 in Patriot League play and 8-17 overall, while Loyola falls to 8-17 on the year and 6-8 in conference action.
Senior co-captain Matt Klinewski was dominantly efficient, scoring a game-high 25 points on 9-of-12 from the floor, including a 2-of-5 mark from three and 5-for-5 from the foul line. Freshmen Alex Petrie and Justin Jaworski added 16 and 14 points, respectively, while junior Paulius Zalys put together his second consecutive 10-rebound performance to go along with seven points and two assists.
Zalys led a potent effort on the glass from Lafayette, outrebounding the Greyhounds by 17, 39-22, after a 30-30 margin in the first meeting less than a month ago. Klinewski and sophomore Kyle Stout each added five boards on the day, with senior co-captain Eric Stafford chipping in five rebounds of his own to go with four assists and nine points.
On the other side, Loyola’s Andre Walker, who scored 43 against the Leopards in the last meeting, led the way with 15 points on 6-of-17 shooting, going 3-for-10 from beyond the arc. Isaiah Hart, Chuck Champion and Cam Gregory rounded out the double-figure scorers with 13, 12 and 11 points, respectively. The visitors went 25-for-59 from the field (42.4%) and 7-of-20 from three-point range (35.0%).
Both sides began the game strong offensively as Klinewski and Walker traded triples surrounding the 16-minute mark to send the game into its first break with Loyola on top, 9-7. Following a Zalys layup that pulled the Leopards within one, a 7-0 spurt from the Greyhounds put them in front at the midway point of the opening stanza, up 21-16 with 10:56 on the clock.
Loyola stretched its lead to as many as nine on a Gregory put-back with 10:15 to play in the half, but five straight on a three from Petrie and a Klinewski lay-up pulled the Leopards back within five at 28-23 with 7:36 left. The comeback kept rolling through to the break as five from Klinewski in the final 1:06 took the game into intermission knotted at 36-36.
Lafayette came out of the locker room with a purpose, scoring four quick points and 12 of the first 17 in the opening five minutes to push to a 48-41 lead with 14:13 to play. The Greyhounds settled in offensively over the next two-minute stretch, but Stafford’s three kept the visitors down six, 53-47, with 12:33 remaining.
Jaworski was the headliner over the next four minutes, scoring nine straight for the Maroon and White to stretch their lead to nine at the under-eight timeout, 65-56. Walker’s three pulled the Greyhounds back within six at 6:37, but Lafayette continued to extend its advantage through the final minutes, shutting down any Loyola comeback bid with a final of 84-67.
Lafayette hits the road for its next contest on Wednesday, traveling to Annapolis, Md. for a meeting with Navy at 7 p.m.