CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Lafayette, Army and Navy came away with wins in Patriot League men's basketball contests on Wednesday as the standings are taking shape with three games remaining for all eight teams in the regular season.
The Leopards had more dramatics from senior Tony Johnson, who hit the game-winning three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left for a come-from-behind 79-76 win at Holy Cross. Lafayette came back from a double-digit second-half deficit and finished on a 9-0 run to earn the win when Johnson nailed a game-winning shot in the final five seconds for the second straight contest.
Army was led by its senior superstar as well, with Ella Ellis scoring 34 points to lead the Black Knights to a 77-63 win over Colgate. Army improved to 6-5 in the Patriot League, tying its highest-ever League win total and moving over .500 in the second half of the League schedule for the first time.
Navy put an end to its seven-game losing streak with a 50-44 victory at home against American, dealing the Eagles a blow to their chances for a top four seed in the Patriot League Tournament. The Mids closed the contest on a 7-2 run to earn the victory, their first at home in Patriot League play since 2011.
There are no ties in the standings following Wednesday's results. Bucknell holds first place at 9-2, followed by Lehigh at 8-3. Both the Bison and Mountain Hawks are guaranteed of hosting in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Tournament. Lafayette comes in third place at 7-4, and will be playing for second when it hosts Lehigh on Sunday at Noon on CBS Sports Network. Army holds a 6-5 record, followed by American (5-6), Colgate (4-7), Holy Cross (3-8) and Navy (2-9).
Army is at American in the next Patriot League game on Saturday at 2 p.m., with Lehigh at Lafayette, Holy Cross at Bucknell and Navy at Colgate all tipping off at Noon on Sunday.
Recaps and box scores from Wednesday's games are included below. A synopsis of each contest will be added later.
WORCESTER, Mass. - Tony Johnson hit the game-winning three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left to cap a furious comeback and give Lafayette (14-14, 7-4 Patriot League) a 79-76 win at Holy Cross (11-15, 3-8) on Wednesday at the Hart Center.
The Leopards scored the final nine points of the game in the last minute and a half, and earned the victory when Johnson drained a winning shot in the final five seconds for the second straight game. Lafayette has its best Patriot League record through 11 games since the 2004 season, and also sweeps Holy Cross for the first time since that year. The Crusaders will finish under .500 in League play for the first time since 2010 and just the third since 2000.
Lafayette won despite allowing Holy Cross to shoot 67.4% from the field, as the Crusaders were 16-of-23 overall and 6-of-9 from three-point range in building a 45-39 lead at the break. Holy Cross went on a 9-0 run to build its biggest lead of the game at 60-47 with 14:22 to go, but Lafayette began to chip away from there. The Leopards went on a 17-4 run to tie the game at 67-67 with 5:50 left, the first time the score was even since the opening tip. Holy Cross responded with a 9-3 stretch, and appeared to be in good shape when a layup by Phil Beans made the score 76-70 with 1:38 to go. But Lafayette closed with the 9-0 run, as Johnson had a three-point play and Seth Hinrichs hit a trey to even the score at 76-76 with 53 seconds left. After a Holy Cross turnover, Johnson connected on the game-winning three-pointer to send Lafayette to its second straight win and sixth in the last eight games.
Despite giving up the high shooting percentage, the Leopards stayed in it throughout by forcing 20 Holy Cross turnovers. Lafayette was just under 50 percent itself at 29-of-59 from the field, with a 15-of-28 clip in the second half. The Leopards also pulled down 10 offensive rebounds as they had 16 more field-goal attempts than the Crusaders. All five starters scored in double figures, led by a fantastic game from Johnson with 20 points, six assists, five rebounds, three steals and just one turnover. Levi Giese added 16 points, while Dan Trist and Bryce Scott each scored 13 and Hinrichs had 10. The Leopards had 16 assists to 11 turnovers in the game.
The Crusaders finished 29-of-43 from the field and 9-of-16 from three-point range, but ultimately could not overcome the turnovers. Justin Burrell had 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting and dished out six assists, while Cullen Hamilton had 18 points and seven rebounds. Eric Obeysekere (11) and Dave Dudzinski (10) each finished in double figures as well. The Crusaders fell for the seventh time in the last eight games.
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army (13-13, 6-5 Patriot League) is over .500 in the second half of Patriot League play for the first time in school history after getting 34 points from senior Ella Ellis in a 77-63 win over Colgate (10-18, 4-7) on Wednesday at Christl Arena.
The Black Knights also matched their highest-ever win total in League play, set before in 2002, 2008 and 2009. Army has won three consecutive League games for the first time since 2009.
Army trailed only once at 2-0, and took over early with a 14-1 run to go up 14-3 less than six minutes into the contest. The Black Knights would later score nine straight points for their biggest lead of the game at 28-11 with 8:28 left in the first half, and led by double digits the rest of the period to take a 37-25 lead at the break.
Colgate came back early in the second half, as the Raiders chipped away in the first part of the period to get as close as 49-45 with 11:44 to go. Army responded with eight straight points to go back ahead by 12, and led by at least eight the rest of the way in the 77-63 victory.
Ellis made 11-of-15 shots, 4-of-7 three-pointers and 8-of-10 free throws in his 34-point effort, which was the top mark in a regulation Patriot League game this season and just one off the high in League play. Josh Herbeck added 11 and went 3-of-5 from beyond the arc as the pair combined for the bulk of Army's 10 three-pointers. Army shot 24-of-49 from the field, 10-of-23 from three-point range and 19-of-24 at the line in the solid offensive effort. Army split the season series with Colgate and won its first Patriot League home game since Jan. 26.
Murphy Burnatowski had 19 points to lead Colgate, while Pat Moore finished with 13 and Mitch Rolls had 10. The Raiders gave themselves a chance by grabbing 17 offensive rebounds and only committing seven turnovers, but shot just 22-of-64 from the field and 5-of-26 from three-point range in the game. Colgate fell for the third time in the last four contests.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Navy (8-19, 2-9 Patriot League) dominated defensively in the first half and closed the game with a 7-2 run to earn a 50-44 win over American (10-16, 5-6) on Wednesday at Alumni Hall.
The Mids put an end to a seven-game losing skid, and beat American for the first time since 2011. Navy also snapped a 12-game home losing streak against Patriot League teams with its first home win versus a League foe since 2011. The Eagles fell under .500 through 11 League games for the first time since 2010.
Navy stifled American's offense in the first half, allowing just three points in the first 10 minutes and seven in nearly 16 minutes of action. The Mids closed the first half with a 14-7 stretch to open up a 21-12 lead at the break.
The Mids took a 12-point lead early in the second half, but American finally began to heat up and scored 10 straight points in less than three minutes to even the score at 30-30 with 13:17 to play in the game. But Navy would never let the Eagles take the lead, and closed the game with a 7-2 run in the last 2:46 to pull away for the 50-44 final.
All 50 of Navy's points came from the starting five, led by Brandon Venturini (13), Tilman Dunbar (12) and Thurgood Wynn (11) in double figures. Dunbar also led the way with five assists. Will Kelly had six points and 13 rebounds as the Mids held a 35-31 edge on the boards, just the second time they have outrebounded the Eagles in a Patriot League game. Navy was just under 40% from the field at 19-of-48, but limited American to 16-of-45 shooting including a 4-of-18 clip in the first half.
The Eagles got another double-double from Stephen Lumpkins, who finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds in the game. Daniel Munoz led the team with 15 points and Tony Wroblicky had seven, but the rest of the Eagles combined for 11 points on 4-of-20 from the field. No player other than the top three made more than one shot in the game. American matched its lowest point total in a Patriot League game.