Lafayette Men's Basketball Grinds Out 54-53 victory over Princeton
Dec. 30, 2008
EASTON, Pa. - Trailing by one point, Princeton (2-8) stole the ball with 28 seconds remaining, but Lafayette (4-8) refused to give an inch and its lockdown defense in the final seconds propelled the Leopards to a 54-53 victory on Tuesday night.
With two seconds left, Dan Mavraides' shot clanked off the front of the rim. He managed to get his own rebound and threw up a prayer near the foul line as time expired. But that too fell short and Lafayette handed the Tigers their sixth straight loss.
Junior Michael Gruner led the team with a career-high 15 points and Andrew Brown shot a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line en route to a 14-point performance. Princeton was led by Pawel Buczak and Mavraides, who both tallied 11.
Marcus Schroeder's three-pointer put Princeton up 14-7 midway through the first half. Lafayette closed the gap with a 6-0 run, holding the Tigers scoreless for more than five-and-a-half minutes.
Brown converted an and-one play to tie the score at 16 with 3:34 remaining in the first half. He gave Lafayette its first lead at 2:22 after converting two free throws, 18-16.
The Leopards entered halftime with a 23-21 lead after Brown drained a three from the corner off a pass by Gruner. The combined 44 points were the fewest at halftime of Lafayette's 12 games this season.
Princeton regained a four-point lead, 32-28, after Buczak made a three-point play at 14:01, but Jeff Kari's back-to-back treys spurred an 11-3 Leopard run.
The Tigers clawed their way back after Doug Davis hit a three-pointer with 9:33 remaining to boost them up to a 40-39 lead. After that, the game exchanged hands four more times until Gruner sank 3-of-4 free throw attempts in the last 2:18 to give Lafayette enough for the win.
Lafayette finishes its three-game homestand on Friday with a 1 p.m. tipoff against Mount St. Mary's.
The 44 points at halftime were the fewest since Jan. 13, 2007, when Navy headed into the locker room with a 28-16 lead over the Leopards.
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