Dec. 31, 2011
Lafayette Game Notes
Lafayette opens the new year with a trip to Newark, N.J. to take on Great West conference member NJIT. In its last game Lafayette fell at Columbia, 77-67, despite shooting 69.2% from the field in the first half.
NJIT is coming off a 84-74 road loss at Long Island on Friday night, nearly erasing a 17-point halftime defi cit as the Highlanders scored 51 second-half points. Lafayette and NJIT have met 4 times prior to Monday's matchup with Lafayette holding a 4-0 advantage in the series.
Monday's game is Lafayette's ninth road contest of the season. The Leopards are 2-6 away from Allan P. Kirby Sports Center.
Friday's loss at Columbia was the second of three games against Ivy League opponents for Lafayette. The Leopards fell at Princeton (69-54) on Nov. 30 and they host Penn on Jan. 4.
Vanderbilt was Lafayette's fourth opponent of the season that qualified for the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Long Island was a 15-seed, Princeton earned a 13-seed, Penn State was slotted 10th in its region and the Commodores were the No. 5 seed in the Southwest region as an at-large bid.
Junior point guard Tony Johnson has missed the entire 2011-12 season to this point due to a back injury, but recently was able to remove his back brace and begin strengthening activities and individual workouts. Johnson was a preseason All-Patriot League selection.
Senior Rob Delaney racked up a career-high 11 assists in the win against Monmouth - the most since Justin DeBerry '04 had 10 against American on Jan. 30, 2004.
Junior Levi Giese returned to the starting five against Columbia after injuring his ankle in the season opener at La Salle. He had come off the bench in the previous two games before starting at Columbia.
NJIT comes into Monday's game at 5-7, last playing on Dec. 30 in a road loss to Long Island. The Highlanders have alternated wins and losses aside from a two game losing streak against Georgetown and Seton Hall. Selected third (of six) in the Great West conference preseason poll, NJIT has victories over Army and Fairleigh Dickinson this season.
NJIT's leading scorer is senior forward Isaiah Wilkerson who is averaging 15.3 points per game and is the team's leading rebounder, hauling in 5.4 boards per game. The man in the middle is 6-6 250lb senior center Ryan Regis. Regis has started every game for NJIT, but only sees about 14 minutes per contest.
Junior guard Chris Flores runs the point position and scores 10.8 points per contest. Flores leads the Highlanders with 33 assists on the year. P.J. Miller is the shooting guard, scoring just under seven points per game while Arjun Ohri occupies the three and averages better than six points per game. Ohri is tied with Flores for the team lead with 18 three-pointers apiece.
NJIT is coached by Jim Engles, a 1990 graduate of Dickinson College, who is in his fourth season on the sidelines for the Highlanders. Smith is assisted by Mike Spisto, Ira Bowman and Kevin Tirone.