No. 5/6 Villanova Bests Leopards in Allentown
ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Lafayette men’s basketball team made the short trip across the Lehigh Valley on Friday night to battle with No. 5/6 Villanova at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. Senior co-captain Matt Klinewski led the Leopards with 16 points, but it wasn’t enough in a 104-57 defeat.
The Wildcats used a strong first-half to pull away early, shooting 62.5 percent from the field and 63.2 percent from three. Villanova made nine of its first 11 from three-point range in the game’s first 10 minutes, sending the Leopards to their third loss in as many games.
Freshman Alex Petrie was Lafayette’s other double-digit scorer, scoring 12 points on 5-of-13 from the field. Classmate Dylan Hastings chipped in on the defensive end with three blocks to go along with his two assists and three points.
The Leopards went 22-of-57 from the field (38.6%) and 7-of-29 from three-point range (24.1%) on the night. Ten different Lafayette players logged more than 13 minutes in the contest, including the first in the collegiate career of freshman Justin Jaworski, returning from an ankle injury that kept him out the first two games. Jaworski finished with six points and two rebounds in his 17 minutes of action.
Villanova and Lafayette traded buckets over the opening minutes as a Kyle Stout triple cut the deficit to one at 6-5 through two minutes. Five from Mikal Bridges and a post bucket from Omari Spellman took the game into its first break with the scoreline at 13-5.
Klinewski got into the game over the next few minutes as a post bucket and a finish through a foul made it 19-10 with 13:47 to go, but the Wildcats continued to rain from three-point range, hitting their eighth to take a 28-12 edge midway through the half.
The lead continued to grow through the latter stages of the first stanza as a Spellman post bucket through a foul sent the half to its final four-minute stretch with the Wildcats in front by a 46-19 score. Junior Paulius Zalys picked off a pass and finished above the rim at the other end during the closing stretch, but Villanova continued to score, taking a 56-23 lead into the halftime intermission.
The second half started out with much of the same as the first seven points went Villanova’s way to force an early Lafayette timeout at 17:53 with the deficit at 63-23. Petrie’s triple got the Leopards on the board and his back cut led to an easy layup at the 14:54 mark, but Lafayette’s deficit remained out of reach, trailing by a 72-33 score.
Jaworski hit a triple that got the Leopards their 40th point of the game with 11:56 left in the game. But a Spellman jumper sent the game into its latter stages in hand with the score at 88-41. Lafayette ended the game on a 10-0 run to push the final score to 104-57.
The Leopards return to action in the finale of their four-game road trip on Wednesday, traveling to Princeton for a battle with the Tigers at 7 p.m.