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 Patriot League leader Colgate

Freshman Josh Rivera elevates for a three during his double-double performance against Colgate last Saturday. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

Last Saturday, the men’s basketball team (16-7 overall, 5-5 conference) displayed a valiant effort against the Colgate Raiders but were unable to rise to the occasion, falling to Colgate 69-57.

The Leopards were determined to give head coach Mike Jordan a win in his first time returning to Hamilton, N.Y. since he left Colgate to become Lafayette’s head coach last April.

The Leopards were spearheaded by freshman forward Josh Rivera, who racked up 25 points and 10 rebounds in the first double-double of his collegiate career. Rivera was 10-of-19 from the floor, including a pair of shots from behind the arc, and tallied two blocks. Accompanying Rivera, senior forward Leo O’Boyle scored 11 points and junior forward Kyle Jenkins scored eight. 

For the first time in his career, Rivera was recognized as the Patriot League Rookie of the Week for his impressive performance against Colgate as well as during the Leopards’ 62-46 victory against Loyola Maryland on Jan. 25. He averaged 17.5 points and nine rebounds. In his game against Loyola in particular, he went three-of-seven from the floor with the addition of a three-pointer. He also snagged eight rebounds, three assists and a steal.  

The Leopards kept up with the Raiders to start the game, with a bucket from Rivera in addition to a foul giving them a 5-4 lead at 17:46. Colgate’s forward Ryan Moffatt then hit back-to-back three-pointers to add fuel to put the Raiders up 15-7. Colgate held onto the advantage thereafter with a score of 25-16, only interrupted by a three-pointer from sophomore Justin Vander Baan and a jumper from sophomore CJ Fulton at 9:38. 

Lafayette embarked on a 13-2 run by 4:37 thanks to eight points from Rivera. The New Brunswick, N.J. native, assisted by O’Boyle and Jenkins, gave the Leopards their second lead of the game at 29-27. The Leopards headed into the locker room ahead 34-33 after a Rivera three-pointer at 28 seconds remaining in the half.

“We have been doing well with ball movement,” Rivera said.

The opening of the second half saw competitive back-and-forth play. Four points from sophomore guard T. J. Berger set up the Maroon and White for a 9-8 stretch. Colgate answered with six straight points, four of which were from free throws, to tie the game 55-55 at just under the six-minute mark in the fourth quarter.

Propelled by a trio of layups from Moffatt, Colgate captured the momentum with a 14-2 run over the final five minutes. That surge, along with the Leopards’ shoddy three-point shooting – they were six-for-24 from behind the arc – was sufficient for the Raiders to close out the game 69-57. 

“We need to focus on defense in order to prevent another run like that from happening,” Rivera said. “We should also avoid turnovers.”

Lafayette’s ability to not play strong through the final whistle has hurt them in their last two losses. Both in the loss to Lehigh and now against the undefeated Raiders, the Leopards hung with the favored team for the majority of the game. In the end, they could not make the clutch shots to finish them off. With a difficult stretch ahead leading into the Patriot League tournament, the Leopards will need to remain consistent to go far.

“I think we have a bright future, and the games where we really focus on the right plays and on our defense will help us to stay consistent,” Rivera said. 

The Leopards will host the second rivalry game matchup of the season against Lehigh tomorrow at 2 p.m. in the Kirby Sports Center. 

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Luke Gutleber
Luke Gutleber, Staff Sports Writer

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