Leopards Make Short Trip To Lehigh Aiming To Snap Losing Skid
Feb. 17, 2006
EASTON, Pa. (www.lafayette.edu) - AT A GLANCE: Looking to avenge a 76-58 loss to Lehigh in late January, Lafayette has the opportunity to snap a two-game losing skid after falling to No. 24 Bucknell on Wednesday. The Leopards travel west on I-78 to Lehigh for the 204th meeting between the two clubs. The Leopards have won six of the last nine meetings, but Lehigh comes in riding a five-game win streak. In one of the most played rivalries in all of college sports, the teams first met on the hardwood on Jan. 27, 1902, and the Leopards hold a commanding 134-69 lead all-time. For the first time in three games, the Leopards regain the services of junior guard Jamaal Hilliard (broken finger) and sophomore forward Ted Detmer (ankle sprain) who have been hampered with injuries.
LAST TIME OUT: For the first time in 19 years, Lafayette had the chance to upend a nationally ranked opponent on its home floor. The Leopards played host to Patriot League heavyweight Bucknell on Wednesday, but dropped a 69-49 decision to the No. 24 Bison. Over the opening 10 minutes, the Leopards hung in, but an 18-3 Bucknell run to close the half became too much to overcome. Despite forcing 23 Bucknell turnovers, the Leopards had trouble converting them into points, while the Bison shot 58 percent (26-of-45) on the other end. Bucknell put four players in double-figures, while senior forward Andrei Capusan and sophomore guard Bilal Abdullah led Lafayette with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
PICKED OFF: Freshman point guard Andrew Brown has been looking sharp in his first year in Maroon and White. The two-time Patriot League Rookie of the Week harassed Bucknell for a career-high six steals on Wednesday. The total was the most since Tim Bieg '01 hit the mark against Holy Cross on Jan. 24, 2001. Brown had five steals against American (Jan. 28) and is averaging 1.29 per game.
No. 20 AT THE LINE: Lafayette ranked 20th in the nation in free throw percentage according to the latest NCAA statistics (Feb. 13). Lafayette, which has been ranked as high as ninth in the nation this season, is shooting 73.8 percent from the stripe. Jamaal Hilliard, who finished fifth in the nation in 2004-05 at 91 percent, is hitting 80.6 percent, while senior Andrei Capusan is stroking an 80.8 percent clip.
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 161-148, a mark that includes two 20-win seasons.
NEXT UP: Lafayette closes out the regular season with a two-game home stand beginning with a Wednesday night tilt with Army at 7 p.m. The 'Pards host American next Saturday at 1 p.m.
INJURY REPORT: A shorthanded Lafayette club has played sans starters Ted Detmer and Jamaal Hilliard for the last three games. However, Hilliard (broken finger) has been cleared to play with a finger splint on his shooting arm , while a hobbled Detmer (ankle sprain) played limited minutes against Bucknell.
CLIMBING THE LADDER: Although their careers are young, sophomore Paul Cummins and freshman Andrew Brown have grown up fast. The Leopards' two leading three-point threats have 44 and 43 triples, respectively on the season, moving them into Lafayette's top-25 on the all-time single-season list. Cummins is now tied with teammate Marcus Harley, who hit the 44 mark in 2004-05, while Brown is one behind with his 43.
LEOPARDS FROM DOWNTOWN: Lafayette entered 2005-06 knowing it would rely on a perimeter-oriented offense. Deep into Patriot League play, that has proven to be the case and it's been reflected in the national statistical rankings. Entering the week (Feb. 13), Lafayette ranked 46th in the nation for three-pointers per game, drilling a league best 7.83 three-balls per game. Lafayette has hit at least 10 triples in six games this season.
THE HEAT IS ON: Senior Andrei Capusan has turned things up over the last seven games, averaging 15.3 points a game (16 vs. Lehigh; 17 at Army; 11 at American; 22 vs. Holy Cross; 18 at Colgate, 11 at Navy, 12 vs. Bucknell). The co-captain has consistently been one of the top two shooters in the Patriot League (55.5 FG%). Capusan's career-high 22 points against Holy Cross was the third 20-plus-point effort out of him this season. The power forward elevated his game against Colgate (Jan. 11), scoring a 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the floor (90.9). That effort ties Capusan for the 12th best individual shooting performance in the NCAA this season. He matched Simon Conn (Gardner-Webb), Randall Hanke (Providence) and Tyrus Thomas (LSU).
MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENDANCE PLEASE?: Lafayette drew its second largest crowd of the season last Saturday, as 3,184 fans took in the Leopards' game versus No. 24 Bucknell. Kirby Sports Center hosted 3,192 onlookers on Jan. 21 against Lehigh, marking the largest home crowd of the season. Lafayette played in front of 10,023 at Notre Dame's Joyce Center back on Nov. 20.
THE O'HANLON SHUFFLE: With a team defined by youth and inexperience, head coach Fran O'Hanlon knew he would be searching for the right combination of talent to make up his starting five. O'Hanlon has continued to shuffle things around all year, using 11 different starting lineups through Lafayette's 23 games (see chart on page 8). However, the veteran coach has stuck with the same five in the Leopards last three outings (Andrei Capusan, Everest Schmidt, Pat Betley, Andrew Brown, Matt Betley).
MORE FREE THROW NOTES: Lafayette's big men have been very accurate at the line. Andrei Capusan has converted 59 of his 73 attempts (81%) while Everest Schmidt has made 71% (30-of-42) and Ted Detmer 69% (51-of-74).
BATTLE OF OFFENSE VS. DEFENSE: While Lafayette ranks second in the Patriot League, pouring in 66.4 points a game, Lehigh's defense has statistically been the second best most of the season. The Mountain Hawks are holding opponents to just 59.2 points per game, which ranks them 18th in the nation as of Feb. 13.
NUMBERS THAT MAY BE SIGNIFICANT...OR NOT: Andrei Capusan, Bilal Abdullah and Andrew Brown have all led Lafayette in scoring seven times this season. The Leopards have won six of the last nine meetings with Lehigh, dating back to Jan. 30, 2002.
SWIPING FROM THE FOUR SPOT: Power forward Ted Detmer is a rarity in college basketball, a four-man who leads the team in steals (41). Detmer is averaging 1.9 steals per game and has managed four steals in four different games this season.
SCOUTING LEHIGH: Although it seems like Bucknell is the team to beat in the Patriot League, Lehigh is in the midst of its best basketball season in school history. At 10-1 in the league, the Mountain Hawks have only been victim to one league loss -- Bucknell. Lehigh is 17-9 overall and currently riding a five-game win streak.
While averaging 61.7 points a game, the Mountain Hawks claim the second stingiest defense in the league, holding opponents to just under 60 points a contest. Lehigh has only allowed opponents an average of 38.2 percent shooting, which ranks them eighth in Division I. Over the last three games, the Mountain Hawks have held two teams (Army and Navy) to under 50 points.
Junior guard Jose Olivero leads the conference in scoring, putting up 17.6 ppg. He is one of three players averaging in double-figures, as guards Joe Knight and Kyle Neptune pitch in with 14 and 11 ppg, respectively. All three are shooting with at least a 40 percent accuracy.
The 6-5 Neptune and sophomore forward Bryan White pull in a team-high 5.2 boards a game. White ranks third in the league with 1.08 blocks a game.
In his first head coaching position, Billy Taylor came to the Lehigh Valley three seasons ago. In his short time with Lehigh, he has led the Mountain Hawks to a 67-47 record.
LAFAYETTE VS. THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Lafayette has played 588 games against the seven members of the Patriot League, and has a 330-259 record in all games against them. In Patriot League play, Lafayette is 91-116 in the regular season and 10-13 in the Patriot League Tournament. Under Fran O'Hanlon, the Leopards are 76-63 in Patriot League regular-season play.
LUCKY SEVEN: It's no secret that senior forward Andrei Capusan has been going the extra mile since the midway point of the season. Against Bucknell, the co-captain netted a team-high 12 points, marking his seventh straight game in double-digits.
FRESHMAN CONTRIBUTIONS: Andrew Brown has been a consistent contributor for the youthful Leopards. The freshman is third on the team in scoring with 9.3 points per game and looks to be the only freshman to lead Lafayette in assists in a season during Fran O'Hanlon's tenure on College Hill. Brown is averaging 3.0 assists per game and has 71 for the season.
CUMMINS LIGHTS IT UP: Trailing 74-46, it seemed like the final three minutes of action between Lafayette and American (Jan. 28) would offer little excitement. That's when sophomore guard Paul Cummins, who earned his third straight start against the Eagles, exploded with three of his six triples and added a pair of free throws to finish with a career-high 20 points. His performance was just two shy of the Lafayette single-game record of eight threes. Teammate Pat Betley hit seven against Marist on Dec. 3.
BLOCK PARTY: For the second time in 2005-06, Lafayette registered six blocks against Holy Cross on Feb. 4, which is impressive on a team whose tallest player on the floor is typically no bigger than 6-8. Sophomore forward Ted Detmer leads the 'Pards with 13 swats, while senior forward Andrei Capusan owns 12.
WHO'S COMING OFF THE BENCH: The Leopards have gone deep into their bench all season, and has continued through the meat of Patriot League play. 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 27.1 points per game of the team's 66.4 points per game average, 41 percent of the team's scoring.
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 last week, on Saturday afternoon. 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.
LEOPARDS SWEEP WEEKLY AWARDS (1/16): Lafayette swept the individual Patriot League weekly awards (Jan. 16) as Jamaal Hilliard earned Player of the Week honors while Andrew Brown was tabbed Rookie of the Week. Hilliard averaged 16.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game for the Leopards, including a season-high 20 points on a 5-for-6 shooting effort vs. Colgate. In an 80-67 win over Navy on Jan. 14, Hilliard scored 13 points, doing the bulk of the work from the free throw line where he converted 8-of-10 attempts. Brown has been a consistent contributor since his arrival on College Hill and his 13.5 points and 4.5 assists per game helped him capture his second weekly honor of the season. Brown, who previously won the honor on Nov. 28, dropped in 10 points and dished off five assists in Lafayette's 85-74 victory over Colgate on Jan. 11. He followed that with a 17-point performance against Navy. Brown was 4-of-6 from beyond the three-point arc and added four assists.
A DIME A DOZEN: For the second time this season, sophomore forward Everest Schmidt dropped in a career-high 12 points against Colgate. In a two-minute span, the Orleans, Calif. native single-handedly got Lafayette's blood pumping at the start of the second half. Schmidt scored on three straight possessions for the Leopards, including a breakaway dunk from assist leader Andrew Brown to open the half.
CLOCKING TIME: He only averages 3.3 minutes a game, but seems to be gaining respect from the end of the bench. Head coach Fran O'Hanlon called on junior guard Kerry Kenny, who joined the varsity team as a sophomore, midway through Saturday afternoon's action at Navy where drained a triple with 15 ticks on the clock. Kenny matched a season-high eight minutes on the floor while in Annapolis, Md.
14 THREE'S TIMES TWO: Lafayette made a season-high 14 three-balls versus Penn on Jan. 16, led by five trifectas from freshman Andrew Brown. The mark matched the three-point output vs. Alvernia on Nov. 22.
LEOPARDS HOT AND COLD IN JANUARY: There were definitely some significant highs and lows for the Leopards' shooting in the month of January. Lafayette averaged 44 percent in nine games. The Leopards managed a season-high 60 percent in a win over Colgate on Jan. 11, but put up a season-low 23 percent shooting night at Bucknell on Jan. 18. Lafayette shot 54 percent in a win at Mount St. Mary's to open the month (1/3) and has since followed with a 53 percent night vs. Navy (1/14), 43 percent at Penn (1/16), 38 percent vs. Lehigh (1/21), 49 percent at Army (1/25) and most recently a 41 percent outing at American (1/28).
HILLIARD STARTS AND DELIVERS: After missing the first three games of the season due to a stress reaction in his foot, Jamaal Hilliard earned a start in 13 straight contests midway through the year. Over the last three games, Hilliard has been out with a broken finger. The junior is one of the top returning scorers from last year's lineup and has averaged 8.9 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 (1/14). For his efforts, he was named the Patriot League Player of the Week on Jan. 16.
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 is second on the team in scoring (9.8 ppg), while four others (Ted Detmer, Everest Schmidt, Paul Cummins and Matt Betley) are averaging a combined 23.2 points a game. Overall, this class has contributed 49.7 percent of the Leopards' offense, while hauling down 56.8 percent of the team's boards.
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 with this year's team. The Leopards have shot 34.2 percent from three-point range, and have hit at least 10 three's in six contests this year. Lafayette has considerable depth at the guard spot and features several players with long-range capabilities. Paul Cummins leads Lafayette with 44 three's, while Andrew Brown owns 43 and Pat Betley has 36. Lafayette ranks first in the league with 188 three-pointers made (7.83 per game).
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 match-up 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 (4.4 rpg) and Everest Schmidt (4.2 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 eight occasions, resulting in seven wins. Most recently, the Leopards edged topped Army on the boards, 37-28, on Jan. 25.
A TOTAL TEAM EFFORT...AGAIN: In a pair of January wins, the Leopards have received a solid team effort out of anyone that stepped on the court. In its first Patriot League win of the season, 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.
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.
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. Pat Betley and 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 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.
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 the preseason list as the favorite heading into the season. After posting an even 6-6 in non-conference action, Lafayette finds itself 4-7 in the league heading into tonight's battle with second-ranked Lehigh.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. a year ago.
ALL-TIME AT LAFAYETTE: In the 95 seasons of men's basketball at Lafayette College, the Leopards hold an overall record of 1171-1022 (.534). Lafayette's first season of basketball was in 1900-01 when the team had 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.
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