Leopards Take to the Snowy Highways For a Pair of League Contests
Jan. 20, 2005
Friday, Jan. 21, 2005 - 7:00 p.m. EST
Sunday, Jan. 23, 2005 - 1:00 p.m. EST
Radio: WEST-AM 1400, www.goleopards.com
THE STORY LINE: Lafayette closes out a four-game league road swing with trips to Lewisburg, Pa. on Friday and Hamilton, N.Y. on Sunday. Bucknell is 3-0 in the Patriot League and riding a nine-game winning streak, while Lafayette and Colgate are both 1-2 in the league standings. The Leopards lost close games at Lehigh and American to start the trip.
LAFAYETTE-COLGATE GAME ON TV: Lafayette's game vs. Colgate on Sunday will be televised live by Time Warner Sports. The game can be seen in Central New York including areas from the Canadian border to Ithaca, N.Y. and between between Rochester and Syracuse to Utica, N.Y. The broadcast originates on Channel 26 out of Syracuse.
LAST TIME OUT: Penn extended a 47-39 halftime advantage to 20 points midway through the second half, and Tim Begley tied a school record with 13 assists as the Quakers handed Lafayette an 85-63 defeat on Tuesday night. The Leopards trailed early but forced a 23-23 tie on a basket by Andrei Capusan. An 11-2 run gave the Quakers a 34-25 lead with 6:59 left. Lafayette came back with a 9-2 surge, and pulled within 36-34 on a Marcus Harley three-pointer. Penn outscored the Leopards 23-7 in the next 11 minutes and led 59-41 with 13:46 left. Harley led Lafayette with 14 points, and Capusan had 11.
COMING UP: The Friday-Sunday league schedule continues next weekend at Kirby Sports Center. Holy Cross visits on Friday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m., and the Leopards host Army on Sunday, Jan. 30 at 1 p.m.
NATIONALLY-RANKED: As of the last NCAA rankings (1/17) Jamaal Hilliard ranks fifth in the nation in free throw percentage. The sophomore guard was 10-for-10 from the line in the season-opener at Duquesne, and in the league opener against Navy. His percentage currently stands at 90.9 (50-55).
CAPUSAN CONTRIBUTIONS: Junior Andrei Capusan has been giving Lafayette quality minutes off the bench all season. The Bucharest, Romania native, who is looked to as an offensive spark and athletic rebounder, is averaging 9.1 ppg and 4.8 rpg while playing just over 20 minutes per game. For the season, Capusan is second in the Patriot League with a 57.1 percent rate from the field. In conference action he is good for 63 percent from the floor (10-16) and 93 percent from the line (13-14) while scoring 11.0 ppg. Capusan has season-highs of 16 points (vs. Navy) and 15 rebounds (at Marist).
FROM THE LAND O' PLENTY: Freshman Paul Cummins has been filling it up from three-point range in the last five games. The first-year guard, who hails from Kildare, Ireland, has made 10 of his last 23 shots from long distance and is averaging 8.8 points in 22 minutes per game over the stretch. Cummins scored a career-high 17 points at St. Francis (N.Y.), and has netted eight points on 2-of-4 shooting from behind the arc in each of the last three games.
ON THE SIDELINE: Two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year Fran O'Hanlon (Villanova, '70) is in his tenth season as the Leopards' mentor. 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 146-128, a mark that includes two 20-win seasons.
BUCKNELL SCOUTING REPORT: Bucknell is the hottest team in the Patriot League, with a nine-game winning streak that includes perhaps the biggest upset in the 15-year history of the league. The Bison opened the new year with a 69-66 victory at No. 10 Pittsburgh, a win that was preceded by triumphs over Niagara (76-74) and St. Joseph's (69-62). Bucknell, 3-0 in league play, opened with an impressive 59-43 win vs. Holy Cross. The Bison placed three players on the pre-season all-league team. Junior guards Kevin Bettencourt and Charles Lee average 13.5 and 12.5 ppg, respectively. Bettencourt has made 34 three's and ranks fourth nationally with a 93.3 percent showing from the foul line, and Lee has 25 three-point makes and leads the team with 6.5 rebounds per game. Sophomore center Chris McNaughton completes the trio, with 13.1 ppg and 5.4 rpg, and is first in the PL with a 58 percent rate from the field. Sophomore guard Abe Badmus sparks the team with 42 assists and 34 steals. Forwards John Clark (so., 3.8 ppg) and John Griffin (fr., 6.8 ppg) have also spent time in the starting lineup. Bucknell is coached by Pat Flannery, who is 161-140 in 11 seasons in Lewisburg and 256-181 overall.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES: In Lafayette's 95 years of basketball, the Leopards have played only Lehigh more frequently than the Bucknell Bison. Lafayette owns the all-time series, which started in 1915, by an 82-50 margin. The match-up has been even of late, as Fran O'Hanlon and Pat Flannery each have 10 wins since the 1995-96 season.
COLGATE SCOUTING REPORT: Colgate, which enters the weekend with a 6-10 record overall and 1-2 in the Patriot League, will host Lehigh on Friday before playing the Leopards on Sunday afternoon. The Raiders won their league opener 60-56 over Army before losing 71-69 vs. Bucknell and 74-64 at Holy Cross. Colgate is coming off a 69-61 win at Dartmouth its last time out. Three veterans have complemented the hot shooting of a freshman guard. Senior Andrew Zidar (13.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is a threat both inside and outside the three-point arc and leads the team in rebounding. Along with Zidar, junior Alvin Reed (13.3 ppg) and sophomore Jon Simon (13.2 ppg) rank 5-6-7 in the league in scoring. Kyle Roemer, a three-time recipient of the Patriot League Rookie of the Week, leads the circuit in three-point percentage (51.4) and is third in three's per game (2.25). Roemer is 36-of-70 from downtown this season. He scored 15 points in both games last week, connecting on 10-of-11 shots from long distance. Senior Keith Williams (5.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg) and freshman Alex Woodhouse (4.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg) are also key components for Colgate. Head coach Emmett Davis is 92-94 in his seventh season at Colgate.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES: If familiarity breeds contempt, then Lafayette and Colgate don't really like each other. The two teams have met in the Patriot League tournament in each of the last three seasons, with the Raiders winning 67-66 in overtime last year. The Leopards have lost four straight in Hamilton, and are 10-12 against Colgate in the Fran O'Hanlon era.
ABDULLAH ROOKIE OF THE WEEK (x 3): Freshman Bilal Abdullah 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 Patriot League Rookie of the Week honor in 2004-05. Abdullah is second on the team with 9.3 ppg and leads the squad with 47 assists and 28 steals. He was previously 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, with 12 points and a career-high four steals at Georgia Tech and a team-high 11 points in a winning effort against Columbia.
GETTING IT DONE ON THE GLASS: Sophomore Jamaal Douglas leads the Patriot League in rebounding with 7.8 rebounds per game. The Bahamas native pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds against Navy on Jan. 8 and also reached a career-best with 18 points in Lafayette's 90-80 win. Of the Leopards' year-by-year rebounding leaders over the last 25 seasons, only Stefan Ciosici, the 1998 PL Player of the Year, had at least 17 boards in a single game. At Lehigh, Douglas had 12 rebounds, his fourth game in double figures this season.
LAFAYETTE VS. THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Lafayette has played 567 games against the seven members of the Patriot League, and has a 323-244 record in all games against them. In Patriot League play, Lafayette is 83-102 in the regular season and 10-12 in the Patriot League Tournament. Under Fran O'Hanlon, the Leopards are 68-47 in Patriot League regular-season play. Lafayette was 10-2 in 1997-98 and 1998-99, 11-1 in 1999-00, 4-8 in 2000-01, 8-6 in 2001-02, 6-8 in 2002-03 and 9-5 in 2003-04.
American 15-14 Colgate 33-39 Lehigh 132-69 Army 28-18 Holy Cross 13-20 Navy 20-34 Bucknell 82-50BALANCE IN THE SCORING COLUMN: Lafayette has had eight players score at least 14 points in a game this season. The 2003-04 squad, which averaged 75.6 ppg and led the league in scoring by almost eight points per night, had only seven players achieve that level of offensive output all season. Bilal Abdullah is the only Leopard to reach the 20-point plateau this year, with 21 against Cal State-Northridge.
HANGIN' 80 ON 'EM: Lafayette is 3-0 this season when scoring at least 80 points in a game. The Leopards opened the year with an 85-71 win at Duquesne, and used 20 points in the overtime session to pull out a 95-89 victory over Cal State-Northridge. Lafayette made 36 free throws en route to 90 points in a 10-point win over Navy.
THREE-POINT BUZZER-BEATERS: Perhaps having a freshman hit a halftime buzzer-beater is the key to winning this season for Lafayettte. The Leopards have hit from long range in three of their five wins. In the season opener at Duquesne, Matt Betley dialed up long distance as the clock wound down for the first points of his career. Against Moravian, Bilal Abdullah followed suit by hitting a buzzer-beating trifecta from the half-court offense. Against Columbia, Ted Detmer did his best Christian Laettner impression, reeling in a pass at mid-court, dribbling twice and firing a three as time expired.
THE STARTING FIVE: With the graduation of four senior starters who started at least two seasons apiece, the 2004-05 Lafayette starting lineup has a much younger look. Head coach Fran O'Hanlon has gone with nine unique starting lineups this season. Sophomore point guard Marcus Harley is the only player who has been in the starting lineup every game (16 games) and has been joined by Jamaal Hilliard (10 starts), Bilal Abdullah (9 starts), Matt Betley (7 starts), Pat Betley (3 starts) and Paul Cummins (3 starts). In the frontcourt, senior center Jamie Hughes has started 15 games while sophomore Jamaal Douglas (13 starts) and junior Andrei Capusan (4 starts) have split time at power forward. O'Hanlon has given nine players at least three starts each.
OFF THE BENCH: Lafayette's leading scorer, senior Sean Knitter, does all of his scoring off the bench. He is averaging 10.5 points and 5.3 rebounds while playing 20 minutes per game. The lone start of Knitter's Lafayette career came at Navy on Feb. 1, 2004 when he poured in 15 points in 15 minutes of action. Lafayette has had 25 double figure scorers off the bench, led by Knitter, who has scored 10 or more points in 10 games. A member of the starting five has hit double figures on 21 occasions.
TURNOVER TRIALS: Not surprising for a young team, turnovers have been an issue for the Leopards in 2004-05. Lafayette is averaging 18.9 turnovers per game and forcing an average of 14.5 for a margin of 4.4. However, Lafayette is averaging 17.0 turnovers and forcing 16.7 for a margin of 0.3 through the first three games of league play. In 2003-04 Lafayette committed 15.3 and forced 13.5 for a difference of 1.8 turnovers per game.
PLAYING THE PASSING LANES: After averaging just 3.5 steals through the first seven contests, Lafayette has dialed up its intensity with 8.8 steals in the last nine games. One of the Leopards' most skilled offensive players, Bilal Abdullah has also emerged as a threat on the defensive end. The freshman guard has at least three steals in seven of the last 10 games, including four versus Moravian and Georgia Tech. He leads the team with 28 steals on the season, and also paces the squad with 47 assists.
AGAINST NATIONALLY-RANKED OPPONENTS: Lafayette faced two teams ranked in the AP and ESPN/USA Today Top 25 this season. The Leopards trailed No. 9 Georgia Tech 49-43 with 13:14 remaining before the Yellow Jackets pulled away and won 92-58. Lafayette traveled to Louisville on Dec. 4 when the Cardinals were ranked 17th in the nation. The last time Lafayette had faced a nationally-ranked opponent was March 17, 2000 against No. 5 Temple in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Lafayette, the 15th seed in the East Region, lost to the Owls 73-47 in Buffalo.
DEEP SHOTS FROM A DEEP BENCH: A pair of Leopards made their first career three-pointers at Georgia Tech. Senior 7-0 center Jamie Hughes caught a pass at the top of the key, stared down Jackets' center Luke Schenscher, and dropped a three on his first attempt in four seasons to put the Leopards ahead 7-5 3:09 into the game. Hughes finished with a season-high nine points. Sophomore Kerry Kenny hit a triple for his first career points with 56 seconds left in the game, a shot he banked in from the top of the arc. DEFENDING THEIR TURF: In the friendly confines of Kirby Sports Center, Lafayette cruised to an 11-2 record at home last season. Throughout the O'Hanlon regime, the Leopards sport a home record of 95-31. This year, the Leopards have 13 home contests, and sport a 4-3 record through seven games on the Kirby hardwood.
COACH "O" MOVES TO NO. 2: Fran O'Hanlon is the second winningest coach in Lafayette history with 146 victories. He needs just 25 wins to reach George Davidson's record of 170 wins at Lafayette. In 2003-04, he surpassed Butch Van Breda Kolff who had 132 career wins.
UPCOMING MEDIA LUNCHEONS: The luncheons, which begin promptly at 12 p.m. at Larry Holmes' Ringside Restaurant in downtown Easton, will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 1 to preview the second half of the Patriot League slate, and on Tuesday, March 1, to look ahead to the Patriot League Tournament. Head coach Fran O'Hanlon, along with selected players, will be on hand.
LAFAYETTE ON TELEVISION: For the eighth-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. Several of Lafayette's games that appear on the Lafayette Sports Network will also be picked up by Empire Sports Network which reaches more than 19.5 million viewers in Upstate and Western New York as well as more than 60 million potential viewers on DIRECTV (626) and Dish Network (432). Lafayette will have two games televised on the Patriot League Television Network on Feb. 6 vs. Colgate and Feb. 26 vs. Lehigh. Those games will be carried by nationally by CSTV.
ALL-TIME AT LAFAYETTE: In the 95 seasons of men's basketball at Lafayette College, the Leopards hold an overall record of 1156-1003 (.536). Lafayette's first season of basketball was in 1900-01.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS: Senior Jamie Hughes is ranked 12th in career blocks at Lafayette. Hughes has 42 career blocks and needs two blocks to crack the top 10.
ON THE RADIO: Today's game can be heard live on WEST-AM 1400, the 69th year of broadcasting Lafayette Athletics. Dick Hammer is in his 38th year 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).
EUROPEAN CONNECTION: Freshman Paul Cummins hails from Ireland and is the next player in a long line of European standouts recruited by Fran O'Hanlon. The list includes 1998 Patriot League Player of the Year Stefan Ciosici, Lafayette's all-time leading shot blocker Rob Dill, and current Leopard Andrei Capusan.
A FAMILY AFFAIR (12/22): In Lafayette's game vs. Moravian on Dec. 22, three members of the Betley family spent time on the Kirby Sports Center hardwood. Lafayette's Matt Betley and his brother, Chris, a junior guard for Moravian, guarded each other for a stretch of several minutes in the first half. Cousin Pat Betley, also a junior guard, returned to the Leopards' rotation after missing five games due to injury. Matt had seven points, while Chris and Pat each had two.
NORTHRIDGE NUMBERS (12/13): Several stats stood out from Lafayette's win over Cal State Northridge on Dec. 13. Lafayette scored a season-high 95 points in an up-tempo game. CSUN managed to fire off 91 shots from the floor...The Leopards turned the ball over 31 times and forced 18 turnovers...Lafayette went to the free throw line 39 times, converting 29 for 74 percent.
FIVE FOR 10 OR MORE (12/10): Lafayette had five players score in double figures at Marist on Dec. 10. Sean Knitter scored a team-high 14, followed by 13 from Marcus Harley and Andrei Capusan and 12 points from Jamaal Douglas and Matt Betley.
DO I HEAR SIX? (12/13): Lafayette followed the Marist game by placing six players in double figures against Cal State Northridge. Bilal Abdullah led the way with 21 points followed by 15 points from Jamaal Hilliard and 14 by Sean Knitter. Marcus Harley, Jamaal Douglas and Matt Betley chipped in with 12, 11 and 10, respectively. CAREER-HIGH BOARD WORK (12/10): Andrei Capusan and Jamaal Douglas each established career rebounding highs at Marist with 15 and 11 caroms, respectively. Both posted double-doubles in the game as Capusan had 13 points and Douglas netted 12. Douglas surpassed that total with 17 rebounds against Navy.
SUMMER SEASONING: Sophomore forward Jamaal Douglas and junior Andrei Capusan spent their summers playing for their home countries. Douglas played with the Bahamas National Under-21 team and Capusan competed with the Romanian Senior National team.
YES, THEY'RE RELATED: Pat Betley, a junior guard, is being joined on the squad this season by his first cousin Matt Betley, the 2004 South Jersey Player of the Year. Pat averaged 6.6 points per game last season. Matt is averaging 6.3 ppg and 4.1 rpg.
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" or go directly to www.goleopards.com. The athletics site is continuously updated with gameday press releases, schedules and results, rosters, statistics, player features, photos and more. On gameday, you can listen to the radio broadcast of all of Lafayette's men's basketball games and watch a live stats feed of home games. PATRIOT PRESEASON POLL: Lafayette has been picked to finish sixth in the Patriot League Preseason Poll. The Leopards are coming off an 18-10 season in which they finished one game out of first place in the Patriot League standings.
THE PATRIOT LEAGUE SLATE: The 2004-05 Patriot League schedule again features a new format. The latest incarnation disposes of men's and women's doubleheaders, which were common at many of the Patriot League schools in years past, in favor of split sites. Thus, when the Lafayette men's face Army in Easton, Pa., the Lafayette women will face the Army women in West Point, N.Y. The other major schedule change comes in the Patriot League Tournament when the top two seeds will host two mini tournaments on their home floors. The winners will advance to the championship game at the site of the highest seed.
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