Raiders Come to Kirby
Feb. 21, 2012
THE OPENING TIP
* Lafayette is looking to snap a three-game losing streak when it hosts Colgate on Wednesday. The Leopards, who won the first meeting by six points nearly a month ago, swept the season series in 2010-11.
* Fran O'Hanlon has tinkered with the starting lineup the last two games. Against Holy Cross on Senior Night, he started all seniors as he has done throughout his time on College Hill. In that game, Holy Cross pulled out to a 12-2 lead by 15:21. O'Hanlon tried to switch up things at Lehigh, starting Seth Hinrichs and Levi Giese in lieu of Jim Mower and Ryan Willen. The Leopards saw a similar result, trailing 11-2 just 3:33 into the game. It was his eighth different lineup of the season.
* Lafayette's Patriot League Tournament seeding scenarios are a little hazy with two games left in the regular season. The highest seeding scenario puts Lafayette fourth (with two Holy Cross losses and two Lafayette wins or if Lafayette, Holy Cross and Army each end up at 7-7). (Lafayette would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker). The lowest seeding possibility is sixth (with two Lafayette losses and two Army wins). The more likely scenarios find Lafayette at No. 5, traveling to Holy Cross a week from Wednesday. A win by Holy Cross over Army on Wednesday assures Lafayette the No. 5 seed, regardless of other results.
* In Lafayette's last outing, Lehigh opened the game on a 11-2 run and controlled the game throughout, claiming a 72-53 victory. C.J. McCollum netted 22 points for Lehigh while Ryan Willen led the way with 16 points for Lafayette. Lafayette was outrebounded 44-29 and shot 34 percent from the field.
* Lafayette is 1-16 when its opponent shoots a better percentage from the floor. The only exception was St. Francis (Pa.) on Nov. 14 when Lafayette shot 50 percent and the Red Flash hit 55 percent.
* Ryan Willen has scored in double figures in 15 straight games and in 24 games this season.
* Tony Johnson's return has meant that the Leopards have taken better care of the ball, averaging 10.5 turnovers per game with him as compared to 14.0 turnovers per game without him.
* Lafayette's game at American on Saturday has been selected for broadcast on CBS Sports Network.
ABOUT COLGATE: Colgate (8-19) finds itself in seventh place in the Patriot League standings with a 2-10 conference mark. Both of the Raiders' conference wins came against Navy, including their last outing, a 59-57 win in Annapolis, Md. on Saturday. In that game, junior guard Mitch Rolls hit a three with less than two seconds remaining to propel Colgate to the win. Rolls has started all but one game, averaging 8.6 points and 2.4 assists per game.
The Raiders are averaging 63.4 points per game and Rolls, Mike Venezia (9.8 ppg) and Pat Moore (10.0 ppg) account for nearly half of that offense. All three are threats from outside, combining for 139 of the team's 177 three-pointers in 2011-12. Colgate shoots 39 percent from the arc.
Up front, senior forward Nick Pascale is the team's top rebounder at 4.9 rpg and is one of six players contributing six points or more per game. Junior Brandon James (5.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg) has started seven games this season. Also in the mix is senior forward Yaw Gyawu (6.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg), a 2009 All-Rookie selection, and classmate Sterling Melville (8.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg). Melville had 19 points in the first meeting.
Colgate is coached by Matt Langel (Penn '00) who is in his first season.
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