Lafayette Men's Basketball Grinds Out 54-53 victory over Princeton

Go Leopards! Junior Michael Gruner
Junior Michael Gruner

Dec. 30, 2008

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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.

Game Notes
With his four assists against Princeton, Brown brought his career total to 307, bumping him up to the eighth spot on Lafayette's record list. He is tied with Brian Ehlers, who dished out 307 during 1996-2000.

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.

Former men's basketball players Jamaal Hilliard and Matt Betley were in attendance at Tuesday's game.

 

 

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