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 drops back-to-back games in California swing

Senior center Justin Vander Baan tries to muscle by a UCLA defender. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

The men’s basketball team (0-3 overall) traveled to California last weekend to face UCLA (2-0 overall) and Pepperdine (3-1 overall). The Leopards lost their contest against UCLA by a score of 68-50, then fell to Pepperdine 76-53.

The Leopards came out strong against the Bruins, taking a 9-3 lead thanks to three-pointers from senior forward Kyle Jenkins and senior guard Eric Sondberg. Sondberg and Jenkins led Lafayette in scoring against UCLA with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Lafayette continued to play solid defense, holding UCLA to just 30 points in the first half. With 15:21 remaining in the second half, the Leopards took a 43-34 lead, their largest of the game.

Head coach Mike McGarvey saw this as a positive.

We’ve proven to ourselves that we have the ability to look like a great team in stretches,” McGarvey wrote in an email. “Being down just 3 points at half at St Joe’s, having a 9 point lead in the second half at UCLA, and the first 10 minutes at Pepperdine were all some strong signs.”

The Leopards offense went silent late in the second half, managing only five points in the last 13:17. Eventually, UCLA took a commanding lead fueled by a 30-4 run.

“Their ball pressure and switching defense in the second half stopped a lot of our ball movement,” McGarvey wrote.

A 10-point run by UCLA with three minutes remaining put the game out of reach. Freshman guard Luke Rasmussen was only able to score consolation points for the Leopards with a three-pointer in the last minute.

Turnovers were an issue for the Leopards throughout the game, as they turned the ball over 14 times to UCLA’s seven. Through three games this season Lafayette is averaging 15 turnovers per contest.

The Leopards then took on Pepperdine on Sunday.

Similar to the game against UCLA, the Maroon and White started off strong, with their offense showing promising flashes early in the first half. After a three-pointer from senior center Justin Vander Baan with 13:32 left in the first, the Leopards led by a score of 17-11. According to Vander Baan, the team showed “flashes” of great play.

“The emphasis on what we need to improve on is consistency and making those ‘flashes’ a full 40 minutes,” Vander Baan wrote in an email.

Vander Baan bounced back from a five-point outing against UCLA with 14 points and five rebounds as he led the Leopards in scoring against Pepperdine. However, Lafayette struggled on offense as a team, shooting 35.2 percent from the field against Pepperdine’s 47.6 percent.

Senior Kyle Jenkins added eight points as well as two blocks and two steals on the defensive end. However, the defense as a whole was unable to contain Pepperdine’s offense as the game progressed.

“Defensively we out-toughed a good UCLA squad but got out-toughed by Pepperdine … Again, we have to be consistent,” Vander Baan wrote.

The score quickly became lopsided, with Pepperdine leading 42-26 at the half. The second half featured a scoring surge from the Waves who went up by as many as 30 points late in the game.

The Leopards continue their season back in Pennsylvania on Sunday, where they will take on Wilkes University (1-0 overall) for their first home game of the season. They will then head to the University of Pennsylvania (3-1 overall) on Nov. 24.

Coach McGarvey emphasized the need for consistency across all 40 minutes in these upcoming games.

If we can be more consistent over the duration of the game, we should continue to be in competitive positions to win games,” he wrote.

“For our upcoming games, we just have to focus on how Lafayette basketball is played and the results will take care of themselves,” Vander Baan wrote.

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