HAMILTON, N.Y. - Five Lafayette players scored in double figures as the Leopards picked up their fourth consecutive victory with an 80-67 win over Colgate on Wednesday evening at Cotterell Court. Tony Johnson scored 17 points to lead the way offensively for Lafayette, which hit 52 percent from the field and 11 three-pointers.
Lafayette (16-14, 9-4 Patriot) built a 10-point halftime lead it never relinquished, and survived multiple comeback attempts by Murphy Burnatowski (24 points) and the Raiders, who got within one possession multiple times in the second half.
Leading 64-61, a baseline jumper from Johnson with a hand in his face extended the lead to five, before Joey Ptasinski (12 points) drew an offensive foul on Burnatowski in the post. Johnson then fed Ptasinski for an easy deuce, Seth Hinrichs (15 points) added two on a follow and Bryce Scott (10 points) found Levi Giese open underneath to put Lafayette ahead 74-63 with two minutes left.
Johnson, the reigning Patriot League Player of the Week, didn't miss a beat in the game's opening minutes, scoring six of Lafayette's first eight points as the Leopards led 8-0 and forced Colgate to call timeout less than three minutes in. Colgate came back with an 8-2 spurt over the next two minutes, but Johnson's three sparked a 9-2 stretch for Lafayette to make it 19-10 at 13:31.
Leading 21-13, Colgate closed within a point with seven in a row, capped by an old-fashioned three-point play inside by Graham Clayton. A pair of free throws by Dan Trist (14 points) stopped the run momentarily, but Clayton converted another and-one before Burnatowski's three-pointer from the top of the key completed the Raiders' 13-2 run.
Giese's second trey of the half tied the score at 26-26 at the seven minute mark, prior to Lafayette finishing the half on a 13-4 run to take a 41-31 lead into the locker room. Three-pointers by Hinrichs and Les Smith began the scoring before Johnson finished the half with a layup and long two-point jumper to close the half for Lafayette, which connected on 16 of its 27 attempts (59.3 percent), including 6-of-10 from downtown.
Consecutive layups by Burnatowski and Luke Roh pulled Colgate within six points (49-43) at the 14 minute mark, prompting a Lafayette timeout. Following pair at the line from Hinrichs, Colgate put in the next five points but Ptasinksi drilled a wing three and Trist hit an elbow jumper to push the lead back to eight.
Burnatowski scored the next five points for Colgate, but Lafayette quickly scored eight straight, including a pair of threes by Hinrichs and Ptasinski. The Raiders refused to go away, though, as Burnatowski and Mitch Rolls each hit from deep to cut the deficit to three (64-61).
Lafayette then put together its 10-2 run to go ahead by 11, putting the game out of reach. Colgate got within seven, but Ptasinski, Hinrichs and Johnson each converted from the line and Lafayette held on for the 13-point win.
Lafayette wraps up its regular-season schedule on Saturday when it hosts American. Opening tip from Kirby Sports Center is slated for Noon and the game will air on the Lafayette Sports Network.
Lafayette's nine Patriot League victories are the most since 2004.
Lafayette matched its season low with six turnovers.
Johnson's two steals moved him into sole possession of fourth all-time, passing Brian Ehlers '00. He now has 157 career steals.
The Leopards have won the last six meetings with Colgate.
Trist has scored in double digits in his last seven games.
Lafayette Athletics, as a partner in the mission of the College, provides an incredibly effective learning experience for student-athletes through competitive NCAA Division I athletics. Lafayette sponsors 23 varsity sports with more than 600 student-athletes.
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