Leopards Close 2017-18 Season at Colgate
HAMILTON, N.Y. – The Lafayette men’s basketball team closed the books on its 2017-18 campaign on Thursday evening in Hamilton, N.Y., falling to second-seeded Colgate in the Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinals, 76-54.
The Leopards could never get any rhythm going on the offensive side of the ball and Colgate didn’t let up, proving its worth as the Patriot League’s second seed. Lafayette finishes the season with an overall record of 10-21.
Senior co-captain Matt Klinewski led three Leopards in double-figure scoring with 12 points, while classmate and fellow co-captain Eric Stafford, along with freshman Justin Jaworski, added 10 points each. Lafayette went 19-of-46 from the field on the day (41.3%), 6-of-19 from three-point range and uncharacteristically struggled from the charity stripe at 10-of-17 (58.8%) on the night.
Colgate senior Sean O’Brien was the difference maker for a well-run Raiders offense with 18 points, three assists, three rebounds and two steals. Will Rayman added 16 points and both Jordan Burns and Dana Batt chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Colgate moves on to face sixth-seeded Holy Cross on Sunday as the Crusaders upset third-seeded Navy in Annapolis, 81-65.
Lafayette did well to manage an electric atmosphere at the start with a Jaworski three and a Stafford drive-and-finish preceding an O’Brien layup to make it 8-8 after five minutes. Colgate jumped out to a 12-9 lead on Rayman free throws, but Jaworski drilled at triple on the left wing with a Stafford feed to tie it at 15-15 with 11:47 left.
The Leopards went cold for a five-minute stretch out of the 12-minute timeout, allowing a Sam Lindgren layup and a Jordan Swopshire put-back to push the Raiders in front by four, 19-15, with 7:33 to play in the half. Jaworski’s layup at 4:10 finally ended the drought and the Leopards pulled within four on back-to-back triples from Stafford and Klinewski around the one-minute mark. But Colgate closed with six unanswered in the final 39 seconds to push its lead back to 10 at the break, 37-27.
That edge didn’t waver over the opening four minutes of the second half as the Raiders led by 11, 42-31. The Leopards managed just five points over the next stretch as the offense continued to struggle with Colgate ahead by 13, 49-36, with 12:20 remaining.
The home side extended its lead through the eight-minute timeout as a 10-4 spurt made it 59-40. Lafayette could never get anything going to mount a comeback over the final few possessions as the Raiders did nothing to surrender their advantage, closing the game to the buzzer by a final of 76-54.