The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Shooting woes to blame as men’s basketball falters against Army, barely loses to Colgate

Standout freshman forward Josh Rivera recorded his second career double-double in the loss to Army. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

The men’s basketball team (9-21 overall, 7-10 Patriot League) lost its second matchup of the season against Army (15-14, 9-7 Patriot League) 53-43 in an away match last Saturday night. The team then fell to Colgate in a nail-biting mid-week matchup at Kirby Sports Center, 73-69. 

It was a poor offensive performance from the Leopards on Saturday, who scored fewer points in only one game this season – their 34-53 loss against Navy on Feb. 1. The team currently averages 61.0 points per game. 

“Our biggest struggle was offense,” sophomore center Justin Vander Baan, who totaled 13 points and three rebounds, said. “We got good looks for our shooters, but the shots just didn’t go in. This happens from time to time. Defensively we did a decent job.”

One highlight of the night was freshman forward Josh Rivera’s performance. The New Brunswick, N.J. native recorded his second career double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. He notched his first when the team played Colgate on Jan. 28. In that game, Rivera had 25 points and 10 rebounds against the Patriot League leaders.

While most players would celebrate such an accomplishment, Rivera focused on how he could improve his game going forward. 

“I really didn’t feel anything, if I’m being honest,” Rivera said of his performance against Army. “I think I should have more double-doubles this season. I know that if I crash the boards every time, something good will happen. I can use my athleticism to help get tips or rebounds.” 

Other than the rookie’s accomplishment, there wasn’t much for the Leopards to be excited about. The team shot a meager 25.4 percent from the field, along with just 20 percent from the three-point line. It was an uncharacteristic showing, as they average 40.3 percent and 32.6 percent in the respective categories.

“I felt that we worked hard, and played good defense,” Rivera said. “But at the end of the day, we just have to hit shots. Unfortunately, they weren’t falling for us.” 

For the Maroon and White, the loss did not help their chances at clinching a top-four seed and a quarterfinal-round home playoff game in the Patriot League tournament. 

A Wednesday night game against Colgate came as Head Coach Mike Jordan, a recent assistant coach for the Raiders, was sidelined due to an investigation into his workplace conduct, as announced the day prior.

Vander Baan said that the team was “feeling confident” going into the Colgate game and aimed to “finish out the regular season strong as we head into the Patriot League tournament.” 

Colgate (22-8 overall, 16-1 Patriot League) was the first to get on the board within 30 seconds of the game. Vander Baan was the first on the board for Lafayette shortly after. This trend continued, as the first half was a cat-and-mouse game, with each basket being responded to by the opposing team. Leading the Leopards in the first half of the game were Vander Baan with 16 points and senior forward Leo O’Boyle with 10 points.

Rivera said that the team needed to “work on disrupting Colgate’s offense.” He added that the team must “make our free throws and layups, and keep the ball moving from side to side.”

The second half read a lot like the first, with Colgate getting on the board first. Junior forward Kyle Jenkins lit up in the early minutes of this half, scoring eight points in five minutes. While Lafayette trailed most of the half, the score remained incredibly close. The score was at 68-65 in favor of Colgate with five minutes left. Both teams went on a scoring drought for the next two minutes until a field goal from sophomore guard TJ Berger cut Colgate’s lead.

In the last nail-biting minute, Colgate attempted to run the clock out while the Leopards played hard defense. A basket from Vander Baan brought Lafayette within just two points, but two made foul shots from Colgate brought the game out of reach. The final score was 73-69 in favor of Colgate.

The Leopards travel to face Bucknell tomorrow at 2 p.m. for the last regular season game of the 2022-2023 season. 

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About the Contributors
Eric Ponieman
Eric Ponieman, Assistant Sports Editor
Roll Pards!
Caroline McParland
Caroline McParland, Sports Editor

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