Leopards End Regular Season with Fifth Straight Win
March 2, 2013
Lafayette hosts #7 seed Holy Cross in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal on Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online at goleopardstickets.com
For the third straight game, Tony Johnson paced the Leopards (17-14, 10-4) offensively, scoring 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting and an 8-for-8 effort at the free throw line. Three other Lafayette players reached double digits in the scoring column, Dan Trist (15), Seth Hinrichs (14) and Bryce Scott (14), as the team connected on 57.4 percent from the floor and was 19-of-21 from the free throw line.
The Leopards, winners of five in a row, took a 33-27 lead into halftime following a tightly contested first half that featured two ties and six lead changes. Leading by three with 11 seconds remaining in the half, head coach Fran O'Hanlon used a timeout to draw up the final possession, which resulted in a three by Hinrichs on a handoff from Trist at the top of the key.
Lafayette hit for 55.6 percent on 15-of-27 shooting in the period and used a 13-5 run to end the half.
American opened the second half with a free throw by Stephen Lumpkins and a three-pointer by Jesse Reed to cut the deficit to two, but a layup by Johnson, a three by Levi Giese and a pair at the line by Scott after an intentional offensive foul on Daniel Munoz pushed Lafayette lead to 40-32.
On the extra possession Giese connected again from distance and Lafayette extended the lead to 11 less than four minutes in. A jumper by Munoz made it 45-36, but Scott drilled back-to-back threes to put the Leopards up 15 and complete a 16-4 stretch for Lafayette.
Jon Schoof's triple stopped the bleeding before three consecutive layups, including two by Johnson, gave Lafayette a 57-40 cushion with 12 minutes to play. Ten straight points by the Eagles brought American within seven at 57-50, before Johnson made a floater and two at the line to put Lafayette back up 11 with 7:37 left.
The teams traded baskets over the next four minutes and Lafayette held a 10-point lead (66-56) going into the final media timeout. Schoof's three ball preceded two at the stripe by Lumpkins in a one-and-one situation to cut the deficit in half (66-61), before Trist was fouled on a jumper and converted a pair himself.
Lumpkins and Trist each scored on the inside before Blake Jolivette's elbow jumper pulled American within five once again at 1:07. From there, Lafayette went 10-of-10 from the line and American never made it a one-possession game as Lafayette never trailed in the second half and went on to the eight-point win.
Trist registered a career-high four assists and has scored at least 12 points eight straight games.
Johnson matched his career high with two blocks.
Lafayette improved to 12-3 when scoring more than 69 points, 10-0 when shooting better than 50 percent and 13-3 when leading at halftime.
The five consecutive wins are the most since 2010.
Lafayette is 9-1 when at least four players reach double figures.
Recently graduated Lafayette players Jared Mintz '11, Michael Gruner '10, J.D. Pelham '12, Ben Wheeler '11 and Deirunas Visockas '11 were all in attendance at the game.