Men's Hoops Start Second Round of Patriot League Play at Holy Cross
Feb. 8, 2008
EASTON, Pa. -
Series: Holy Cross leads 27-14
AT A GLANCE: Lafayette (14-8, 5-2) opens the second swing of Patriot League action with a hold on first place in the conference standings. The Leopards travel to Holy Cross (11-10, 2-6) for a 3:30 p.m. tip-off at the Hart Center on Saturday. Lafayette suffered its second league loss to American on Feb. 2, but maintained its hold on first place in the standings. The Crusaders opened the second round of conference play with a 62-46 loss to American on Wednesday.
LAST TIME OUT: Junior guard Andrew Brown scored 22 points as American dealt the Leopards an 87-76 loss at Kirby Sports Center. American shooting guard Garrison Carr scored 34 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Lafayette opened the game with a 10-2 run over the first five minutes with three's from Matt Betley and Bilal Abdullah. Abdullah has his 11th straight double-digit effort as he and Betley both finished the afternoon with 16 points. Garr scored 14 points of an 18-2 American run and the Eagles outscored Lafayette 17-7 over the final five minutes of the first half to take the 40-30 lead at halftime. In the second half, Betley's three cut the lead to nine (59-50) with 10:36 left on the clock. The Eagles stretched the lead back to double figures and left with the 87-76 final.
BROWN FOR P.L. PLAYER OF THE WEEK: After posting a career-high 34 points in the 83-58 win over Army (1/30) and leading the team with 22 points in the 87-76 loss to American (2/2), junior guard Andrew Brown received the Patriot League Player of the Week award on Feb. 4. It is the second weekly accolade of the season and of his career.
SHOOTING PERCENTAGE=SUCCESS: Lafayette has a 6-0 record in games it has shot at or above a 50 percent clip from the floor, including a season-high shooting effort against Army (58.1 percent) on Jan. 30. The Leopards shot above 50 percent in wins against Penn (11/28), NJIT (12/3), Columbia (12/8), Mount St. Mary's (12/21) and in an overtime victory at Navy (1/19).
ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT DISTINCTION: Senior forward Matt Betley has been named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District II Men's Basketball Team as announced on Thursday. The team captain leads the Leopards with 6.2 rpg and is one three Lafayette players averaging in double figures with 10.3 ppg. Betley maintains a 3.48 cumulative grade-point average while majoring in Economics and Business. He was one of two Patriot League student-athletes to earn the honor, joining American's Travis Lay.
A SOLID PATRIOT START: The last time a Lafayette team started the conference slate 5-1 was 1998-99 when Lafayette finished Patriot League play with an 11-3 record. Those Leopards finished with a 22-8 overall mark and made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time with head coach Fran O'Hanlon.
BROWN MATCHES SCHOOL RECORD: Andrew Brown's nine three-pointers against Army on Jan. 30 matched a Lafayette single-game record he set earlier this season. At Mount St. Mary's (12/21), Brown hit nine treys and snapped his own record of eight that he netted at Holy Cross last season (2/28/06), a mark he shared previously with Tyson Whitfield (12/29/00 vs. La Salle) and Larry Spigner (12/3/91 vs. Yale). He shares the current Kirby Sports Center record with Brian Lloyd of Brown.
A SEASON AWAY: At 14-8, Lafayette has already eclipsed its win total from all of 2006-07. Those Leopards posted a 9-21 mark and finished last in the Patriot League standings. This season, Lafayette was picked to finished eighth in the preseason poll, but through seven games is in first place at 5-2. The Leopards' 14-8 start is the program's best through 22 games since 2003-04 when Lafayette was 19-3.
DIALING UP LONG DISTANCE: A huge part of Lafayette's offense has been its perimeter play, as three-point attempts account for 43 percent of the team's shots.
FROM THE FIELD: Lafayette's top-shooting effort was a 58.1 percent clip (25-of-43) against Army (1/30). The Leopards previous mark was set at Columbia (12/8) with a 57.4 percent clip (31-of-52). The team had its worst shooting night of the season at Mississippi State when it shot 26 percent. Lafayette took a season-high 72 shots, but made just 19 of them (a season-low).
WORKING OVERTIME: Lafayette did more than score over 100 points for the first time since 2004 with its 103-99 winning effort in overtime at Navy (1/19).
ANOTHER RECORD ON THE WAY?: Lafayette has won 10 straight overtime games in a span that began on Dec. 13, 2004 vs. Cal State Northridge. The NCAA record for consecutive overtime victories is 11 and is shared by Louisville, Massachusetts and Virginia.
LAFAYETTE VS. THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Lafayette has played 616 games against the seven members of the Patriot League, and has a 342-274 record in all games against them. In Patriot League play, Lafayette is 101-129 in the regular season and 10-15 in the Patriot League Tournament. Under Fran O'Hanlon, the Leopards are 86-77 in Patriot League regular-season play.
American 16-20 Army 34-19 Bucknell 83-57 Colgate 38-41 Holy Cross 14-27 Navy 22-38 Lehigh 135-72FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME: Lafayette's Jan. 12 win over Holy Cross was the first defeat the Crusaders had suffered at the hands of a Patriot League opponent other than Bucknell since Feb. 20, 2004 (65-51 at American). It was also the first Patriot League opener that Holy Cross has lost since the 1998-99 season.
The last time a Lafayette team beat Holy Cross and Bucknell in the same season was 2003-04. The victory over the Bison on Jan. 23 snapped a 14-game regular-season Bucknell winning streak dating back to a 2007 loss to Holy Cross.
LEOPARD LEADERSHIP: Senior forward Matt Betley is serving as the team captain for 2007-08. Betley came into the season as the team's top returning scorer and rebounder and has played in 107 career games. Betley is averaging 10.3 points and a team-best 6.2 rebounds per game this season. In the classroom, Betley finished the fall with a 3.83 grade-point average (GPA) and has a 3.45 cumulative GPA. The Mount Laurel, N.J. native posted his fifth career double-double, and second of the season, at Rutgers with 13 points and 10 boards. At Pittsburgh, Betley went 6-for-6 from three-point land, scoring a career-high 20 points. He scored 16 points and pulled down four rebounds against American (2/2).
ON THE SIDELINE: The all-time winningest coach in Lafayette history and the second-longest tenured coach in the Patriot League, Fran O'Hanlon (Villanova, '70) is in his 13th season as the Leopards' head coach. A two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year recipient, O'Hanlon has twice led Lafayette's program to the NCAA Tournament and lays claim to three Patriot League regular-season titles among his credentials.
GRAND ACHIEVEMENT FOR ABDULLAH: With his second of four three-pointers at Princeton (1/9), senior guard Bilal Abdullah became the 35th player in Lafayette history to reach the 1,000-point scoring plateau. Abdullah finished the game with 14 points and now has 1,128 for his career after scoring in double digits for the 11th straight game with 16 points against American (2/2). He claimed the 24th spot on Lafayette's all-time scoring list and needs just nine more to take 22nd from Charley Ross '61 (1,137). For the season, Abdullah is averaging 14.7 ppg.
PASSING THE BALL: According to Lafayette head coach Fran O'Hanlon, a key to the Leopards' success has been sharing the ball in their motion offense. Lafayette is averaging 15.3 assists per game in contrast to its opponents who are doling out 12.9 assists per game. Lafayette has handed out an assist on 61 percent of its baskets. Lafayette finished with 10 assists on 21 baskets to 13 turnovers against American (2/2), led by five assists from Michael Gruner. Lafayette had 22 assists at Navy (1/19), matching a season-high set at Towson (12/19). For what it's worth, Holy Cross is averaging 13.2 apg and has recorded an assist on 52.2 percent of its baskets.
SEASON-LOW TURNOVERS: Lafayette did have one season low against Bucknell (1/23), but it was an important one. The Leopards committed just 11 turnovers and forced 19 Bison turnovers, including 12 in the first half.
PATRIOT LEAGUE ACCOLADE FOR ABDULLAH (1/21): Senior guard Bilal Abdullah secured Patriot League Men's Basketball Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career, after averaging 26 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in a 2-0 week for the Leopards. He tipped in the game-winning basket with 3.5 seconds remaining in overtime to lift Lafayette to the 69-68 victory at Colgate and finished the night with a game-high 18 points. At Navy, Abdullah scored a career-high 34 points and snatched five rebounds. He scored 21 points in the second half and sent the game to overtime with a three-point play with 18 seconds left. Abdullah shot 68 percent (19-of-28) from the floor, including 8-of-10 from three-point range for the week. He is averaging 17.3 ppg through Lafayette's first seven conference clashes.
THREE-POINTERS: Lafayette's 17 three-pointers against No. 13 Pittsburgh on Jan. 2 fell one three-pointer of tying the school record. It was also the highest single-game total by a Pitt opponent in school history. The school record is 18, set at Fordham on Dec. 11, 2000 and vs. Howard on Dec. 30, 2001. The Leopards came close to their season-high mark against Army with 16 three-pointers on Jan. 30.
A TURNOVER CORRELATION?: Lafayette has averaged 15.8 turnovers per game in its seven losses while averaging 17.0 turnovers per game in its 14 wins, which includes six overtime victories. The Leopards have forced 18.1 turnovers per game in games won and just 14.8 in games lost. Lafayette committed a season-low 11 turnovers against Bucknell (1/23).
THE PRESEASON POLL: Lafayette was chosen to finish eighth (of eight) in the Patriot League Preseason Poll. The poll is voted on by the conference head coaches and sports information directors. Holy Cross was selected first in the poll followed by Bucknell, Colgate, Lehigh, American, Army and Navy.
OUT OF CONFERENCE: Lafayette played in 15 non-conference games in 2007-08. Of that group, eight of the teams were picked to finish in the top five of their conference while one opponent (NJIT) has no conference affiliation. Pitt is currently ranked in the top 25 in both polls while Mississippi State dropped from the ESPN/USA Today Poll and is now second in the SEC Western Division standings.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?: Andrew Brown can distribute the ball. The Littleton, Colo. native led the team in assists his first two seasons on College Hill. Brown dished out 94 assists (3.1 apg) as sophomore and started 27 of 30 games. He had 84 assists as a freshman, starting all but three games, and was the first freshman during the Fran O'Hanlon era to lead the team in assists. This season, Brown has 58 assists in 21 games (2.8 apg) and again leads the team in assists, despite taking a more active scoring role.
GRUNER GETS IT DONE: Sophomore Michael Gruner has been a mainstay in the starting lineup this season. Gruner worked his way into the rotation with his defense and has remained there because he handles the ball efficiently, doling out 54 assists to just 33 turnovers while also chipping in with 7.5 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. He is also one of the Leopards' top perimeter defenders. Gruner is a Marquis Scholar, recipient of the most prestigious academic scholarship awarded to Lafayette students.
SENIOR FIVE: Lafayette will go as far as its corps of five seniors takes the squad in 2007-08. Bilal Abdullah, Matt Betley, Paul Cummins, Ted Detmer and Everest Schmidt will all play key roles, with three of the five expected to be in the starting lineup at Holy Cross. As a group, the seniors have played in 510 games with 264 appearances in the starting lineup.
MINUTES FOR THE FRESHMEN: Guard Deirunas Visockas and forward Jared Mintz have seen the most playing time of any of the freshmen. Visockas and Mintz have each missed five games this season due to injury. Visockas has played in 16 games. He made his first collegiate start at Stony Brook. He is averaging 9.8 minutes per game. Mintz has played in 16 games and has averaged 10.2 minutes per outing. He pulled down a critical offensive rebound and capitalized on both free throws against UMBC (11/20), giving Lafayette the 79-77 lead with two and half minutes remaining in overtime. Guard Ben Wheeler has played in 15 games and forward Darion Benbow eight.
STREAKING: The loss to Lehigh (1/26) snapped Lafayette's five-game winning streak that started with an overtime win at Princeton (1/9) and included two other OT wins on the road (Colgate, Navy). The Leopards posted a four-game win streak from Nov. 20 to Dec. 3 (UMBC, CCSU, Penn and NJIT). It was the first time since the 2003-04 campaign that the program had put together four or more in a row. Lafayette's three-game win streak included victories over Columbia, Towson and Mount St. Mary's and was snapped with a loss at Robert Morris.
MOVING UP THREE AT A TIME: Junior Andrew Brown is ranked third all-time at Lafayette with 193 three-pointers. Brown is already tied for third on the single-season record list with 77 made in 2007-08 and needs six more three's to take over the second spot from Justin DeBerry '04 (201) on the career list. Senior Paul Cummins (153) rests sixth on Lafayette's all-time three-point field goals list, needing nine more treys to to take the fifth spot from Brian Ehlers. Cummins is tied with Ehlers for his 2005-06 single-season record 51 three's. Seniors Bilal Abdullah (8th) and Matt Betley (15th) are also on the list with 146 and 103, respectively. Abdullah is tied for 15th in the single-season record list with 50 three's through the first 22 games.
UNPACK YOUR BAGS...FINALLY: This season Lafayette faced a span in which it played 10 of 11 games on the road. The Leopards finished an eight-game road trip at Princeton (1/9). That was the longest stretch of road games since the 1970-71 season when they also played eight straight away from home. In the 98 seasons of basketball, Lafayette has played eight in a row on the road on four previous occasions (1951-52, 1956-57, 1966-67, 1970-71). The Leopards' longest stretch away from home was a 10-game span in 1969-70 (12/5 to 1/14).
WIN NUMBER 175: Fran O'Hanlon coached his 350th game at Lafayette against Penn on Nov. 28. The 81-69 victory over the school where he spent six seasons as an assistant coach evened his career record at 175-175. His career coaching mark now stands at 185-181.
BROWN, VISOCKAS SWEEP HONORS (12/24): Guards Andrew Brown and Deirunas Visockas were named Patriot League Player and Rookie of the Week, respectively, for Dec. 24. Brown sat out the Dec. 19 game at Towson, but his return at Mount St. Mary's on Dec. 21 saw him drop in 32 points and a school-record nine three-pointers in a 76-72 win. It was his first ever Anaconda Player of the Week nod. Visockas, poured in 14 points including four three-pointers in Lafayette's 79-69 overtime victory over Towson on Dec. 19. He connected on a three-pointer and a layup as Lafayette outscored Towson, 17-7, in the extra session. He made 5-of-9 shots and 4-of-8 three-pointers in the game. Visockas also chipped in by making his only shot of the game, a three-pointer, at Mount St. Mary's. He is shooting 46 percent for the season from three-point range. Visockas earned his first Rookie of the Week honor.
ON THE RADIO: The 2007-08 Lafayette men's basketball season will air on two of the top-rated AM stations in the Lehigh Valley, WGPA-AM 1100 and WSAN-AM 1470. Entering his 41st season as the radio voice of Lafayette athletics, Dick Hammer will continue to call the play-by-play action. Joining Hammer courtside for most contests will be Lafayette Sports Information Director Phil LaBella.
LAFAYETTE ON TELEVISION: For the 11th straight season, Lafayette features the most expansive television package in the Patriot League. The Leopards have 13 games televised with the possible addition of three more televised games during the three rounds of the Patriot League Tournament. The Lafayette Sports Network will produce 12 of the 13 games that will air. Each of those broadcasts will air live regionally to more than 10 million viewers in the Lehigh Valley, Pocono region and all of Philadelphia on RCN-4 and WBPH-60. CSTV, Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh and MASN will continue as LSN national distribution partners, airing three telecasts. Emmy-nominated broadcaster Gary Laubach handles all of the Leopards' play-by-play duties, while former Lafayette men's basketball coach John Leone provides color commentary. Additionally, RCN's Dan Mowdy will provide sideline reports.
DOUBLE TIMES FIVE TIMES FOUR: Including Lafayette's win at Towson (12/19), Lafayette has had five or more players score in double figures in four games this season. Lafayette holds a 3-1 record in those games, the only loss coming at Rutgers. At Towson, Matt Betley, Bilal Abdullah, Michael Gruner, Deirunas Visockas and Ted Detmer all reached double figures and combined to score 66 of the team's 79 points. Five players hit double figures vs. UMBC (11/20) and Rutgers (12/5) while Lafayette had six players against Penn (11/28), including all five starters.
IVY LEAGUE CHAMPS?: Lafayette went a perfect 3-0 against its Ivy League opponents in 2007-08. The wins over Penn and Princeton marked the first time in Lafayette history that the Leopards have beaten both of those schools in the same season.
IN THE CLASSROOM: The Lafayette men's basketball team received the NCAA Public Recognition Award for recording an NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate in the top 10 percent of all men's basketball teams. Lafayette College was also recognized by the NCAA for recording an 83 percent graduation rate, 20 percent better than the average federal graduation rates of all student-athletes. The information was collected from students entering Lafayette in 2000. Overall the Division I graduation rate for student-athletes in the fall of 2000 was 63 percent and the Patriot League conference have scored at least 20 percent better than the national average graduation rate for all student-athletes who have entered school from 1997-2000.
ON THE WEB: As an element of Lafayette's long-term agreement with CSTV, all LSN telecasts are streamed live on the internet an available world-wide through LSN All-Access on www.GoLeopards.com .
ON THE BOARDS: The rebounding battle is one that Lafayette has looked to make strides in during the 2007-08 season. Lafayette out-rebounded an opponent for the first time since Jan. 13, 2007 (Navy) when the Leopards snatched 44 rebounds to UMBC's 43 on Nov. 20. They continue to be out-rebounded by an average of 3.3 rebounds per game and have out-rebounded their opponents four times - UMBC (44-43), Mount St. Mary's (33-27), Navy (44-41) and Army (30-23). Lafayette was even on the boards at Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Princeton...Lafayette finished 319th out of 325 teams in Division I in rebounding margin in 2006-07, out-rebounded by an average of 3.1 rpg.
ON THE STEAL: Lafayette's 15 steals vs. NJIT (12/3) were a season-high and the most by a Patriot League team this season. The mark surpassed the 14 that Navy recorded vs. Longwood earlier in the year. The last time Lafayette recorded at least 15 steals was Feb. 15, 2006 vs. Bucknell. Lafayette has had five or more steals in all but four games (UMBC, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, American) and is averaging 7.3 steals per game. The Leopards had three steals against American.
BENCH SCORING?: Lafayette received 63 percent (41.1 of the Leopards' 65.0 points per game) of its scoring from the starting five and 36 percent from the bench in 2006-07. In 2007-08, Lafayette is receiving 53.2 of its 76.2 points per game from the starting five, a 70 percent clip.
FROM THE LINE: Lafayette ranked 67th in the nation in free throw percentage in 2006-07, shooting 72.4 percent. Lafayette is shooting 69.2 percent this season.
HALF WAY THERE: Lafayette is 9-3 (Win-CSU, Penn, NJIT, Columbia, Mount St. Mary's, HOLY CROSS, Colgate, BUCKNELL, ARMY; Loss-Robert Morris, Pitt, Lehigh) when leading at halftime in 2007-08. Lafayette is 5-5 when trailing at halftime. In 2006-07, Lafayette was 8-2 when holding a lead at halftime, but just 1-19 when trailing at halftime.
INSIDE-OUTSIDE: Senior Matt Betley made the move from guard to forward for the 2006-07 season to bolster the team's rebounding efforts, but was still certainly comfortable outside. With Fran O'Hanlon's motion offense, Betley often finds himself with open three-point looks and mid-range jumpers against larger post players who will back off into the lane. With 33 three-pointers, Betley was one of five Lafayette players who made 30 or more three-pointers in 2006-07. After a slow start, Betley is 36-of-87 (41.4%) from three-point land. Betley finished with 16 points, four rebounds an a steal against American (2/2).
A RARE MISS: Andrew Brown has made at least one three in every game this season with the exception of Princeton (1/9), marking the first time since Feb. 18, 2007 against Lehigh. He had made a three in 17 straight games. Brown has made at least four threes in nine games this season. He matched the school-record he holds with nine three's against Army (1/30), having set the record this season at Mount St. Mary's (12/21). He finished with five three-pointers against American (2/2).
HI, MY NAME IS...: Jeff Kari, who maintains sophomore eligibility after transferring from East Carolina University, is new on the Lafayette roster. Kari, who formerly went by Jeff Robinson, changed his name in 2007, taking his mother's maiden name as she was the one who raised him. Kari has played in 22 games with three starts and is averaging 15.0 minutes per game.
THE HARDWOOD AND THE GRIDIRON: Lafayette did something it hadn't done in 15 years with its 81-69 victory over Penn on Nov. 28. The victory, combined with the 8-7 Lafayette football win at Franklin Field on Sept. 15, 2007, marked the first time the Leopards defeated Penn in football and basketball in the same season since 1991. In that year the football team won 20-12 at Franklin Field and the basketball team won 83-72.
PETE CARRIL RETURNS HOME: On Nov. 16 vs. Fairleigh Dickinson, National Basketball Hall of Famer and 1952 graduate of Lafayette Pete Carril returned to Lafayette to honor former Lafayette head coach Butch van Breda Kolff who passed away in September. Carril, who was an All-American during his Leopard playing days, went on to coaching stardom at Princeton and recently served as an advisor to the Sacramento Kings.
JOINING O'HANLON: The assistant coaching staff features two former Lafayette players in top assistant Drew Dawson '03 and third assistant Mike Farrell '04. Pete Schwethelm is the team's second assistant and comes to Lafayette from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) where he was an assistant coach with former Lafayette assistant coach and current USMMA head coach, John Krikorian. The Lafayette staff is a young one with Dawson (28), Schwethelm (32) and Farrell (25).
THE O'HANLON SHUFFLE: The scorer's table has been a busy place during Fran O'Hanlon's 13 seasons at Lafayette. O'Hanlon frequently shuffles in players to keep them fresh while also looking for the best matchups on both ends of the court. The moves also force the opponents to spend a great deal of time figuring out their own defensive matchups. O'Hanlon will often play "offense-defense" at the end of the first half and in the final minutes of the game whenever there is a stoppage of play and a chance to substitute. The Leopards have consistently gone 10 deep.
...IN A RELATED NOTE: In 2006-07, O'Hanlon used 13 different starting lineups. This season, only five different starting fives have graced the floor at the opening tip.
AN EARLY START: Lafayette's season opener on Nov. 9 marked the earliest start in program history. This season, Lafayette has played six games by Dec. 1. By contrast, in 1992-93, Lafayette did not open the season until Dec. 1. As recently as 2003-04, Lafayette did not open until Nov. 22.
REPRESENTING IRELAND: Senior Paul Cummins had the opportunity to represent his home country of Ireland this summer. He traded in his Maroon and White for the green of the Emerald Isle. Cummins competed with talented players from several different leagues around the world against other European teams. Ireland's squad went on to a third-place finish in the qualifying tournament after facing several teams with multiple NBA players.
THE GARBAGE MAN: Senior forward Matt Betley spends a lot of time cleaning the glass, diving for loose balls and occasionally even picking up a "garbage" basket in the paint. Betley is certainly willing to get his hands and body a little dirty by diving on the court, but it's nothing compared to his summer job in 2006. Betley collected garbage on a garbage truck in his hometown of Mount Laurel, N.J. As one of the scrappiest players in the Patriot League, Betley has determined that he is also one of the most hated opponents because of his style of play.
ALL-TIME AT LAFAYETTE: In the 98 seasons of men's basketball at Lafayette College, the Leopards hold an overall record of 1195-1056 (.531). Lafayette's first basketball season was in 1900-01 when the team had a winning record of 4-3.
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: Lafayette features four players from foreign countries. Senior Paul Cummins comes from Kildare, Ireland. Cummins spent two years at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, N.C. before spending a post-grad year at South Kent School in Connecticut. Sophomore Marek Koltun hails from Krakow, Poland and spent a year in Bear, Del. at Caravel Academy. Freshmen Jared Mintz is from Toronto, Canada while Deirunas Visockas is originally from Kaunas, Lithuania and currently resides in Los Angeles.
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