Four Reach Double Digits in PL Semifinal Win over Holy Cross

Go Leopards!
Jared Mintz dunks on a Holy Cross player on Sunday when Lafayette beat Holy Cross 66-63 on Sunday.  The win advanced Lafayette to the Patriot League Tournament final on Friday at 4:45 p.m.

Jared Mintz dunks on a Holy Cross player on Sunday when Lafayette beat Holy Cross 66-63 on Sunday. The win advanced Lafayette to the Patriot League Tournament final on Friday at 4:45 p.m.

March 7, 2010

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EASTON, Pa. - Lafayette will play rival Lehigh for the Patriot League title on Friday, March 12 at 4:45 p.m. in front of a nationally televised audience on ESPN2. The No. 3 seed Leopards beat Holy Cross, 66-63, in front of a near-capacity crowd for the Patriot League Tournament semifinal. Four Leopards scored in double figures led by Jim Mower's 17 points.

Lafayette will play the No. 1 seed Mountain Hawks at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, Pa. Lafayette fans are encouraged to wear white to the Patriot League Tournament final.

Lafayette trailed 61-60 with 2:38 left in the game. Sophomore Ryan Willen converted his free throws to give Lafayette the 62-61 lead. Holy Cross' Mike Cavataio rebounded an Andrew Beinert three-point miss and put it back in to put the Crusaders up 63-62 with just under a minute.

The Leopards got the ball to their big man in the paint, and junior Jared Mintz hit a four-footer with 35 seconds left on the clock as Lafayette led 64-63.

With 20 seconds left, Holy Cross's Beinert missed a jumper, but Andrew Keister pulled down the offensive rebound and the Crusaders took a timeout with 17 seconds left.

On its next possession, Beinert, who finished the game with 10 points, missed a shot and Darion Benbow corralled a rebound. Mintz was fouled on the play and went to the line for the last time, making both attempts to give Lafayette a 66-63 lead.

The Crusaders got the ball back with six seconds and called timeout. They pushed the ball up the floor while Lafayette tried to foul in the backcourt. The Crusaders' picked their way through the press and R.J. Evans was left with a three-point attempt that went long.

Willen went 5-of-8 from the field, finishing the game with 15 points, while Mintz scored 14 points and senior Jeff Kari chipped in 10. Kari hit a long three with 4:57 left in the game to put Lafayette up 58-57 and contributed a driving layup at 3:24 to again give Lafayette the lead (60-59) in a game that featured seven ties and 11 lead changes.

In the first half, Holy Cross went on a 6-0 run to tie the game 12-12 with 11:37 minutes left. Mower answered with three straight three's starting at the 7:10 mark and ending at 5:58. Lafayette led 27-19 following the flurry of three's and held a 39-30 halftime margin.

For the game, Lafayette had 18 assists to 12 turnovers compared to eight assists and 15 turnovers for the Crusaders. The Leopards went 15-for-17 from the line (88 percent) while Holy Cross was 6-of-11. Holy Cross held the rebounding advantage (36-28), but shot just 21 percent from three, including 0-for-7 in the second half.

NOTES: Ben Wheeler tied a career-high with seven rebounds. Sunday's matchup pitted a the preseason favorite, Holy Cross, against Lafayette which was picked last in the poll.

Marek Koltun's block put him into Lafayette's all-time top 10 with 52 blocks.

Benbow and Eric Meister both received technical fouls with 17:30 left in the game after a tustle near the Lafayette bench.



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