Valentine's Day Matchup Awaits Leopards in Lewisburg
Feb. 13, 2007
GAME 26 February 14, 2007
Series: Lafayette leads, 82-56
AT A GLANCE: Lafayette needs a win, but on the road against reigning Patriot League champ Bucknell is certainly not an easy place to get that victory. The Leopards (8-17, 2-8) have lost their last four while the Bison (16-8, 10-1) have won eight straight and have just one Patriot League loss (to Holy Cross). When the teams met a month ago in Easton, Bucknell held on for a 67-61 win. Bucknell, which trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half, rallied in the second half, using 14 free throws in the final three minutes to seal the game.
DOUBLING UP: Junior forward Matt Betley produced big numbers against Navy this season. Betley recorded a double-double in each game against the Mids, including Lafayette's 70-63 loss to Navy on Saturday. Betley scored 16 points and ripped down 10 boards, while in the first meeting he scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Ted Detmer also got into the act one week ago (Feb. 7) when he registered his first career double-double, a 12-point, 12-rebound effort against Colgate.
DETMER ON DEFENSE: Junior Ted Detmer leads Lafayette and is ranked fifth in the Patriot League with 18 blocks on the season. He is also second on the team in steals with 26, one of four players with 20 or more thefts.
DIALING UP LONG DISTANCE: In the latest NCAA statistics (2/11), Lafayette is ranked 22nd in the nation in three-point field goals per game, making 8.7 three's per outing. Lafayette hoisted a season-high 32 three-point attempts vs. King's and connected on half of those opportunities. Against Lehigh (1/20), seven different players hit at least one three. Andrew Brown leads the team with 54 three-pointers followed by Paul Cummins (41), Bilal Abdullah (30) and Jesper Andersson (30).
ON THE SIDELINE: Two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year Fran O'Hanlon (Villanova, '70) is in his 12th season as the Leopards' head coach. He has twice led Lafayette's 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 170-169, a mark that includes two 20-win seasons. O'Hanlon's overall record does not necessarily tell the full story of the job he has done at Lafayette. The Philadelphia native inherited a 2-25 team when he took over in 1995-96 and won 7, 11, 19, 22 and 24 games over the next five seasons. From 1997-2000, Lafayette was 65-24 overall and 31-5 in the conference with two NCAA Tournament appearances. In 1996, the Patriot League, which was originally founded on the principle of need-based financial aid only, began allowing athletic scholarships. However, it was not until 2006 that Lafayette chose to do so. By no coincidence during that span, Lafayette posted a 79-91 mark and was 38-44 in the league. For 2006-07, Lafayette has one scholarship class in the fold.
NEXT UP: Lafayette will play its final regular-season home game on Saturday when the other Patriot League team in the Lehigh Valley comes to Kirby. Prior to the game, which will be televised nationally by ESPNU, Lafayette's three seniors will be honored.
PROTECTING THE ROCK: Junior Bilal Abdullah has made a conscious effort to protect the basketball down the stretch, and his efforts have been apparent in the box scores. The Anchorage, Alaska native has 22 assists to 16 turnovers in his last six games, a solid 1.4 assist/turnover ratio for a player who frequently drives to the hoop. By contrast, he had 38 assists to 63 turnovers through the first 19 games, a 0.6 assist/turnover ratio.
HERE'S TO COACH "O": With Lafayette's win over Army (1/24), head coach Fran O'Hanlon tied George Davidson as the all-time winningest coach in Lafayette history. In his 12th season at the helm, O'Hanlon has amassed a career 170-169 record on College Hill. He ranks ahead of Butch Van Breda Kolff (132), Bill Anderson (139) and Tom Davis (116), all of whom eclipsed the 100-win plateau during their coaching stints.
HILLIARD A GO?: Tri-captain Jamaal Hilliard has been hobbled by foot and leg injuries during the past two seasons. He missed 10 straight games in December and January and recently made his return vs. American (1/27). In the following week of practice, he sprained an ankle and missed the Holy Cross and Colgate games. Hilliard has recovered from that injury, playing against Navy on Feb. 10, and will be available at Bucknell.
HELPING HANDS: Lafayette's motion offense has the potential to put up big assist numbers, and the fact that Lafayette leads the Patriot League with 13.9 assists per game bares that out. Lafayette has had 20+ assists in three games this season and a positive assist/turnover ratio four times. In 2005-06, Lafayette passed for 18 or more assists four times, a number Lafayette has reached six times this season. Five players have 30 or more assists this season.
BAND OF THIEVES: Lafayette ranks fourth in the Patriot League with 7.1 steals per game. The Leopards spread around the "thievery," as seven different players have 10 or more steals. Bilal Abdullah leads the team with 28 steals and Ted Detmer has 26 assists while Matt Betley and Andrew Brown have 25 apiece.
SCOUTING BUCKNELL: Bucknell comes into Wednesday night's matchup having won eight in a row and 11 of its last 12 contests. The only blemish was a five-point loss at Holy Cross on Jan. 12 that Bucknell avenged on Feb. 9 with a 48-45 decision in Lewisburg, Pa.
In the backcourt, senior Abe Badmus runs the offense from the point, averaging 7.1 ppg and 3.0 apg. He gets plenty of help from junior John Griffin who is third on the team in scoring (9.9 ppg) and second in assists (2.8 apg). Soph. Jason Vegotsky (7.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg) has started 17 games at guard. Griffin and Vegotsky are the team's three-point threats, each with 40+ three-pointers.
The frontcourt is headlined by Chris McNaughton. The senior is averaging 10.5 ppg and 5.6 rpg overall and is shooting 59 percent from the floor in Patriot League contests. The Bison were dealt a big blow when Donald Brown went down with a hand injury following the Jan. 20 game. The senior, who has missed the last six games, was the team's leading scorer (11.8 ppg) and rebounder (6.6 rpg). Junior Darren Mastropolo (5.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg) has stepped in for Brown and has started 10 games.
The Bison are second in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 58.4 ppg overall and 53.9 ppg in conference action.
Bucknell is coached by Pat Flannery (Bucknell '80), who is in his 13th season.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES: Lafayette leads the all-times series with its intrastate foe Bucknell, 82-56, but the Bison have won the last seven meetings. Lafayette's last victory over the Bison came on Jan. 25, 2004 when the Leopards downed Bucknell, 81-72, in Easton.
ON THE RISE: The academic prowess of the Patriot League has been a constant since the league's formation in 1990 and the league's national profile in basketball continues to improve. The Patriot League currently ranks No. 18 in RPI among the nation's 32 Division I conferences.
LAFAYETTE VS. THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Lafayette has played 604 games against the seven members of the Patriot League, and has a 335-269 record in all games against them. In Patriot League play, Lafayette is 94-126 in the regular season and 10-14 in the Patriot League Tournament. Under Fran O'Hanlon, the Leopards are 79-73 in Patriot League regular-season play.
American 16-18 Colgate 37-41 Navy 21-38 Army 33-18 Holy Cross 13-25 Bucknell 82-56 Lehigh 134-71
MAKING THE TEAM GO?: It may be an oversimplification of Lafayette's play in 2006-07, but there is at least some correlation between Andrew Brown's play and the team's success. In Lafayette's eight wins, Brown is averaging 13.3 points and 4.3 assists per game. By contrast, in Lafayette's 17 losses, he is averaging 8.1 points and 2.7 assists per game.
YES-PER: Freshman guard Jesper Andersson, a crowd favorite because he makes three's and his first name is fun to say, has made an impact in his first season. Named Patriot League Rookie of the Week on Dec. 27, Andersson leads the team in three-point field goal percentage at .423 (30-for-71). The freshman had scored a total of six points in 34 minutes of seven games coming into the St. Peter's contest (12/2), but then broke out with six three-pointers in the first half and 18 points for the game. Against King's (12/20), Andersson earned the first start of his career and made his first two-point field goal of the season, as his previous 15 baskets were three-pointers. He is coming off a nine-point effort vs. Navy (2/10). Andersson has started four games and has played in 21.
HALF WAY THERE: Lafayette is 8-2 when holding a lead at halftime. The two exceptions were a 67-61 loss to Bucknell (1/20) when the Leopards were leading 29-27 at halftime and a 44-42 loss to Princeton (11/28) when Lafayette led 22-19 at the intermission. Lafayette is 0-15 when trailing at halftime.
DISTRIBUTING THE BALL: An All-Rookie selection in 2005-06, Andrew Brown leads the team with 75 assists (3.2 apg). Brown, who currently ranks fourth in the Patriot League, dished off a career-high eight assists vs. St. Peter's (12/2). As a freshman, he led the team with 84 assists and was the first rookie to do so in Fran O'Hanlon's tenure.
A TOUGH NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE: Lafayette chose to take a tough non-conference road schedule in preparation for Patriot League play. Six of the Leopards' nine non-conference losses came against top-flight competition. The Leopards lost to Notre Dame, current No. 19 Indiana (Big 10), St. Joseph's (Atlantic 10), Miami, Fla. (ACC), Princeton (Ivy), Temple (Atlantic 10) and San Diego State (Mountain West). Those seven teams were a combined 63-31 (.670) entering their conference play.
THE GARBAGE MAN: Junior 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. Betley worked collecting garbage on a garbage truck in his hometown of Mount Laurel, N.J. As one of the smallest forwards in the Patriot League, Betley is still managing to lead Lafayette in rebounding with 4.6 rpg. Many of his rebounds are of the unconventional variety as he taps a ball out to the perimeter instead of trying to take it from a much taller opponent and potentially drawing a foul. BENCH SCORING: Lafayette is receiving 64 percent (41.6 of the Leopards' 64.8 points per game) of its scoring from the starting five and 36 percent from the bench. By contrast in 2005-06, the Leopards' bench averaged 26.1 points per game of the team's 66.4 points per game average, 39 percent of the team's scoring.
AT THE LINE: The Leopards are shooting 71.8 percent from the foul line for the season and are ranked 74th out of 325 teams in the nation. That season percentage includes a season-high 85 percent effort at Holy Cross (11-for-13). Bilal Abdullah leads the team at 79 percent (65-for-82), while Matt Betley rests at 71 percent (47-for-66). Jamaal Hilliard, who has only played in 13 games, is 29-for-34 on the season for 85 percent...In 2005-06, Lafayette was 37th in the nation in free throw percentage (74 percent) and ranked as high as ninth. Hilliard, who shot at a 91 percent clip in 2004-05 (fifth in the nation), hit for 81 percent as a junior while graduated senior Andrei Capusan '06 shot a team-best 82 percent.
INSIDE-OUTSIDE: Junior Matt Betley has made the move from guard to forward for the 2006-07 season to bolster the team's rebounding efforts, but he is still certainly very 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 29 three-pointers, Betley is one of five Lafayette players who have made 20 or more three-pointers this season. He is fifth on the team in three-point makes, as one of seven players with 10 or more three-pointers.
SIZE MATTERS: The answer to the question why Lafayette is being out-rebounded by an average of 8.4 rebounds per game is simply "a lack of size." Matt Betley (6-4, 200), Everest Schmidt (6-7, 270) and Ted Detmer (6-7, 200) are the team's leading rebounders with Betley leading the way at 4.6 rpg, but effort and positioning can only account for so much. Lafayette is consistently running up against bigger post men, an area that Fran O'Hanlon and his staff hope to continue to address with upcoming recruiting classes. Lafayette has won the rebounding battle just five times this season, resulting in a 2-3 record. The Leopards finished 2005-06 ranked 308th in the nation in rebounding margin and this season rank 317th (2/11) out of 325 teams.
THE O'HANLON SHUFFLE: The scorer's table has been a busy place during Fran O'Hanlon's 12 seasons at Lafayette. O'Hanlon will frequently shuffle in players to keep them fresh while also looking for the best matchups on both ends of the court. The moves also force 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 gone 10 to 11 deep this season.
...SO WHO GETS THE START?: In 2005-06 with a team defined by youth and inexperience, O'Hanlon used 12 different starting lineups. Thus far this season, O'Hanlon has equaled that mark, using 12 different starting lineups. He has employed the same starting lineup in the last four games.
HOLDING ITS OWN IN SAN DIEGO: Nearly 2,500 miles from College Hill, Lafayette held its own and more against San Diego State (12/30), before dropping a 78-68 decision. The Leopards pulled within six (74-68) with 33 seconds remaining on a Marcus Harley backdoor cut before having to foul in the final seconds. Bilal Abdullah and Matt Betley paced the Leopards with 16 points apiece, while Everest Schmidt and Ted Detmer each had seven boards.
FIVE OR SIX THREE'S FOR 12: Junior guard Paul Cummins has made five or more three-pointers on two occasions this season. He knocked down six three-pointers vs. Army on Jan. 24, tying his career-best effort from Jan. 28, 2006 vs. American. He also connected for five three-pointers at Miami (11/25).
HINES TAKES ADVANTAGE OF PT: Freshman Andre Hines took advantage of a career-high 25 minutes of action at Lehigh (1/20). Hines pulled down eight rebounds and notched three assists, both career highs.
BROWNIE, YOU'RE DOING A HECK OF A JOB: Sophomore point guard Andrew Brown went off for a career-high 30 points at Lehigh (1/20). The Littleton, Colo. native scored 20 of his 30 points in the second half and hit six three's on the night, the third time he has knocked down six three's in one game. Brown's previous career high also came on the 20th of the month, in December, when he scored 20 points vs. King's.
BETLEY BUSTS OUT WITH FIRST DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Junior guard Matt Betley was the lone bright spot in the Leopards' 60-44 loss at Navy (1/13). Betley produced the team's first double-double of the season with career highs in points (19) and rebounds (12). The junior scored 17 of his 19 in the second half and is the first Lafayette player to pull down 10-plus boards in 2006-07. Betley had seven offensive rebounds and was 8-for-12 shooting from the floor for the afternoon.
A GAME FROM (IN) THE 40's: Lafayette's 44-42 loss to Princeton (12/28) was a throwback to days gone by with crisp back-door cuts and disciplined motion offenses. The game was unusually low-scoring thanks to Princeton's ball-control style of offense and solid defensive efforts by both squads, but this type of game is not out of the norm in recent meetings between the two schools. Lafayette won a 57-46 matchup at Princeton last season, but was beaten 40-38 in 2004. The Leopards won the 2003 meeting 47-44.
32 MINUTES: Before a national television audience on ESPN2, Lafayette gave Indiana all it could handle for 32 minutes on Nov. 13. The Leopards trailed by three points (63-60) at 7:47 when Everest Schmidt made two free throws. Lafayette was still down just six at 6:48, but Indiana put together a 21-2 spurt over the next three and a half minutes to pull away in a game in which the final score (91-66) did not really tell the true story of the contest.
THE CAPTAINS: Lafayette's three seniors, Marcus Harley, Jamaal Hilliard and Kerry Kenny, are serving as the team captains in 2006-07. Harley was a full-time starter in his sophomore season and has spent some significant time on the floor as a senior after missing almost all of his junior campaign due to injury. Hilliard has been in the starting lineup the past two seasons. He missed 10 games last year due to a leg injury and broken finger, and this season he was sidelined from Dec. 11 to the middle of January with a foot injury. Kenny being named captain is a tribute to his perseverance. He came to Lafayette as an unrecruited player, served as a team manager as a freshman and worked his way into 21 games last season. He has played in nearly every game this season and was in the starting lineup vs. Princeton.
LAFAYETTE ON TELEVISION: For the 10th straight season, Lafayette features the most expansive television package in the Patriot League. The Leopards have 15 games televised with the possible addition of three more televised games during the three rounds of the Patriot League Tournament. The Lafayette Sports Network is airing 10 games to approximately 10 million viewers in the Lehigh Valley, Pocono region and all of Philadelphia. LSN telecasts can also be viewed in central New Jersey, New York City and Boston. In the Lehigh Valley, Poconos and Philadelphia, the telecast airs on RCN-4 and WBPH-60. CSTV (DIRECTV 610, Dish Network 152) will continue as a major LSN partner, airing three telecasts. Emmy-nominated sports 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.
RANKED OPPONENTS: Since 1948-49, Lafayette has played 39 games against ranked opponents, coming away with a 3-36 record. Lafayette hosted Bucknell, ranked No. 24 in both the ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press top-25 polls on Feb. 25, 2006. Prior to that, the last time Lafayette hosted a ranked opponent was January 14, 1987 when No. 19 Navy came to Kirby Sports Center and escaped with a 75-71 win. The last time Lafayette beat a ranked opponent was Dec. 2, 1978 when Lafayette topped No. 16 Rutgers, 77-70. In 2004-05, Lafayette faced Louisville (17) and Georgia Tech (9) on the road.
THE PRESEASON POLL: Lafayette was picked to finish sixth in the Patriot League Preseason Poll. The poll is voted on by the conference head coaches and sports information directors. Bucknell was picked first in the poll followed by Holy Cross, American, Lehigh, Colgate, Lafayette, Navy and Army.
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: Lafayette features three players from foreign countries. Junior 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. Two of Lafayette's four freshmen come from Europe with Marek Koltun hailing from Krakow, Poland and Jesper Andersson from Norrkoping, Sweden.
THE JUNIOR CLASS: Lafayette's Class of 2008 is not only the largest in terms of numbers, but is also one of the most productive recruiting classes in recent memory. Junior Bilal Abdullah is the leading returning scorer and is second this season to fellow junior Matt Betley. Fellow juniors Ted Detmer and Everest Schmidt have also seen significant minutes in the middle after tying for the team lead in rebounds in 2005-06. Paul Cummins has been an offensive spark off the bench.
ALL-TIME AT LAFAYETTE: In the 97 seasons of men's basketball at Lafayette College, the Leopards hold an overall record of 1180-1054 (.528). Lafayette's first basketball season was in 1900-01 when the team had a winning record of 4-3.
YOUTH ON THE BENCH: Lafayette features one of, if not the youngest assistant coaching staffs in the country. Top assistant Drew Dawson is just 27 years old while Andy Toole is 26 and Mike Farrell is just 25. Dawson and Farrell are intimately familiar with the program, both having played for O'Hanlon.
NOTABLE NAMES FROM LAFAYETTE BASKETBALL: Some recognizable names in college basketball have been part of the Lafayette men's basketball program. Pete Carril '52 was an All-American at Lafayette before going on to coach Princeton to national prominence and recently serving as a Sacramento Kings' assistant coach. Tom Davis, former Iowa and current Drake head coach, served the Lafayette's head coach from 1971-77. During that span, Lafayette made three NIT appearances and accumulated a record of 116-44. Current Maryland head coach Gary Williams served as Davis' assistant basketball coach and also spent time as the head men's soccer coach from 1971-76.
ON THE RADIO: One of the longest running radio broadcast relationships in college basketball, WEST-AM 1400 enters its 71st year as the radio home of Lafayette Athletics. Dick Hammer is in his 40th season of calling the play-by-play for Lafayette men's basketball. Hammer will be inducted into the Lafayette College Maroon Club Hall of Game on Friday, Nov. 17. He will become just the second inductee who was not a player, coach or administrator at the college, joining public address announcer Jim Finnen. On the radio, Hammer is joined by Carl Schumacher at home games and most road contests by Phil LaBella (Lafayette SID).
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."
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