Aug. 12, 2013
EASTON, Pa. - Head Men's Basketball Coach Fran O'Hanlon announced the 2013-14 men's basketball schedule on Monday as Lafayette looks to take the next step in its pursuit of a Patriot League championship and a NCAA Tournament berth. The campaign features non-conference tilts with Villanova and Seton Hall and the unveiling of a newly renovated Kirby Sports Center against Robert Morris in Lafayette's home opener on Nov. 12.
O'Hanlon's 19th season on College Hill begins with a trip to familiar territory for the Leopards' head man when the team travels to The Pavilion for a meeting with Villanova. A 1970 graduate and member of Villanova's Hall of Fame, O'Hanlon's group faces an immediate challenge with the Wildcats, who played in the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
The home opener four nights later figures to be a special event when O'Hanlon's former assistant Andrew Toole brings his troops into a sparkling Kirby Sports Center. Toole coached at Lafayette during the 2006-07 season and has been the head coach at Robert Morris since 2010-11. The Colonials enter the season on a high after a thrilling upset of Kentucky in last season's NIT first round. It is the first meeting between the two Pennsylvania schools since Dec. 2008, when RMU knocked off Lafayette in Easton.
Three of Lafayette's first four games are on the road, with meeting at Princeton and NJIT scheduled for Nov. 20 and 23, respectively. The Leopards then return home for consecutive matchups against Ivy League foes Yale (Nov. 26) and Penn (Nov. 30), surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday. Lafayette edged Penn last season at The Palestra for the program's first win in the historic building against the Quakers.
December opens with two road challenges against Northeast Conference opponents Wagner (Dec. 3) and Sacred Heart (Dec. 7) prior to a 10-day layoff for finals. Last season sophomore Bryce Scott sent the Kirby Sports Center crowd home happy with a buzzer-beating three-pointer to lift Lafayette past the Pioneers.
After the break, Lafayette hosts Immaculata in its only home contest of the month on Dec. 17, before traveling to The Big Apple for a holiday gathering with St. Francis-Brooklyn two days later. The Maroon and White's final non-conference game pits it against Seton Hall on Dec. 27 at Walsh Gymnasium in South Orange, N.J.
The 2014 calendar year tips off with Patriot League play for the first time since 2007 when the Leopards welcome Army to Kirby Sports Center on Jan. 2. After the meeting with the Black Knights, Navy is on the docket on Jan 5. in Annapolis, Md. as the Leopards look to make it five straight victories against the Midshipmen.
A rematch of the 2013 Patriot League championship game is marked for Jan. 8 when Lafayette hosts defending league-champion Bucknell. The two sides split their regular season meetings last year, before the Bison took home the title on their home floor in March. Three days later, Lafayette gets its first glance at newcomer Boston University when the Terriers travel to Easton. Lafayette holds a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series.
A pair of road contests, at Loyola Maryland and American, awaits Lafayette on the 15th and 18th, respectively, before Holy Cross makes a visit to Easton Jan. 22. Last year, Lafayette took all three games from the Crusaders, including a 23-point dismantling in the Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinal at Kirby Sports Center. The Leopards have won four straight in the series and seven of the previous eight meetings.
The 218th meeting in The Rivalry between Lafayette and Lehigh is renewed Jan. 26 when the Maroon and White travel to Bethlehem, Pa. Last season the Leopards swept all three meetings against the Mountain Hawks and eliminated them in the Patriot League tournament. After hosting Colgate to close out January, the second half of conference action picks up on Feb.1 when Lafayette clashes with Navy in Easton.
Back-to-back road games at Bucknell (Feb. 5) and BU (Feb. 8) precede a two-game stretch at home against Loyola (Feb. 12) and American (Feb. 15). The Patriot League season closes with three of the final four games away from Kirby Sports Center, starting with a trip to Worcester, Mass. to face Holy Cross on Feb. 19. Following that trip, Lehigh ends the home slate on Feb. 22 before trips to Colgate (Feb. 28) and Army (Mar. 1) wrap up the regular season.
The men's basketball tournament will feature all 10 Patriot League members and will be played entirely at home sites. First-round contests will feature the 10th-seed at the seventh-seed, and the ninth-seed at the eighth-seed. Each tournament will then move to the quarterfinals held at the top four seeds, followed by the semifinals and championship at the site of the higher seeds. The bracket will not re-seed, and dates are expected to be announced soon.
Check back to GoLeopards.com for Patriot League Tournament dates and season ticket information for the 2013-14 Lafayette men's basketball campaign.
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