Penn, Palestra Await Leopards in Final Non-League Tilt
Jan. 16, 2006
Tip-Off: 7:00 p.m. EST
Match Up:Lafayette (8-7) at Penn (8-5)
Site: Philadelphia, Pa.
Arena: Palestra (8,700)
Series: Penn leads, 36-3
Radio: WEST-AM 1400, www.goleopards.com
Dick Hammer, Phil LaBella
AT A GLANCE: The annual battle of "Frans" pits Lafayette head coach Fran O'Hanlon and the Leopards against Penn head coach Fran Dunphy and his Quakers. O'Hanlon, who is in his 11th season on College Hill, worked under Dunphy from 1989-95, Dunphy's first six seasons with the Quakers...Lafayette is coming off an 80-67 win over Navy on Saturday, and Monday's game will finish off the non-conference slice of the 2005-06 schedule. The contest begins one of the toughest strings of contests for the Leopards, as Lafayette will turn around and play Patriot League frontrunner Bucknell on Wednesday before hosting arch rival Lehigh on Saturday. Penn, too, has been busy in the past couple of days, and will be playing its third game in four days. The Quakers claimed wins over Cornell and Columbia on Friday and Saturday.
LAST TIME OUT: Lafayette used a 20-0 run in the second half that included three-pointers on six straight possessions to notch an 80-67 win over Navy on Saturday. Freshman Andrew Brown matched a career-high 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting, including four of Lafayette's 12 three-point buckets. Sophomore Paul Cummins played 13 minutes and finished with as many points, as he went 4-for-5 from the field and 3-for-4 from long range. Each managed a pair of three's in the decisive run that left Lafayette up 64-39 with 10:18 left in the game.
LEOPARDS LIGHTING IT UP IN JANUARY: Lafayette has been hot from the floor in the month of January, shooting 50.2 percent in four games. The Leopards shot a season-best 60.4 percent (29-of-48) from the floor in an 85-74 win over Colgate on Wed. Jan. 11. Against Navy, Lafayette hit for 53 percent from the floor on 24-of-45 shooting. In Lafayette's other two games, the Leopards knocked down 54 percent at Mount St. Mary's but put together an uncharacteristic 37 percent afternoon at Holy Cross.
ON THE SIDELINE: Two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year Fran O'Hanlon (Villanova, '70) is in his eleventh season as the Leopards' head coach. He has twice led Lafayette's non-scholarship program to the NCAA Tournament and lays claim to three Patriot League regular-season titles among his credentials. O'Hanlon's career record stands at 158-143, a mark that includes two 20-win seasons.
SWIPING FROM THE FOUR SPOT: Power forward Ted Detmer is a rarity in college basketball, a four-man who leads the team in steals (33). Detmer is averaging 2.2 steals per game and has managed four steals in four different games this season, including Lafayette's win over Navy (1/14).
NEXT UP: The Leopards will travel two and a half hours across I-80 to Lewisburg to face reigning Patriot League Bucknell on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Bucknell is a perfect 3-0 in Patriot League play and 12-3 overall.
SCOUTING PENN: Penn comes into the game having won its last two outings. The Quakers played the first of several traditional Ivy League weekends, collecting a 40-point win over Cornell on Friday (84-44) and a 32-point decision over Columbia (87-55) on Saturday. Penn has won five of its last six, the only setback a 78-63 loss to Fordham on Jan. 9.
Junior guard Ibrahim Jaaber leads Penn's very balanced scoring attack with 18.8 ppg and a team-best 24 three-pointers. Jaaber scored 20 points on Friday against Cornell. Senior Eric Osmundsen, originally a transfer from Utah, has started every game and checks in with 9.4 ppg. Sophomore David Whitehurst (7.5 ppg) rounds out the three-guard lineup.
In the frontcourt, junior forward Mark Zoller has played in 12 of 13 games with eight starts. Zoller, who scored 21 points vs. Columbia on Saturday, is averaging 11.3 ppg and 5.6 rpg and is second only to Steve Danley (6.3 rpg) in rebounding. Danley is also leading the team in assists on a squad that takes exceptional care of the basketball. The Quakers commit just 13.4 turnovers per game and dish out 14.8 assists.
Head coach Fran Dunphy is in his 17th season, and holds a 298-159 record.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES: This is Lafayette's 40th meeting with Penn in the Leopards' 96 seasons of basketball. The Leopards are 3-36 all-time versus the Quakers, and Lafayette has never beaten Penn in the Palestra...Lafayette and Penn have played each other every season since 1988-89. Penn has won the last eight meetings, including last year's 85-63 decision in Easton. The first series meeting was Feb. 3, 1917, as the two teams squared off in Easton in a game the Quakers won by a touchdown 23-17.
A HOT HAND VS. COLGATE: Senior co-captain Andrei Capusan has consistently been the most accurate shooter on Lafayette's roster with a 65 percent clip from the field. The power forward elevated his game against Colgate, scoring a career-high 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the floor. Capusan currently ranks second in the Patriot League in shooting.
LEOPARDS AT THE LINE: Lafayette ranks 21st in the nation in free throw percentage according to the latest NCAA statistics (Jan. 9). Lafayette, which has been ranked as high as ninth in the nation this season, is shooting 75 percent from the stripe. Jamaal Hilliard, who finished fifth in the nation in 2004-05 at 91 percent, is hitting 84 percent (.836) from the line while Bilal Abdullah is converting at an 83 percent rate.
MORE FREE THROW NOTES: Lafayette's big men have also been very accurate at the line. Andrei Capusan has finished off 22 of his 29 attempts (76%) while Everest Schmidt has made 21-of-25 (84%) and Ted Detmer (73% - 40-of-55).
HILLIARD STARTS AND DELIVERS: After missing the first three games of the season due to a stress reaction in his foot, Jamaal Hilliard has earned a start in the Leopards' last eight contests. The junior is one of the top returning scorers from last year's lineup and has showed why as of late. Hilliard has averaged 11.0 points and 3.9 rebounds per game when he is in the starting lineup. Hilliard poured in a season-high 20 points against Colgate (1/11) and followed up with 13 against Navy in Lafayette's last outing.
A TOTAL TEAM EFFORT...AGAIN: In a pair of January wins, the Leopards have received that total team effort that all coaches are always looking for. In the first Patriot League win of the season over Colgate on Jan. 11, four players hit double figures, paced by Andrei Capusan's 21 and Jamaal Hilliard's 20. Five others finished with at least six points. The same number hauled in at least three boards, as the Leopards won the battle 31-26. In Lafayette's win over Mount St. Mary's on Jan. 3, each of the eight players who participated in the game scored at least six points. With Everest Schmidt sitting out due to illness, the bench was shorter than usual, especially in the rebounding department, and the Leopards' received a team effort with every player grabbing at least two rebounds as Lafayette outrebounded Mount St. Mary's 30-29. Ted Detmer led the way with five caroms followed by three other players with four.
WHO'S IN THE STARTING FIVE?: Fran O'Hanlon has used seven different starting lineup combinations through Lafayette's first 14 games (see chart on page 7), but has stuck to the same starting lineup over the past three games. No player has been in the starting lineup every game this season. Sophomore Ted Detmer has started a team-high 14 games, while classmate Bilal Abdullah has 13 starts under his belt. Freshman Andrew Brown and sophomore Everest Schmidt have each started 12.
WHO'S COMING OFF THE BENCH: The Leopards have gone deep into their bench all season, and it's expected to continue as Patriot League play opens. Fran O'Hanlon has consistently played nine players, all of whom have averaged at least 17 minutes a game.
BENCH SCORING: Lafayette is far from dependent on its starting five for scoring. The Leopards' bench has averaged 30 points per game of the team's 70.1 points per game average, 42 percent of the team's scoring.
STELLAR SOPHOMORES: There has been no sophomore slump for the Class of 2008. The five-member sophomore class makes up one-third of Lafayette's roster and at times, three-fifths of the starting lineup. Bilal Abdullah leads the team in scoring (10.7 ppg), while four others (Ted Detmer, Everest Schmidt, Paul Cummins and Matt Betley) are averaging a combined 25 points a game. Overall, this class has contributed 52 percent of the Leopards' offense, while hauling down 60 percent of the team's boards. LAFAYETTE vs. IVY LEAGUE: Lafayette has played 196 games against the eight members of the Ivy League all time, and has a 78-118 (.398) record in those contests. Under Fran O'Hanlon, the Leopards are 24-26 (.480) versus the Ivy League. Last season, Lafayette played four games against the Ancient Eight foes, finishing 1-3 after beating Columbia and losing to Princeton, Penn and Cornell. This season, Lafayette faces the same four Ivy League schools, having already beaten Princeton (57-46) and Cornell (57-43) in back-to-back contests on Nov. 27 and 29, respectively, before losing to Columbia, 71-67, on Dec. 10.
Brown 11-8 Columbia 25-11 Cornell 11-7 Dartmouth 3-2 Harvard 2-3 Penn 3-36 Princeton 16-42 Yale 7-9
JUST YOUR STANDARD FIVE-GUARD SET: At times during the 2005-06 season, Fran O'Hanlon has employed a five-guard lineup. Even with the loss of Marcus Harley for what will likely be most if not all of the season, the Leopards are very deep at the guard position with six guards now seeing significant time on the floor. While the lineup obviously gives Lafayette trouble on the boards, the quickness of the Lafayette guard corps forces matchup problems for the Leopards' opponents.
ON THE BOARDS: Being undersized at nearly every position, rebounding has been a tough task for Lafayette. Two forwards, Ted Detmer (5.0 rpg) and Everest Schmidt (4.7 rpg), have been doing the bulk of the work on the boards while four other players are pulling down more than three rebounds per game. Lafayette has won the battle of the boards on six occasions, resulting in six wins.
THE LAND OF THE THREE: Employing a run-and-gun, up-tempo style, head coach Fran O'Hanlon and the Leopards have clearly established a more perimeter-oriented offense. The Leopards have shot 35.5 percent from three-point range, and have hit at least 10 three's in six contests this season. Lafayette has considerable depth at the guard spot and features several players with long-range capabilities. Paul Cummins and Andrew Brown lead Lafayette with 28 three-pointers apiece.Pat Betley follows closely behind with 22. Lafayette ranks first in the Patriot League with 123 three-pointers made (8.2 per game).
SENIORS STEP UP VS. MARIST: Lafayette's two seniors have shown leadership throughout the season, but the co-captain duo broke out in style against Marist on Dec. 3. Guard Pat Betley and forward Andrei Capusan combined for 41 points and 49 percent of the Leopards offense in the 92-84 defeat. Betley hit seven three's in the contest, recording a career-high 25 points. Capusan came off the bench against Marist and scored 16 points.
DEFENSE DOMINANT IN CONSECUTIVE IVY LEAGUE WINS: The Lafayette defense drove the team in a pair of Ivy League wins over Princeton and Cornell to close out November. Lafayette held Princeton (11/27) to just 46 points and 40 percent shooting in a 57-46 victory. The Leopards also forced 18 turnovers (9 of which came on steals) against the Tigers' ball control offense. Lafayette followed that with an even more dominating defensive performance against Cornell on Nov. 29. Lafayette forced 18 turnovers, held the Big Red to a 31 percent effort from the floor and allowed 43 points. The last time that Lafayette held two D-I opponents below 50 points in consecutive victories was the beginning of the 1998-99 season, as Lafayette beat Dartmouth 56-41 and Princeton 63-47.
DOUBLING UP...AGAIN: Sophomore forward Everest Schmidt added another double-double to his season output against Dickinson on Dec. 20. Schmidt dropped in 10 points and equaled that number of rebounds. Schmidt posted his first career double-double on Nov. 22 vs. Alvernia, scoring 12 points while pulling down 10 boards, both career-highs.
A FAMILY SKIRMISH: For the second straight season, a Lafayette player faced off against his brother in a game. On Dec. 20, Junior guard Kerry Kenny lined up against his younger brother Cory Kenny who is a freshman at Dickinson. In 2004-05, Matt Betley squared off with his older brother, Chris, when Moravian came to College Hill. The Leopards ended up on the positive side of both games.
BROWN TAPPED LEAGUE'S ROOKIE OF THE WEEK (11/27): In the second week of nominations, the Patriot League named 5-11 guard Andrew Brown its Rookie of the Week for the period ending Nov. 27. The freshman started both at point guard during that week and averaged 11.0 points in the Leopards' pair of wins. The Littleton, Colo. native is the only freshman to break into the starting lineup.
PATRIOT LEAGUE PRESEASON POLL: Predicted to finish seventh in the Patriot League preseason poll, the Leopards have been working hard to silence the critics and return to their winning ways. Behind 14 first-place votes, Bucknell topped preseason the list as the favorite heading into the season. Lafayette finds itself 2-1 heading into Wednesday's tilt with first-place Bucknell.
MANNING THE WHEEL: At the start of the season, seniors Pat Betley and Andrei Capusan were named captains for the 2005-06 team. Betley and Capusan are in charge of a youthful squad which features just four upperclassmen (juniors or seniors) who play a significant role.
FIVE FRESH BODIES FOR MAROON AND WHITE: Head coach Fran O'Hanlon and his staff had a busy offseason, inking five new student-athletes, three of which hail from South Jersey. Additions to the Lafayette roster include guard Andrew Brown (Littleton, Colo.), forwards Derek Heckendorn (Haddonfield, N.J.), Brian Young (Cherry Hill, N.J.) and Dave Smith (Cape May Court House, N.J.), and center Tom Leszczynski (West Babylon, N.Y.). CUMMINS, BETLEY EARN PL HONOR ROLL ACCOLADES: Sophomores Matt Betley and Paul Cummins earned Patriot League Academic Honor Roll status following the spring semester, while recent graduate Jamie Hughes also earned mention. Betley, currently an undeclared major, carried a 3.50 grade point average in his first year on College Hill. Cummins boasted a 3.28 GPA as a freshman biology major.
ABDULLAH ROOKIE OF THE WEEK (x3): Bilal Abdullah is aiming to improve on an already solid career in the Maroon and White. In 2004-05, the three-time Patriot League Rookie of the Week honoree averaged 8.7 points per game and 1.0 assists per game as a rookie. He scored 15 points and contributed five rebounds, three assists and three steals against Navy on Jan. 8 to give the Anchorage, Alaska native his third Rookie of the Week honor in 2004-05. He was also named Rookie of the Week on Dec. 20 after a 21-point, 10-rebound, nine-assist performance in Lafayette's 95-89 overtime win over Cal State-Northridge. Abdullah also earned the honor on Jan. 3.
HOOPING IT UP OVERSEAS: Top Lafayette assistant John Gallagher coached a team of current college players over the summer, including Lafayette sophomore forwards Ted Detmer and Everest Schmidt, while they toured Belgium, France and Holland. The team represented Global Sports, a full service sports and entertainment marketing, public relations, advertising and management agency. The work overseas appears to have paid off for the two big men, as they have both moved into a starting role in 2005-06, while adding a solid presence under the basket.
YEP, THEY'RE RELATED: At the start of last season, senior co-captain Pat Betley welcomed his first cousin Matt Betley to the Lafayette basketball program. Bearing the same surname, their fathers are brothers. Both players have New Jersey roots, as Pat hails from Haddonfield, while Matt calls Mount Laurel home.
THE EUROPEAN CONNECTION: A pair of European natives appear on Lafayette's roster, along with student-athletes from seven different states. Four years ago, senior co-captain Andrei Capusan came to College Hill from Bucharest, Romania. Teammate and sophomore guard Paul Cummins crossed the Atlantic from Kildare, Ireland to Easton, Pa. just a year ago.
ALL-TIME AT LAFAYETTE: In the 96 seasons of men's basketball at Lafayette College, the Leopards hold an overall record of 1168-1016 (.535). Lafayette's first season of basketball was in 1900-01 when the team posted a winning record of 4-3.
LAFAYETTE ON TELEVISION: For the ninth straight season, Lafayette features the most expansive television package in the Patriot League. The Leopards have 12 games televised and have the possibility of adding three more televised contests in the Patriot League Tournament. The Lafayette Sports Network is airing 11 games to more than 9.1 million viewers in the Lehigh Valley, Pocono region, Philadelphia, central New Jersey and New York City. Locally the telecasts can be seen on RCN Cable channels 4 and 60, Service Electric Cable channel 51, Blue Ridge Cable channel 5 and broadcast channel 60. Nationally, they can be picked up for the sixth straight year by various DIRECTV and DISH Network outlets. Emmy-nominated local sports broadcaster Gary Laubach will handle all of the Leopards' play-by-play duties, while former Lafayette men's basketball coach John Leone will provide color commentary. Additionally, RCN's Dan Mowdy will provide sideline reports.
ON THE RADIO: One of the longest running radio broadcast relationships in college basketball, WEST-AM 1400 enters its 70th year as the radio home of Lafayette Athletics. Dick Hammer is in his 39th season of calling the play-by-play for Lafayette men's basketball. Hammer is joined by Carl Schumacher at home games and most road contests by Phil LaBella (Lafayette SID). WEST-AM Stereo 1400 continually enjoys one of the highest AM ratings in the Lehigh Valley. WEST's broadcasts can be heard live worldwide through www.lafayette.edu.
LAFAYETTE ATHLETICS ON THE WEB: The quickest and most comprehensive source for information on Lafayette athletics is the world wide web. Go to www.lafayette.edu and click on "Sports."