Dec. 7, 2013
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Freshman Nick Lindner scored a career-high 24 points to go along with five assists, two steals and no turnovers as Lafayette held off Sacred Heart in a 86-79 win on Saturday afternoon at Pitt Center. The victory is Lafayette’s third straight and second away from home.
Led by Lindner’s 8-for-13 effort and Seth Hinrichs’ 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting and team-high eight rebounds, Lafayette connected on 33 of its 60 shots attempts (55.0 percent). Joey Ptainski (11 points) and Dan Trist (10 points) also reached double digits in the scoring column. Sacred Heart (2-7) was paced offensively by Evan Kelley and Chris Evans, who each netted 15 points. Louis Montes contributed 12 points and eight boards for the Pioneers.
The game opened with a torrid pace as both teams began the contest shooting extremely well from the floor. De’von Barnett’s (8 points) second-chance shot put Sacred Heart ahead 18-15 early, before Lafayette reeled off seven straight points to begin a 16-3 run. Two baskets by Hinrichs started the stretch, prior to an open wing triple from Lindner off a kick out pass from Alan Flannigan. Montes’ trey on the other end briefly interrupted the rhythm for the Leopards, but Zach Rufer put the ball on the deck and scored off the window, Flannigan added a pair of field goals and Ptasinski drilled a three-pointer. Flannigan’s second basket, an elbow jumper, completed the run and forced Sacred Heart to call timeout at the 8:30 mark of the first half trailing 31-21.
Out of the timeout Phil Gaetano traded threes with Ptasinski and Scott as Lafayette maintained its double-digit advantage. Up 41-32 following a Lindner layup at 2:42, Sacred Heart closed the gap in the final minutes by putting in 10 of the next 12 points, including the last five by Kelley, and the Leopards held a 45-42 edge at halftime. Lindner scored 11 of his 24 points before intermission and Lafayette connected on 19 of its 33 attempts (57.6 percent). The Pioneers finished the half shooting 51.9 percent on 14-of-27 from the floor.
Sacred Heart scored the first eight points after halftime to regain the lead on two transition baskets and went up 50-45 before Lafayette called timeout. Lindner’s runner halted the run and the Leopards were back within a point at the first media timeout (53-52).
The two sides traded baskets over the next four minutes and were knotted at 60 with 11:47 to play before Sacred Heart used a mini 7-2 stretch to go up by five on Steve Glowiak’s fastbreak layup. Lafayette called timeout to stop the momentum and Lindner got to the line on the next two possessions, which trimmed the deficit to 67-66 with eight minutes left.
Passes from Lindner led to Lafayette’s next two baskets and then a layup put Lafayette ahead 73-69 at the five-minute mark. Glowiak got a three-pointer to fall on the other end (73-72), but Lindner spotted Hinrichs open on the baseline on Lafayette’s next trip.
On the inbounds pass after the final media timeout, Ptasinski fed Michael Hoffman underneath and he converted the three-point play to extend Lafayette’s cushion to six (78-72). The lead fluctuated between four and six points as Sacred Heart made two at the line on each of their next two scoring possessions and Hinrichs and Scott each countered with critical jumpers with the shot clock winding down. Hoffman scored a career-best nine points, all in the second half, and pulled in a career-best four rebounds.
Sacred Heart pulled within three on Glowiak’s trey with 50.8 seconds showing, but Lindner and Ptasinski each converted at the stripe to seal the victory for the Maroon and White.
Lafayette has a 10-day layoff for finals week before returning to the court at Kirby Sports Center on Dec. 17 against Immaculata. Opening tip is slated for 7 p.m. and can be seen live online on the Patriot League Network.
Lindner scored at least 10 points for the fourth straight game and it was his first-career 20-point game.
Lafayette’s 45 first half points were the most in any half this season.
Lafayette’s nine turnovers were the lowest total of the season.
The Leopards made a season-high 33 field goals.
Lafayette leads the all-time series with Sacred Heart 3-2 and has taken the last two meetings.
The last time Lafayette won consecutive road games in December was 2007.