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 loses to St. John’s, St. Joe’s

Junior Kyle Jenkins protects the ball during Lafayette’s loss to St. Joe’s. (Photo by Hannah Ally for GoLeopards)

Lafayette men’s basketball (0-3 overall, 0-0 Patriot League) continued their series of non-league away games this past week, facing off against St. John’s in Queens, N.Y. on Saturday before traveling to Philadelphia to face St. Joseph’s.

Junior forward Kyle Jenkins started the scoring for the Leopards on Saturday, putting up a three at 18:47. Lafayette took an early 9-7 advantage after senior forward Leo O’Boyle added two 3-pointers of his own.

St. John’s managed a six-point run, which was shut down by a layup from freshman forward Josh Rivera and a three-pointer from sophomore guard TJ Berger at 12:15.

Both teams battled through the end of the first half, opening the second with a score of 34-32 in favor of the Red Storm.

O’Boyle sank another three-pointer to match St. John’s at the start of the second half, with Rivera slam dunking 20 seconds later on a fast break.

Things looked hopeful for Lafayette as Rivera added a layup and both Berger and sophomore center Justin Vander Baan ripped threes. However, a 10-point run from St. John’s put the game out of reach. A spurt of free throws secured the host’s 83-68 victory.

The Leopards had the advantage in offensive rebounds at 9-6 but fell short overall on the glass (34-31). The Maroon and White shot 42 percent from the field.

Lafayette was led by Rivera and Berger with 17 points each. O’Boyle followed closely with 14. 

“We have to focus on a lot of details, consistency and defense. Defense is key,” Rivera said. “A lot of teams can’t guard our plays. If we can run our plays throughout the whole game, that’s gonna make a difference.”

On Monday night, Lafayette likewise was unable to pull through with a win against Atlantic 10 Conference foe St. Joseph’s.

The Leopards started the first half with three straight three-pointers from Jenkins, O’Boyle and Berger before Rivera put back a dunk. Jenkins added another three to keep a 14-11 early lead for the Leopards.

The teams continued to trade baskets throughout the first half, highlighted by a six-point spurt by Vander Baan and a three-pointer from sophomore guard CJ Fulton to close out the half. The Hawks still had a decent lead, 36-26.

The Leopards gained energy as Vander Baan opened the second half with a dunk. After back-to-back threes from Jenkins and O’Boyle, along with driving layups from Fulton, the game remained close with the score at 52-49 in favor of Lafayette. 

Freshman guard Ryan Pettit sank a crucial three to keep the Leopards ahead 57-54 just before the final media timeout.

Despite O’Boyle shooting two-for-three at the line and an extra three-pointer from sophomore guard Devin Hines, the Hawks prevailed 63-59.

It truly could have been anyone’s game. The Hawks shot 42 percent from the field, while the Leopards shot 43 percent.

Rivera said that consistency is something the team is working on.

“We just got to play hard throughout 40 minutes. Like our coach said, we played hard against St. John’s for 30 minutes and against St. Joe’s for 20 minutes. If we can play hard for 40 minutes, we’ll have the W,” Rivera said. “We’d probably be 3-0 if we played hard throughout the whole game.”

Jenkins led the Leopards with 18 points, five rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal.

The Maroon and White will travel to Baltimore to face the University of Maryland Baltimore County today at 2 p.m. On Saturday at noon, they will take on Central Connecticut State University.

“We’re right there,” Rivera said. “Just a few little things we need to tweak and we’ll be fine.”

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Caroline McParland
Caroline McParland, Sports Editor

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