Men’s hoops ends season “outworked” by Colgate in Patriot League Tournament

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Senior guard Eric Stafford looks to inbound the ball (Photo Courtesy of Athletic Communications)

Amy Hewlett

The men’s basketball team closed their 2017-2018 season in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Tournament, where they fell to Colgate 76-54. Despite having swept Colgate in regular-season play, the Leopards could not pull together a strong offensive force.

After a first round win over American (93-86) at home on Feb. 27, the seventh-seed Leopards traveled to Hamilton, N.Y., on March 1 to play second-seed Colgate.

“They came out looking like a whole new team,” senior forward Matt Klinewski said. “Their energy was a lot higher than what it was before and they played like they were the second seed. We gave it our all and played our tails off as a team. We gave them a run, but they outworked us pretty much.”

Colgate held the Leopards to 54 points in total, only allowing Lafayette to score 27 points in each half. Colgate senior Sean O’Brien led the offense for the Raiders, scoring 18 points and contributing three assists, three rebounds and two steals.

“They crashed the boards really hard,” Klinewski said. “They’re one of the country’s leading three-point shooting teams, and they were able to connect a few threes.”

Klinewski led the team in points, scoring 12, while senior guard Eric Stafford and freshman guard Justin Jaworski contributed 10 points each.

Lafayette’s biggest weakness in the game was rebounding, according to Klinewski. The Leopards got three offensive rebounds, compared to Colgate’s 15.

“[Rebounding] has been an issue for us the past couple seasons,” Klinewski said. “Other than that, we played really well. We played like a team, we all had to come together and play as one.”

In their win against American, the Leopards tied their season high output of 93 points in one game. This was also the Lafayette record for points scored in a post-season game, beating their previous record of 89 points from 2003 and 2015 games. This was also the most points scored in a first round Patriot League Tournament game since the game’s induction in the 2013-2014 season, with a previous record of 84 points set by the Leopards in 2014.

Klinewski led the team with 23 points against the Eagles, while Jaworski (20), freshman guard Alex Petrie (17) and Stafford (12) scored double digits as well.

The loss ended the Leopards’ season, and the collegiate basketball career of senior co-captains Klinewski and Stafford. According to Klinewski, the captains worked hard this year to establish a team culture which they hope continues in future seasons.

“We had double digit wins, which was a big accomplishment,” Klinewski said. “I think the team has a lot of potential and will hopefully make more strides in the right direction next year. “