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 falls in double OT to Lehigh, drops Loyola matchup

Freshman Mark Butler handles the ball against Lehigh. (Photo by Rick Smith for GoLeopards)

The men’s basketball team (10-16 overall, 9-4 Patriot League) suffered two in-conference blows in the past week, dropping its rivalry matchup with Lehigh (6-7 Patriot League, 9-15 overall) in a double overtime shootout on Saturday and a game against the Loyola Maryland Greyhounds (6-20 overall, 4-9 Patriot League) on Wednesday.

It appeared to be smooth sailing at the start of the first half of the Lehigh game, with the Leopards leading 10-0 and forcing an early time-out thanks to a deep three-pointer from junior guard Devin Hines. 

Lafayette continued to extend its lead, bringing the score to 25-10 about midway through the first half. Despite the Mountain Hawks’ attempts to cut the deficit, the Leopards remained strong on defense, entering the half up 41-27.

Leopard supporter and senior Eddie Grant, who was in attendance, described the game as a “match of two halves.” Lehigh came out on fire in the second period, outscoring the Maroon and White to cut the deficit to just four points with five minutes remaining. 

As junior center Justin Vander Baan fouled out with a little over two minutes to play, the game seemed to be turning in the Mountain Hawks’ favor. At the end of regulation, the game stood at 64-64. 

The two sides continued the battle in the first period of overtime. With the Mountain Hawks leading 75-73 with 10 seconds remaining, senior forward Kyle Jenkins finished a crucial layup to force a second period of overtime. 

With two additional Leopards fouling out, the momentum flipped once again. Lehigh completed four free throws to regain the lead and eventually seal the game by a score of 94-90. 

It was a “tough loss for the team, looking at the fact that we played a very good game for the most part,” junior guard Luka Savikjevikj said. “We started off hot and played an amazing first half, but we made some critical mistakes in the second half and the opponent punished us.”

However, the team looked to move on from the disappointing result.

“It is very important for us now to move forward and focus on our next opponent,” Savikjevikj said.

It was another impressive display from senior forward Kyle Jenkins, who now ranks 25th in the Patriot League in scoring average with nine points per game. He also boasts a positive field goal percentage of .476, the seventh-best in the league. 

“I think guys have really bought into what we are trying to accomplish as a team,” Jenkins said. “From our scout of the other team to how we run our offense, the guys have played well together and also unselfish.”

The Leopards looked to move on from the devastating loss against Loyola Maryland.

From the beginning, the Maroon and White came out flat-footed. After taking a 2-0 lead, the team never led again. The first half was particularly a struggle, as the Leopards went down by as many as 18 and only managed to score 17 points through the first 20 minutes.

Despite its first-half struggles, Lafayette came out with renewed vigor in the second half. The team dropped 47 points, as its shooters woke up and provided the spark that helped it outscore the Greyhounds in the second half.

The Leopards could not overcome the first-half deficit, however, ultimately falling 79-64.

“As we get closer to the playoffs, games get more and more important,” Jenkins said. “We love playing at home in front of our fans and have a good chance to secure some home playoff games if we finish the season strong.”

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