Dec. 5, 2011
Box Score | Photo Gallery
EASTON, Pa. - A career-high 19 points from Nick Petkovich and 21 from Ryan Willen were not enough to overcome Long Island on Monday night in an 82-80 loss at Kirby Sports Center. The Blackbirds lead for the final 14:29 of the game as Lafayette's late surge fell short.
Holding an 11-10 lead five minutes into the game, Lafayette (3-5) used a 12-2 scoring run to take a double-digit advantage midway through the first half. Willen opened the spurt with two of his 11 first-half points. Then Lafayette hit back-to-back three's from Petkovich and Jim Mower, surrounding a layup from LIU's Jamal Olasewere. Mower capped the run with an old-fashioned three-point play in the lane to put the Leopards ahead 22-12.
Lafayette kept the difference at 10 points after Rob Delaney's lay-in with 8:45 showing in the half, but Long Island (5-4) trimmed the deficit to three points over the next three minutes. Olasewere converted a three-point play of his own, two freebies from Arnold Mayorga and C.J. Garner's layup at the 6:41 mark made the score 26-23. Lafayette extended its lead to eight two more times on threes from Joey Ptasinski and Les Smith and was up four, 39-35, heading into the locker room.
The visitors scored nine of the first 11 points in the second half to take the lead 44-42 with 16:06 to play. A Willen field goal with 14:42 to play tied the score at 46 apiece, but then LIU ripped off an 11-2 run over the next four and a half minutes to go up 57-48 with 10:12 on the clock.
Looking to build on its then eight-point lead, Mayorga misfired on a three-point attempt from the wing with 7:22 to play. Battling for the carom, LIU's Julian Boyd (18 points, 6 rebounds), Ptasinski and Willen went tumbling to the hardwood. In the scrum, Boyd was whistled for the initial foul and then a technical as he threw a punch in Willen's direction while on the floor. After the officials' discussion, Boyd was ejected from the game and Mower sank both free throws, pulling the Leopards within six with 7:07 remaining.
Over the following five minutes, Lafayette was unable to close the gap and trailed by as many as 11 with 3:36 to go. Out of the final media timeout, Petkovich knocked down one of his six threes to make it an eight-point game and then drilled another with just under two minutes remaining, cutting the deficit to four. His threes sandwiched a pair of Seth Hinrichs free throws and Blackbirds point guard Jason Brickman's one-of-two at the line.
Trailing by four, Willen, who finished with seven assists, six rips and four steals, snatched an LIU miss with 43 seconds remaining but was stripped by Olasewere who put in two of his 17 points. Petkovich hit another trey with 17 ticks left to make it a three-point game (80-77), Brickman made one-of-two from the stripe and Hinrichs downed a corner three with three seconds to play. Lafayette fouled Brickman, who missed the first and made the second free throw, but the Leopards inbounds pass was intercepted with two seconds left to end the game.
Lafayette hits the road for the first of three contests away from Kirby Sports Center on Wednesday against Penn State. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center and the game can be seen on BigTenNetwork.com at video.btn.com/allaccess
Delaney dished out a career-high eight assists in 27 minutes.
Willen's seven assists are a new-career high and he matched his personal-best with four steals.
Dan Trist set a career-high with three blocks.