Lafayette Men's Basketball Prepares for Fordham
Dec. 5, 2008
LIVE COVERAGE: LSN-Radio Broadcast
GAME 8• December 8, 2008
Matchup: Lafayette (2-4) at Fordham (0-6)
THE MATCHUP: Lafayette wraps up its four-game road trip with a 7 p.m. tipoff on Monday at Fordham. The Leopards last won against the Rams on March 4, 1994, in the opening round of the Patriot League Tournament. It was Lafayette's first victory in the tournament. Since then, the Leopards have lost their last four meetings with the Rams, most recently on New Year's Eve in 2006.
LAST TIME OUT: Even with a 50 percent showing from the field and senior guard Andrew Brown's season-high six three-pointers, Lafayette lost at Hartford, 97-82, on Thursday night. The Leopards' 43 points in the first half was the most by the team so far this season. The Hawks' 51 points were also the most given up by Lafayette this year. Hartford converted 55 percent from the field and behind the arc.
THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE LAST TIME: Lafayette achieved a few notable feats at Hartford. With his season-high six treys, Andrew Brown became the first player to score between five-to-seven three-pointers in a game since he achieved the feat with five against American on Feb. 2, 2008.
CAREER DAY: Even though the Leopards couldn't pull out a win against Central Connecticut State, several players had impressive individual performances. Guards Jeff Kari (23 pts), Ben Wheeler (8 pts) and Jim Mower (8 pts) all tallied career highs. In addition to his eight points, Wheeler also dished out six assists, besting his previous high of three.
MINTZ IS MAKIN' IT WORK: Sophomore forward Jared Mintz is making the most of his time off the bench. In the first six games of 2007-08, Mintz was averaging 4.0 ppg and 3.8 rpg in 15.5 minutes per game. This year, his time on the court has increased to 21.4 minutes per game, and consequently, he is averaging 9.9 ppg and 3.3 rpg. Mintz, who never reached double figures last season, posted four consecutive double-digit performances leading up to the Hartford game. Mintz played just nine minutes on Thursday and was limited to five points.
KEEP IT UP, KARI: Sunday's game against CCSU wasn't the first time this season that junior guard Jeff Kari smashed his career high in points. In fact, Kari has either set or tied his career high in all but two games so far this season (9 pts; Colorado, 11/25/08;19 pts; Hartford 12/4/08). 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 for 16 points against Temple. He then bested that mark with a 21-point performance against Rider.
INJURY UPDATE: Junior Michael Gruner has missed the last six games with an injury that he suffered in practice. Sophomore Ben Wheeler had been his replacement in the starting lineup until Sunday, when freshman Rob Delaney stepped in for his first career start. Wheeler was back in the starting five at Hartford.
NEXT UP: The Leopards will take a break for finals week before returning to the court on Dec. 17 at home against Robert Morris at 7 p.m.
ON THE SIDELINE: The all-time winningest coach in Lafayette history and the 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.
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.
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). As a result, Brown is climbing the all-time career scoring and assists record. His 110 points this season have catapulted him from 35th to 23rd among career scoring leaders. His 1,141 career points recently surpassed 'Charley Ross 61, and he needs 22 more to take over the 22nd spot currently occupied by Chet Brightful '84 (1,162 pts).
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 15 treys this season, he now has 234 three-pointers to his name and needs 38 more to break the career record held by Tyson Whitfield '01.
WELCOME TO COLLEGE: Head coach Fran O'Hanlon hasn't been afraid to use the seven members of his freshman class this season. Ryan Willen, Jim Mower and Alex Orchowski have played in all six games, while Nick Petkovich has played in five, J.D. Pelham and Rob Delaney four apiece and Andy Moore three. Four of the seven appeared in the Leopards' season opener at Wagner and 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 its 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.
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 94 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 17.0 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. This season, Brown has 29 assists through seven games (4.1 apg).
LAFAYETTE ON TELEVISION: The Leopards have 15 games televised 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.
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 picked eighth in the Patriot League Preseason Poll voted on by the conference head coaches and sports information directors. Defending champion American was selected to repeat followed by Lehigh, Holy Cross, Colgate, Bucknell, Navy and Army.
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.
IN THE RANKS: Seven of Lafayette's non-conference opponents were picked to finish within the top five of their respective leagues in the pre-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.
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 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 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 will be Lafayette Sports Information Director Phil LaBella.
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