EASTON, Pa. – Dan Trist scored a career-high 30 points, including 19 after halftime, as Lafayette shot its way to a 98-94 overtime victory over LIU-Brooklyn on Monday night at Kirby Sports Center.
Trist led all scorers, shooting 14-of-18 from the floor, and Lafayette (1-1) had four players finish in double-figures. Seth Hinrichs netted 20 points on 6-of-12 from the field, Tony Johnson was efficient for the second straight game, scoring 16 (5-of-6 FG) and Joey Ptasinski chipped in 12. As a team, Lafayette connected on 34 of its 64 shots, good for 53.1 percent.
For LIU-Brooklyn (0-2), Jamal Olaswere posted a double-double (25 points, 11 rebounds) while C.J. Garner and Jason Brickman tallied 19 each. Olasewere led LIU at the line, going 11-for-12, as the Blackbirds knocked down 31 of their 38 attempts. Each of the previous two seasons, LIU won the Northeast Conference Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Fran O’Hanlon tinkered with the lineup, starting freshman Bryce Scott at point guard with Lafayette senior captain Tony Johnson coming off the bench. Les Smith also got the starting nod for the first time in his career as O’Hanlon elected to bring in Ptasinski off the bench.
Ptasinski’s three-pointer at the 15-minute mark put Lafayette up 16-8 and was one of four three-pointers in the first half for the Leopards. Minutes later Seth Hinrichs scored four straight points, with the second bucket coming at 13:02 that gave Lafayette a 20-11 advantage. Over the next three minutes, Lafayette pushed the lead to as many as 14 twice, the second on a jumper by Zach Rufer midway through the frame.
By the end of the half, though, the Leopards’ lead was erased as a 13-2 stretch by LIU cut it to three at 5:53. A lay-in by Olasewere put LIU up 41-40 with three minutes to play, but Lafayette sank four straight free throws with 0.2 seconds remaining after LIU Head Coach Jack Perri was assessed a technical foul following a foul on Scott.
Trailing 54-51 four minutes into the second half, Lafayette strung together nine straight points including back-to-back threes to go up 59-54 prior to the first media timeout. The first trifecta came from Smith after great ball movement found him open in the wing and then Ptasinski sank the second from the same spot. The Blackbirds stormed back, scoring the next seven points to take a 61-59 lead following the stoppage.
After five in-a-row from Olasewere, Lafayette cut the Blackbirds’ advantage to two (66-64) when Ptasinski found Trist open under the hoop for an easy deuce. A Jason Brickman free throw preceded a three-pointer by E.J. Reed to extend the lead to six, LIU’s largest of the night. Hinrichs then connected on three jumpers, including two threes surrounding a triple by Garner on the other end, pulling Lafayette within one (73-72) at 7:53.
Out of the timeout, Brickman drilled a three over Lafayette’s zone to make it 76-72. Johnson then dipped in and finished an elbow jumper and converted the three-point play after he was fouled to make it a one-point game. LIU’s Gerrell Martin sank two corner threes, trading off with three two-point field goals on the other end before Trist tied the game at 83 apiece on a turnaround in the lane.
With 2:48 remaining, Ptasinski drove in from the left side and was able to pull off a reverse layup through contact and complete the three-point-play, putting the Leopards up 86-83. Olasewere’s layup and two Garner free throws reclaimed the lead for LIU, but Trist came up with a crucial three-point play on the Leopards’ next possession to give Lafayette a 87-86 lead with 38.5 seconds on the clock.
Following an LIU layup to tie the game, Johnson brought the ball up with 15 seconds remaining and the opportunity to either win the game or send it to overtime. Johnson’s drive was halted by an Olasewere block, sending the game to overtime.
The Leopards began the extra session with a strong defensive stand and two buckets in the paint from Trist. LIU responded with Garner’s jumper to cut the lead to two (93-91). Holding onto a two-point margin with less than a minute to go, the Leopards led 96-94 with the Blackbirds bringing the ball up the floor. A long possession allowed Brandon Thompson a look from three, but it rimmed out to Reed. His putback attempt was swatted away by Levi Giese.
Hinrichs was fouled, giving Lafayette the ability to ice the victory from the free-throw line. He hit the pair of free throws and LIU missed a couple chances late, as the clock ran out with the Leopards on top, 98-94.
Lafayette hits the road for the first time this season when it travels to defending National Champion Kentucky on Friday. Tipoff from Rupp Arena is set for 7 p.m. and Leopard fans can listen to a free audio broadcast through GoLeopards.com/allaccess
Bryce Scott made his first career start in just his second game with the program
Levi Giese matched his career high with three blocks, the second straight game he sent back three shots
The last time a Lafayette player scored 30 points was when Jim Mower ’12 had 37 against Fairleigh Dickinson on Nov. 22, 2011
Dan Trist is 21-of-25 from the floor through the Leopards’ first two games
Tonight’s game was the first of four for Lafayette as part of the Barclays Center Classic
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