Men’s basketball team extends winning streak to three games

Senior+co-captain+Paulius+Zalys+scored+15+points+in+the+win+over+Navy.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Athletic+Communications%29

Senior co-captain Paulius Zalys scored 15 points in the win over Navy. (Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications)

Craig Barbaro

The men’s basketball team extended their win streak to three games with wins over Holy Cross last Saturday and Navy on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The team had previously not won more than one consecutive game this season. Five players scored in double figures against Navy, paced by sophomore guard Justin Jaworski who led all scorers with 19 points.
The team shot an efficient 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three point range in the victory. Sophomore guard E.J. Stephens contributed 11 points and five assists, and junior guard Kyle Stout added 11 and four rebounds. Senior forward Paulius Zalys stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, five assists and four rebounds, while sophomore guard Alex Petrie chipped in 10 points to round out the double digit scorers.
The win was the first for Lafayette over the Midshipmen since 2015, snapping an eight game losing streak to Navy.
In the Holy Cross game, a dominant first half performance by the Leopards was undone by a second half run from the Crusaders to tie the game in the final minute. Five Leopards scored in double figures, including Jaworski who led the Leopards with 18 points and hit two huge free throws to clinch the win with five seconds left.
Jaworski, in his second year with the team, has taken on a different and much bigger role this year compared to last.
“I started about 20 games last year and was our team’s third scorer,” Jaworski said. “This year, I had to step up in scoring and playing the point as compared to playing off the ball last year.”
Petrie and Stephens added 13 and 11 points respectively, while junior forward Lukas Jarrett contributed 13 points and freshman guard Isaac Suffren notched 10.
The game opened up in a back and forth contest, with Lafayette jumping out to an early 15-14 lead. Midway through the first half, the Leopards found themselves down 24-23 before a timeout completely changed the tempo of the game. For the next four minutes, Lafayette went on a dominant 14-0 run to give themselves a 37-24 lead, which became a 42-26 lead with 4:41 left in the first half. The Leopards led 47-35 at halftime.
“We came out strong in the first half,” said Petrie. “We shot the ball well and played with a lot of energy.”
A second half run by the Crusaders closed the gap as the Lafayette offense went cold. With under a minute to play, Holy Cross knotted the game up at 67 before Jaworksi sank two free throws with five seconds left to seal the 69-67 win for the Leopards.
“I would give myself a letter grade of a B,” said Jaworski. “I didn’t shoot as well as I wanted to but I fed some other guys and knocked down the free throws that mattered at the end of the game.”
Next up for the Leopards is a trip to Loyola Maryland on Sunday, Feb. 17 with tipoff at 2 p.m.