Defensive Effort Sends Leopards to Thanksgiving
PRINCETON, N.J. – The Lafayette men’s basketball team put together its best defensive game of the season, but the offense went cold in the second half as the Leopards moved to the Thanksgiving holiday with a 60-46 loss to Princeton.
The 60 points allowed were the lowest for the Maroon and White since a 69-59 win over Holy Cross on Feb. 8, 2017. The defeat drops the Leopards to 0-4 on the young season, with all four losses coming away from home, while Princeton picks up its first win of the season, sitting at 1-3.
Freshman Justin Jaworski and senior co-captain Matt Klinewski were the majority of the Lafayette offense, tallying 13 points apiece. Those 13 are Jaworski’s season-high in his second game of his career as he went 4-of-9 from the field and made all four of his shots from the foul line.
After hitting on 9-of-18 from the field (50.0%) in the first 20 minutes, the Leopards made just 7-of-25 in the second stanza (28.0%), knocking down just 1 of their 12 three-point attempts for 17 second-half points. On the other side, Princeton improved its shooting by more than 11 percent in the second half from the first, making 12-of-27 in the second stanza (44.4%). Devin Cannady led all scorers with 17 points, including a 4-of-7 mark from distance.
Princeton’s rebounding proved to be a difference in the game as well, winning the battle on the glass by a comfortable 37-24 margin. That edge led to a 14-0 advantage in second-chance points.
The game started evenly between the two sides as Klinewski’s four and free throws from Jaworski helped answer six early points from Cannady to go into the first media timeout down just a bucket, 8-6. Cannady added another five over the next four minutes, but a Lukas Jarrett three and an E.J. Stephens jumper kept the margin at two through the midway point of the half, 13-11.
A beautiful spinning post move from Klinewski at the 6:11 mark gave the Leopards the 20-19 lead, marking the third and fourth points of a 9-0 run that pushed Lafayette to a 25-19 advantage into the final timeout with 3:27 left in the half. Princeton scored six straight out of that break to tie it back up at 25, but the Leopards responded to take a 29-27 lead into the halftime intermission.
The Tigers’ Myles Stephens opened the second half with four straight to regain the lead for Princeton, but a strong layup finish off an inbounds play from Jaworski put Lafayette back up 33-31 after three-plus minutes. Then, the Lafayette offense went cold as the Tigers began to heat up with a 13-2 run over five minutes that swung the momentum to the home side, leading by a 44-35 margin at the midway point.
That lead grew to 13 through the eight-minute media timeout as Cannady’s off-balance contested triple from the left corner made it 53-40. The Leopards could never really get going to mount a comeback over the final stretch as the Tigers finished it off with a final of 60-46.
Lafayette finally opens its home slate in its next contest, hosting Saint Peter’s on Sunday. Tipoff from Kirby Sports Center is set for 2 p.m.