Nov. 23, 2013
NEWARK, N.J. – Bryce Scott hit a three-pointer to force overtime, but NJIT won the final five minutes and the game, 91-88, on Saturday afternoon at Fleisher Athletic Center. Scott tied his career-high with 25 points and was one of three Leopards to score at least 20 points in the loss.
Terrance Smith (24) and Damon Lynn (21) each reached the 20-point plateau for the Highlanders (4-2), who extended their winning streak to four games. Daquan Holiday led NJIT on the glass with 11 of its 38 rebounds as the Highlanders posted a plus-five rebounding margin.
Seth Hinrichs scored 20 points for the 11 time in his career, while Dan Trist poured in 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the loss. Alan Flannigan was the fourth Leopard to reach double-figures in the scoring column with 10 points, and narrowly missed a double-double with a career-best nine rebounds.
After winning the opening tip, Lafayette wasted no time in taking control in the game’s opening minutes. Hinrichs buried a three, Flannigan dropped a floater in the lane, Trist converted a three-point play on a second-chance play before Scott’s shot off the window forced NJIT to call a timeout at 17:39.
Nigel Syndor broke the 10-0 run with a wing three to put the Highlanders on the board, prior to them cutting the deficit to 10-7 at the first media timeout. Holiday’s reverse layup tied the game 12, before Ky Howard’s bucket gave NJIT its first lead at 14-12 and completed a 14-2 run.
The stretch ended at 10:17 on a lay-in by Trist and stopped a 7:22 scoreless drought for the Leopards.
Tied at 26, a three-pointer by Lynn followed by a short jumper by Smith and NJIT went ahead by five with four minutes to play in the half. Those baskets were the start of a 10-2 spurt for the Highlanders, before Scott knocked down a three for the Leopards. Five more from NJIT extended the lead to 41-31 to end the half.
Scott dropped a three to open the half for Lafayette and Trist’s long two cut the deficit in half. Joey Ptasinski then nailed a three-pointer to pull the Leopards within four points, but NJIT came back with the next seven points, punctuated by Tim Coleman’s trey to go up 11 (52-41).
Trailing 55-43, Scott was fouled on a straightaway three-pointer and converted the four-point play to begin Lafayette’s comeback. Lynn answered with a triple of his own to regain a 10-point cushion for the home team, before Lafayette got into a rhythm offensively.
Offensive rebounds and putbacks on consecutive possessions and then a wing three-ball for Hinrichs brought the Leopards within four (58-54) midway through the second half. Then, the Maroon and White forced a turnover and on the ensuing trip Ptasinski deposited another from distance, forcing NJIT to call timeout leading 58-57.
After the stoppage, NJIT got a runner to fall, but another trey from Ptasinski tied the score at 60-60 and completed a 17-5 run.
Holding a 65-64 lead with five minutes left, a pull-up three by Willis made it a four-point lead for the Highlanders. Hinrichs scored the next four for Lafayette and Trist made two free throws to tie the score at 70.
Empty possessions for each team gave NJIT the ball with two minutes to play. Smith got a layup and made a foul shot prior to a baseline jumper by Scott drew Lafayette within one, 73-72, with 14 seconds left. Willis was quickly fouled and converted twice at the line before Lafayette’s last possession in regulation.
Needing a three with less than 10 seconds to go, Nick Lindner passed the ball into the wing for Scott, who drained a three to tie the game at 75, sending Lafayette to overtime for the second straight game.
With two minutes left in the overtime period and Lafayette down 82-79, Scott missed short on a straightaway attempt, but Trist collected the offensive rebound and his basket made it a one-point deficit. Lynn made of two at the stripe for the Highlanders, then Hinrichs sank both his free throws on the other end and the score was tied once again at 83-83.
Syndor found Lynn behind the arc and he hit, making it a three-point lead. Hinrichs’ attempt off the glass missed and Howard went to the line for two shots with 21.9 seconds left. Howard made one at the stripe (87-83) and Scott drew a foul and made both shots with 18 seconds to go as to pull the Pards within two.
Lynn hit two freebees, as the lead grew back to four with 17 seconds on the clock, as Scott and Hinrichs each missed from beyond the arc and NJIT clinched the victory. Lynn scored eight of NJIT’s final nine points in overtime.
Lafayette returns to Kirby Sports Center on Tuesday night against Yale. Opening tip is set for 7 p.m. and the game can be seen on the Lafayette Sports Network.
Lafayette leads the all-time series against NJIT 5-2.
The last time Lafayette started a season 0-4 was 2002-03 when it opened the year 0-5.
Trist matched his career-high with four assists.
Les Smith made his season debut for the Leopards.
Lafayette has played back-to-back overtime games for the first time since the 2007-08 season, when it played Colgate (1/16/08) and Navy (1/19/08).