The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Men’s basketball gives Miami a scare in season opener

Junior forward Kyle Jenkins controls the ball during the game against Miami. (Photo by Gabe Sareli for the University of Miami)

The Lafayette men’s basketball team opened its 2022-2023 season on Monday night with a 54-67 loss to the University of Miami. As underdogs against Miami, an ACC powerhouse playing its first match since its loss to Kansas University in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament last year, Lafayette kept the game close into the final quarter.

The game was the first of Mike Jordan’s head coaching career with Lafayette. Sophomore guard and captain CJ Fulton had an impressive outing, leading the game with 17 points and shooting 66 percent from the field. 

“I think we competed hard and matched their energy for large parts of the game,” the Northern Ireland native said. “Defensively, we wanted to stop them from scoring easy points in the paint and getting out in transition, and I think we did a pretty good job of that for most of the game.” 

The Maroon and White took the lead early, as the score was 8-7 to their favor after the first media timeout.

Senior captain and forward Leo O’Boyle then added a pair of three-pointers before the Leopards later closed the half with a slim two-point lead, 30-28.

Miami came out of the halftime break on fire, as they opened the period with a 9-0 run over the first three minutes. However, a pair of threes by Fulton paired with a layup from junior forward Kyle Jenkins tied the game at 43-43 with 11 minutes left.

A second 9-0 spurt by Miami, fueled by five free throws, pushed the Hurricanes ahead 52-43 with 6:49 left. The Leopards were then held scoreless for almost three and a half minutes of game time. While the Leopards eventually cut the deficit to four, the hosts put the game away with a 15-6 run. 

Jenkins finished Monday with 10 points, while sophomore center Justin Vander Baan scored nine in his Lafayette debut. Freshman guard Ryan Pettit made his collegiate debut, dishing three assists and grabbing a rebound.

The Hurricanes shot 49 percent from the field and had 16 points in the paint, 11 off the bench and 13 off of turnovers. The Leopards shot 37.1 percent from the field and had 12 points in the paint, 15 off the bench and nine off of turnovers. The Hurricanes held a 46-34 advantage off the glass, doubling Lafayette’s nine offensive rebounds. They also outperformed the visitors in free throws, shooting 15-25 (60.0%) to their 6-16 (37.5 %).

“We gave up too many offensive rebounds and gave them too many second chance opportunities,” Fulton said. “They rebound the ball well with their strength and athleticism and get a lot of putbacks off of their misses. Top teams like Miami will punish you for your mistakes, so whenever we didn’t execute they made us pay. We also made it harder for ourselves by missing free throws.”

Facing competition of the highest caliber isn’t new to the Maroon and White. Last season, the team met elite programs including Syracuse, Rutgers and Duke on their way to finishing 10-20 overall and losing in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament to Bucknell. 

“I think the team feels pretty good, despite not getting the win,” Fulton said. “We put in a good performance and have a lot of positives to take heading into the next game. If we can refine some things from the Miami game, I think we have a good chance heading into our next set of fixtures.”

The Leopards will travel to Queens, N.Y. for their clash against St. John’s tomorrow at 6 p.m.

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Eric Ponieman
Eric Ponieman, Assistant Sports Editor
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