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 defeats American, drops close game to Colgate

Senior+forward+Kyle+Jenkins+shoots+during+the+game+against+Colgate+in+which+he+notched+his+1000th+career+point.+%28Photo+by+Rick+Smith+for+GoLeopards%29
Senior forward Kyle Jenkins shoots during the game against Colgate in which he notched his 1000th career point. (Photo by Rick Smith for GoLeopards)

The men’s basketball team (11-17 overall, 10-5 Patriot League) will head into this weekend’s rivalry game against Lehigh off the back of a win against American (14-14 overall, 8-7 Patriot League) and a close loss to conference-leading Colgate (20-8 overall, 14-1 Patriot League). 

Visiting Washington, D.C., the Leopards looked to avenge their Jan. 31 loss to the Eagles. With a 68-62 win, they did just that. 

Lafayette’s efforts were spearheaded by junior guard Devin Hines, who notched a career-high 20 points. The West Palm Beach, Florida native sank five three-pointers.

“I just wanted to come out and do everything I could to help my team win,” Hines said. “My coach and teammates believed in me and gave me a lot of confidence, which helped a lot.” 

Junior guard Luka Savikjevikj also had a standout performance, recording a career-high 14 points. He made five of his seven shots from the floor, including four out of five from three-point range. 

“It’s always a great feeling hitting a career-high, especially when you help the team in a big win against a very tough opponent,” Savikjevikj said. 

Senior forward Kyle Jenkins added 10 points, and junior center Justin Vander Baan finished with nine points and seven rebounds.  

As a team, the Maroon and White shot 48.9 percent from the field and 48.1 percent from beyond the arc. The Eagles, on the other hand, could only manage 38.9 percent and 31.8 percent, respectively. 

On Monday night, the team then faced Colgate in a nationally-televised rematch of the 2023 Patriot League Championship in front of almost two thousand fans at Kirby Sports Center. Lafayette looked to sweep the regular season series after handing the Raiders their only conference defeat of the season on Jan. 10. 

It was a back-and-forth game between the first and second-ranked teams in the league, with the Leopards bouncing back every time it seemed like Colgate would peel away with the lead. Down by three with five seconds left in the first half, freshman guard Mark Butler bolted across the court to squeeze in a crafty finish and cut the deficit to one point. 

Then, in the second half, Jenkins scored his 10th point of the game and the 1000th of his career. He is the 49th Leopard to reach this milestone. 

“I knew going into the game I only needed 10 more, but once the game gets going you forget about it,” Jenkins said. “It feels good to hit a milestone like that after putting in a lot of work in my career here.”

Despite the achievement, Lafayette displayed lackluster shooting in the second period. The team shot 32 percent from the field, 33.33 percent from three-point range, and 60 percent from the charity stripe on its way to a 67-62 loss.

“Colgate were able to execute their game plan better than us, especially late in the game,” Savikjevikj said. “They were more disciplined than us.”

With the win, Colgate clinched its fifth consecutive regular-season trophy while reaching 20 wins for the third season in a row. The team is currently on a 12-game win streak. 

Despite this loss, Lafayette remains in control of second place in the Patriot League going into the final week of the regular season. Although the postseason picture is starting to solidify, gaining momentum before the tournament is crucial, according to Jenkins.

“It’s still the same motivation with the last three games,” Jenkins said. “We want to win, and we want to continue to improve to get ready for the playoffs.” 

The next game up for the Leopards is tomorrow when Lehigh (11-15 overall, 8-7 Patriot League) visits Kirby Sports Center at 2 p.m. Lafayette’s seniors will be celebrated along with the 1998-99 Patriot League Championship team. 

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Eric Ponieman, Assistant Sports Editor
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