Lafayette Ventures to Colorado to Face Big 12 Foe
Nov. 24, 2008
LIVE COVERAGE: LSN-Radio Broadcast
GAME 5 * November 25, 2008
THE MATCHUP: Senior guard Andrew Brown returns to his home state for tonight's game against Colorado. This is the first-ever meeting between the two programs. Lafayette heads into the matchup after dropping two-straight at home to reigning Atlantic 10 champion Temple and Rider. Meanwhile, Colorado is coming off of a 70-57 win against Harvard.
LAST TIME OUT: Despite four players scoring in double digits and a 15-point second-half lead, Lafayette lost to Rider at home, 84-77, on Sunday. Junior Jeff Kari led the team with 21 points, the first 20-point game of his career. He was followed by Jared Mintz (16 pts), Ryan Willen (13 pts) and Andrew Brown (11 pts).
WELCOME HOME: Littleton, Colo. native Andrew Brown returns to the court in his home state for the first time since he graduated from Heritage High School in 2005. He was named the Colorado Player of the Year by the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News after leading Heritage to the Class 5A Big School state title, in a game played at Coors Event Center. In 2004-05, his senior year of high school, he averaged 18.4 points, 5.8 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals in addition to ranking second in the state in three-pointers in a season (100). EXPERIENCED OPPONENTS: Colorado is the third-straight Lafayette opponent who returns four starters from last year's squad. Temple returned four from its conference championship season, including All-Atlantic 10 First Teamer Dionte Christmas. Rider also returned four after placing first during the regular season in the MAAC.
KEEP IT UP KARI: Junior guard Jeff Kari has either reached or eclipsed his career-high in points in the Leopards' four games this season. He set his career high with 15 points in the season opener at Wagner. He reset his career high against Stony Brook with 16 points, and again hit 16 points against Temple. He then bested that mark with a 21-point performance against Rider. Kari isn't just a scoring threat. He also set a career high in assists (7) against Stony Brook and a career-high in rebounds (9) against Rider. In each of the past two games, he has led the team in points, rebounds, assists and steals, in addition to making 14 straight free throws.
COLORADO CONNECTIONS: Senior guard Andrew Brown isn't the only Leopard with ties to the Centennial State. Lafayette freshman guard Andy Moore is the son of former CU women's tennis head coach Jeff Moore. The elder Moore coached in Boulder from 1978-1982, before moving on to coach at the University of Texas when Andy grew up. INJURY UPDATE: Junior Michael Gruner has missed the last three games with an injury that he suffered in practice a week ago. Gruner may be available to play on Sunday against Central Connecticut State. Sophomore Ben Wheeler has been his replacement in the starting lineup. Gruner was a mainstay in the starting lineup last season after he worked his way into the rotation with his defense. He proved to be Lafayette's steadiest ballhandler, dishing out 72 assists to 46 turnovers for a 1.6 assist/turnover ratio. Gruner is also a Marquis Scholar, recipient of the most prestigious academic scholarship awarded to Lafayette students. Coming out of high school in Bethesda, Md., Gruner led his Walt Whitman squad to the Maryland 4A state title while earning Gazette Co-Player of the Year honors along with the NBA's 2007-08 Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant of Montrose Christian.
YOUTH GROUP: Between the two rosters, 12 freshmen and nine sophomores out of 28 players will be featured on the sideline. Lafayette signed seven freshmen this year and each has seen some playing time. The Leopards also return four sophomores. Colorado sports 10 underclassmen, including freshmen Nate Tomlinson and Austin Dufault, who have both started in all three of the Buffaloes' games.
NEXT UP: The Leopards continue on the road after Thanksgiving when they head to New Britain, Conn. for a 2 p.m. tipoff at Central Connecticut State.
SEEING DOUBLE: Freshman Ryan Willen seems to be adjusting to college just fine. The Cape Girardeau, Mo. native posted a double-double against Stony Brook (11/18), tallying 15 points and 10 rebounds. It was the first double-double performance since Feb. 23, 2008, when Bilal Abdullah '08 tallied 19 points and 13 rebounds against Lehigh. Willen's performance was the first double-double by a freshman since Abdullah achieved the feat on Jan. 13, 2005, posting 21 points and 10 rebounds. Two games later against Rider, he nearly tallied another double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.
ABOUT COLORADO: Colorado has played all three of its games at home, compiling wins over Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Harvard and a three-point loss to Montana State. The Buffaloes were picked to finish 12th in the Big 12 Conference pre-season polls. The Buffaloes boast four players who average double digits in scoring. They are led by sophomore guard Cory Higgins, who not only leads the team in points (15.7 ppg), but also in rebounds (7.3 rpg), assists (3.0 apg) and steals (2.0 spg). He became the first CU student-athlete to lead the team in rebounds and assists the first two games of any season since 1973-74. Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik is in his second season at the helm. Bzdelik has 30 years of coaching experience, and recently returned to the college game in 2005-06 after 15 seasons as both a coach and scout in the NBA, including two-and-a-half seasons as head coach of the Denver Nuggets.
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) enters his 14th 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. With a 75-71 double-overtime victory over Lehigh on Feb. 18, 2007, O'Hanlon became the winningest coach in Lafayette history and now holds an all-time record of 188-190 on College Hill. O'Hanlon's overall record does not necessarily tell an accurate 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 seven, 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 based 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.
LOOKING BACK: The last time Lafayette started off the season with a 2-0 record was in 1998-99. In that season, the Leopards defeated Dartmouth, 56-41, and Princeton, 63-47. Lafayette went on to earn a 22-8 record, including a 10-2 record in the Patriot League, and secured a berth to the NCAA Tournament after winning its first Patriot League championship (against Bucknell). Even more impressive, Lafayette achieved all that success despite losing the preseason Player of the Year Stefan Ciosici for the entire season and the 1997-98 Rookie of the Year Tyson Whitfield for seven games in the middle of the conference schedule.
BRAVO, BROWN: Senior guard Andrew Brown was selected to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team in late October. Brown was an All-Patriot League Second-Team pick at the end of the 2007-08 season after leading the Leopards in scoring 14 times and averaging a team-best 15.9 ppg. He also led the team in assists (85). Brown is climbing the all-time career scoring record. Brown's 22-point and 25-point performances this year have catapulted him from 35th to 27th among career scoring leaders. His 1,092 career points recently surpassed Dave Brown '70, and he needs four more to move up to the 26th spot.
FROM DOWNTOWN: Senior guard Andrew Brown's hot hands from behind the arc last year helped him cement his name in the Lafayette record books. Brown owns the school record for most three-pointers in a game (9), most three-point field goal attempts in a season (247) and most treys made in a season (99). After sinking eight threes in Lafayette's two wins, he now has 227 three-pointers to his name and needs 45 more to break the career record held by Tyson Whitfield '01.
WELCOME TO COLLEGE: Four of Lafayette's seven freshmen made it out on to the court in Lafayette's season opener at Wagner. Ryan Willen played the most minutes (20) out of the group: Jim Mower (4), J.D. Pelham (4) and Alex Orchowski (1). Willen's clutch free throw shooting may have secured Lafayette's win. In the last four minutes, the Seahawks went on an 8-3 run, closing in on Lafayette's lead 70-67, before fouling Willen with 11.4 seconds remaining. With a rowdy group of Wagner fans doing their best to distract him, the rookie sank both free throws, making it a two-possession game. Willen finished with seven points and three rebounds in his first outing. Mower knocked down a three-pointer for his first collegiate points and recorded his first career rebound, assist and block in win against Stony Brook. Nick Petkovich saw his first collegiate minutes and also scored his first career points against Stony Brook. Against Temple, Andy Moore and Rob Delaney clocked their first career minutes, becoming the final of Lafayette's seven freshman to play this year. Delaney also scored his first career points, off a three-pointer, and sunk two free throws for a total of three points.
LEOPARD LEADERSHIP: Senior guard Andrew Brown and junior guard Jeff Kari are serving as the team captains. Brown is the lone member of the class of 2009 and is the team's top returning scorer (15.9 ppg). He has played in 91 games in his career. Kari played in 30 games in his first season on College Hill after transferring from East Carolina and is the leading scorer this season with 17 points per game.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?: Andrew Brown can distribute the ball. The Littleton, Colo. native led the team in assists his first three years 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. Brown finished his junior year with a team-high 85 assists in 30 games (2.8 apg), despite taking a more active scoring role. Brown can shoot the ball too. He averaged 9.3 ppg as a freshman when he hit 51 three-pointers and followed that by scoring 10.4 ppg while netting 69 three-pointers in his second season on College Hill. In 2007-08, Brown led the Leopards in scoring 14 times and continued that trend in the first two games this season with 22-point and 25-point performances. Brown is stellar from the line. In his sophomore year, he shot 91 percent from the charity stripe, connecting on 42-of-46 attempts. Last season, Brown went to the line 82 times and hit for 83 percent. He reached the line a career-high 10 times in the season opener, connecting on eight, and is shooting 74 percent this season. Brown makes big shots. Last year at Stony Brook, Brown went 7-for-8 at the line with five of those makes coming in overtime. Brown was responsible for the tying baskets that sent the Stony Brook and UMBC games to overtime. At Mount St. Mary's, Brown's ninth three-pointer of the game came in overtime and gave Lafayette a 76-72 win. With 48 seconds left in overtime at Navy, a Brown three claimed the lead for the Leopards (97-94) before they went on to win it 103-99.
D.C. DANDIES: Though players from 11 states and three countries are represented on Lafayette's roster, the Leopards do have a preference for the D.C. area. Prior to arriving on College Hill, three of Lafayette's guards attended schools within 25 miles of the nation's capital. Michael Gruner shined at Walt Whitman High School, where he led his team to a state championship. Sophomore Ben Wheeler played at Chantilly where he garnered first team all-district and second team all-region accolades his senior year. Freshman Nick Petkovich is the most recent addition from the D.C. area, an All-IAC Conference First-Team selection from Bullis Prep.
THE PRESEASON POLL: Lafayette was chosen to finish eighth in the Patriot League Preseason Poll. The poll is voted on by the conference head coaches and sports information directors. Defending champion American was selected to repeat in 2009 followed by Lehigh, Holy Cross, Colgate, Bucknell, Navy and Army.
LAFAYETTE ON TELEVISION: The Leopards have 15 games televised broadcasted at home. Fourteen telecasts will be produced by the Lafayette Sports Network (LSN). The Leopards will also garner national exposure on ESPNU when they visit Penn State on Dec. 21 for the first time in seven years and again when they travel to Bethlehem for a matchup against their archrival, Lehigh, in late February. Emmy-nominated local sports broadcaster Gary Laubach will handle all of Lafayette's play-by-play duties for the 12th straight season. Former Lafayette men's basketball coach John Leone will provide color analysis for the 11th season.
WORKING OVERTIME IN 2007-08: The Leopards set an NCAA single-season record with five overtime wins on the road (at Navy -- 103-99 on Jan. 19, at Colgate 69-68 on Jan. 16, at Princeton -- 76-71 on Jan. 9, at Towson -- 79-69 on Dec. 19 and at Stony Brook -- 78-67 on Nov. 12) in 2007-08. The lone win at home in overtime came Nov. 20 vs. UMBC (87-84) to give the team a total of six overtime victories and tie the NCAA team record for overtime victories in a season. Wake Forest (6-1 in 1988-89) and Chattanooga (6-0 in 1983-84) share the mark. Fran O'Hanlon is 16-10 in overtime.
BASKETBALL IQ: Lafayette placed a program-best five student-athletes on the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll during the 2007-08 season. The distinction recognizes those individuals who have earned a varsity letter and maintained a 3.2 GPA during the spring semester. Junior Michael Gruner and sophomores Deirunas Visockas and Ben Wheeler along with graduated players Matt Betley and Paul Cummins each earned the nod.
ON THE RADIO: The entire 2008-09 Lafayette men's basketball season will air on WSAN-AM 1470 "The Fox." Entering his 42nd 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.
IN THE RANKS: Seven of Lafayette's non-conference opponents were picked to finish within the top five of their respective leagues in the p re-season polls. At No. 1, Mount St. Mary's is the highest ranked nonconference opponent the Leopards will face. Lafayette will tip off against five opponents from the Northeast Conference -- the most of any one conference on the Leopards' schedule.
Lafayette Athletics, as a partner in the mission of the College, provides an incredibly effective learning experience for student-athletes through competitive NCAA Division I athletics. Lafayette sponsors 23 varsity sports with more than 600 student-athletes.Mission Statement | Leopard Tradition | Staff Directory | Feedback | Ask the AD
The Lafayette Sports Network (LSN) handles all multimedia elements and advertising sales for athletics at Lafayette College. LSN is the Patriot League leader in delivering high-quality programming worldwide via television, radio, streaming video and satellite.Advertising and Sponsorships | Digital Media | LSN TV & Radio Affiliates