Feb. 26, 2008
EASTON, Pa. -
Game Notes in PDF Format
February 27, 2008
Matchup: Lafayette (15-12, 6-6) at Army (11-15, 4-8)
Tip-Off: 7:00 p.m.
Site: West Point, N.Y.
Arena: Christl Arena (5,043)
Radio: WSAN-AM FOX 1470
Dick Hammer (Play-By-Play), Phil LaBella (Color Analyst)
Webcast: Lafayette All-Access on www.GoLeopards.com
Series: Lafayette leads 33-19
First Meeting: Feb. 3, 1926 Army 44, LC 9
Last Meeting: Jan. 30, 2008 LC 83, Army 58
Last Lafayette Win: Jan. 30, 2008 LC 83, Army 58
Fran O'Hanlon vs. Army: 21-5
AT A GLANCE: Lafayette (15-12, 6-6) is tied for fourth place in the Patriot League standings with Bucknell coming into Wednesday night's game at Army (11-15, 4-8). On Saturday, the Leopards defeated Lehigh 78-60 at Kirby Sports Center on Lafayette's Senior Day. The Black Knights dropped a 71-63 decision to Navy. The Leopards have won 10 of the last 11 meetings vs. Army, including four of the last five at Christl Arena.
LAST TIME OUT: Senior Bilal Abdullah led Lafayette to a 78-60 victory over Lehigh on Saturday afternoon. Abdullah finished with his second double-double of the season, leading the team with 18 points and a career-high 13 boards. It was the second consecutive win against the Mountain Hawks on Lafayette's Senior Day. Junior Andrew Brown finished with 13 points. Seniors Matt Betley (13) and Ted Detmer (11) also recorded double-digit scoring efforts, marking the eighth time this season four players have scored in double figures for the Leopards.
WHERE THEY STAND: Lafayette can clinch at least the No. 4 seed Wednesday with a win over Army and wins by American, Bucknell and Colgate in the other Patriot League games. The Leopards can still finish as high as the No. 2 seed in the tournament.
BROWN NEARING THE MARK: Junior guard Andrew Brown has scored 995 points in 84 career games and is quickly approaching the 1,000-point plateau. Brown has led the Leopards in scoring 13 times this season and is averaging a team-best 16.3 ppg. He would become the 36th player in Lafayette history to score 1,000 points.
ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT DISTINCTION: Senior forward Matt Betley has been named to the Academic All-District II Men's Basketball Team. The team captain leads the Leopards with 5.8 rpg and is one of three Lafayette players averaging in double figures with 10.9 ppg. Betley maintains a 3.48 cumulative grade-point average while majoring in Economics and Business. He was one of two Patriot League student-athletes to earn the honor, joining American's Travis Lay.
SHOOTING PERCENTAGE=SUCCESS: Lafayette has a 7-0 record in games it has shot at or above a 50 percent clip from the floor, including a season-high shooting effort in its first meeting against Army (58.1 percent) on Jan. 30. The Leopards shot above 50 percent in wins over Penn (11/28), NJIT (12/3), Columbia (12/8), Mount St. Mary's (12/21), an overtime victory at Navy (1/19) and most recently against Lehigh (2/23).
LIVE BY THE THREE...: Lafayette is 13-6 when making 10 or more three-pointers in a game this season. On the flip side, the Leopards are 2-6 when hitting nine or fewer. During the Leopards' five-game losing skid they hit 12 three-pointers vs. American, but only six, six, eight and nine in the other four losses. Lafayette made eight treys in the 78-60 win against Lehigh (2/23).
A SEASON AWAY: At 15-12, Lafayette has eclipsed its win total from all of 2006-07. Those Leopards posted a 9-21 mark and finished last in the Patriot League standings. This season, Lafayette was picked to finished eighth in the preseason poll, but through 12 games is in fourth place, posting a conference record of 6-6. The Leopards' 15-12 start is the program's best through 27 games since 2003-04 when Lafayette was 18-9.
SENIOR FIVE: Lafayette's five seniors have provided invaluable leadership to the 2007-08 team as well as scoring 42.3 of the team's 75.6 ppg this season (59 percent). Bilal Abdullah, Matt Betley, Paul Cummins, Ted Detmer and Everest Schmidt were honored prior to tip-off of Wednesday's game against Lehigh (2/23). At least three are expected to be in the starting lineup at Army. As a group, the seniors have played in 535 games with 281 appearances in the starting lineup.
DIALING UP LONG DISTANCE: A huge part of Lafayette's offense has been its perimeter play, as three-point attempts account for 45 percent of the team's shots.
The Leopards are ranked fifth in the nation with 10.1 three's per game as of Feb. 24. Lafayette is ranked 12th in the nation in shooting percentage from long range with a 40.2 percent effort, leading the Patriot League in that category. Lafayette has hit 10 or more three's in every game in all but eight games.
Andrew Brown is tied for 15th in the NCAA in three's per game (3.5 pg) with Army's Jarrell Brown as of Feb. 24 and is tied for second in the Patriot League in the same category with Army's Brown.
Last season, Lafayette made a single-season record 256 three-pointers to finish 25th in the country in three-pointers per game (8.5 per game). The total snapped a seven-year-old mark from 1999-2000 when Lafayette hit for 249 trifectas led by Tyson Whitfield's '01 single-season record of 91.
This season, the Leopards are on pace to make 302 over the course of 30 games and have already surpassed last season's record of 256, hitting 272 through 27 games.
GRAND ACHIEVEMENT FOR ABDULLAH: With his second of four three-pointers at Princeton (1/9), senior guard Bilal Abdullah became the 35th player in Lafayette history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Abdullah finished the game with 14 points and now has 1,195 for his career after scoring in double digits for 12 straight games (at Robert Morris on Jan. 30 -- at Holy Cross Feb. 9). The streak was snapped against Colgate (2/13) as he posted eight points against the Raiders. He is 17th on Lafayette's all-time scoring list after scoring a team-high 18 points against Lehigh and is averaging 14.5 ppg.
LEOPARD LEADERSHIP: Senior forward Matt Betley is serving as the team captain for 2007-08. Betley came into the season as the team's top returning scorer and rebounder and has played in 111 career games. Betley is averaging 10.9 points and a team-best 5.8 rebounds per game this season. In the classroom, he finished the fall with a 3.83 grade-point average (GPA) and has a 3.45 cumulative GPA. The Mount Laurel, N.J. native posted his fifth career double-double, and second of the season, at Rutgers (12/5) with 13 points and 10 boards. At Pittsburgh (1/2), Betley went 6-for-6 from three-point land, scoring a career-high 20 points. He finished with 13 points against Lehigh, marking the seventh-consecutive game in double figures.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?: Andrew Brown can distribute the ball. The Littleton, Colo. native led the team in assists his first two seasons on College Hill. Brown dished out 94 assists (3.1 apg) as sophomore and started 27 of 30 games. He had 84 assists as a freshman, starting all but three games, and was the first freshman during the Fran O'Hanlon era to lead the team in assists. This season, Brown has 75 assists in 26 games (2.8 apg) and again leads the team in assists, despite taking a more active scoring role.
Brown can shoot the ball too. He averaged 9.3 ppg as a freshman when he hit 51 three-pointers and followed that by scoring 10.4 ppg while netting 69 three-pointers in his second season on College Hill. This season, Brown has led the Leopards in scoring 13 times, scoring 21 points at Stony Brook (11/12), 18 against FDU (11/16), 15 vs. UMBC (11/20), 17 against CCSU (11/25), 15 vs. Penn (11/28), 17 at Rutgers (12/5), 22 at Columbia (12/8), 32 at Mount St. Mary's (12/21), 21 at Robert Morris (12/30), 28 points against Bucknell (1/23), a career-high 34 points against Army (1/30), 22 points against American (2/2) and 17 at Bucknell (2/20). Brown is averaging a team-best 16.3 points per game and has 92 three-pointers.
Brown is stellar from the line. Last season, he shot 91 percent from the free throw stripe, connecting on 42-of-46 attempts. This season, Brown has been to the line 76 times and is shooting 82.9 percent from the foul line.
Brown makes big shots. At Stony Brook, Brown went 7-for-8 at the line with five of those makes coming in overtime. Brown was responsible for the tying baskets that sent the Stony Brook and UMBC games to overtime. At Mount St. Mary's, Brown's ninth three-pointer of the game came in overtime and gave Lafayette a 76-72 win. With 48 seconds left in overtime at Navy, a Brown three claimed the lead for the Leopards (97-94) before they went on to win it 103-99.
ON THE SIDELINE: The all-time winningest coach in Lafayette history and the second-longest tenured coach in the Patriot League, Fran O'Hanlon (Villanova, '70) is in his 13th season as the Leopards' head coach. A two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year recipient, O'Hanlon has twice led Lafayette's program to the NCAA Tournament and lays claim to three Patriot League regular-season titles among his credentials.
With a 75-71 double-overtime victory over Lehigh on Feb. 18, 2007, O'Hanlon became the winningest coach in Lafayette history and now holds an all-time record of 186-185 on College Hill.
O'Hanlon's overall record does not necessarily tell an accurate story of the job he has done at Lafayette. The Philadelphia native inherited a 2-25 team when he took over in 1995-96 and won 7, 11, 19, 22 and 24 games over the next five seasons. From 1997-2000, Lafayette was 65-24 overall and 31-5 in the conference with two NCAA Tournament appearances. In 1996, the Patriot League, which was originally founded based on the principle of need-based financial aid only, began allowing athletic scholarships. However, it was not until 2006 that Lafayette chose to do so. By no coincidence during that span, Lafayette posted a 79-91 mark and was 38-44 in the league.
MOVING UP THREE AT A TIME: Junior Andrew Brown is ranked second all-time at Lafayette with 212 three-pointers after sinking three from behind-the-arc on against Lehigh (2/23). Brown is first on the single-season record list with 92 this season. Senior Paul Cummins (158) rests sixth on Lafayette's all-time three-point field goals list, needing four more treys to take the fifth spot from Brian Ehlers. Cummins is tied with Ehlers for his 2005-06 single-season record 51 three's. Seniors Bilal Abdullah (7th) and Matt Betley (tied for 13th) are also on the list with 152 and 108, respectively. Abdullah is tied for 9th in the single-season record list with 56 three's through 27 games.
LAFAYETTE VS. THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Lafayette has played 621 games against the seven members of the Patriot League, and has a 343-278 record in all games against them. In Patriot League play, Lafayette is 102-133 in the regular season and 10-15 in the Patriot League Tournament. Under Fran O'Hanlon, the Leopards are 87-81 in Patriot League regular-season play.
American 16-20 Army 34-19 Bucknell 83-58
Colgate 38-42 Holy Cross 14-28 Navy 22-39
FROM THE FIELD:
Lafayette's top-shooting effort was a 58.1 percent clip (25-of-43) against Army (1/30). The Leopards previous mark was set at Columbia (12/8) with a 57.4 percent effort (31-of-52). The team had its worst shooting night of the season at Mississippi State when it shot 26 percent. Lafayette took a season-high 72 shots, but made just 19 of them (a season low). With 44.7 percent effort from the floor for the season, the Leopards are leading the Patriot League in field-goal percentage.
STEALING FROM THE PATRIOT LEAGUE: Everest Schmidt's six steals against Holy Cross are the most by a Patriot League player this season. There are are 13 individuals tied with five steals apiece including Jeff Kari on the list twice (vs. NJIT -- Dec. 2; vs. Navy -- Feb. 16) and Ted Detmer (vs. Lehigh -- Jan. 23)
WORKING OVERTIME: Lafayette did more than score over 100 points for the first time since 2004 with its 103-99 winning effort in overtime at Navy (1/19).
The Leopards set an NCAA single-season record with five overtime wins on the road (at Navy -- 103-99 on Jan. 19, at Colgate 69-68 on Jan. 16, at Princeton -- 76-71 on Jan. 9, at Towson -- 79-69 on Dec. 19 and at Stony Brook -- 78-67 on Nov. 12). The lone win at home in overtime this season was Nov. 20 vs. UMBC (87-84) to give the team a total of six overtime victories and tie the NCAA team record for overtime victories in a season. Wake Forest (6-1 in 1988-89) and Chattanooga (6-0 in 1983-84) share the mark. Fran O'Hanlon is 16-10 in overtime.
BROWN MATCHES SCHOOL RECORD: Andrew Brown's nine three-pointers against Army (1/30) matched a Lafayette single-game record he set earlier this season. At Mount St. Mary's (12/21), Brown hit nine treys and snapped his own record of eight that he netted at Holy Cross last season (2/28/06), a mark he shared previously with Tyson Whitfield (12/29/00 vs. La Salle) and Larry Spigner (12/3/91 vs. Yale). He shares the current Kirby Sports Center record with Brian Lloyd of Brown set in 1996.
FIFTY OR MORE: Lafayette has three players with 50 or more assists through 26 games. Andrew Brown has dished out a team-high 75 assists and Bilal Abdullah has 69. Michael Gruner has the best assist/turnover ratio of the three with 66 assists to just 41 turnovers (1.60). Matt Betley needs one more to join the 50 + club.
DOUBLE TIMES FIVE TIMES FOUR: Lafayette has had five or more players score in double figures in five games this season. Lafayette holds a 3-2 record in those games, losses coming at Rutgers (12/5) and at Bucknell (2/20). At Bucknell, Andrew Brown, Matt Betley, Bilal Abdullah, Michael Gruner, and Paul Cummins all reached double figures and combined to score 69 of the team's 75 points. Five players hit double figures vs. UMBC (11/20), Rutgers (12/5) and at Towson (12/19) while Lafayette had six players against Penn (11/28), including all five starters.
OUT OF CONFERENCE: Lafayette played in 15 non-conference games in 2007-08. Of that group, eight of the teams were picked to finish in the top five of their conference while one opponent (NJIT) has no conference affiliation. Pitt is currently tied for sixth in the Big East while Mississippi State is first in the SEC Western Division standings.
FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME: Lafayette's win over Holy Cross (1/12) was the first defeat the Crusaders had suffered at the hands of a Patriot League opponent other than Bucknell since Feb. 20, 2004 (65-51 at American). It was also the first Patriot League opener that Holy Cross has lost since the 1998-99 season.
The last time a Lafayette team beat Holy Cross and Bucknell in the same season was 2003-04. The victory over the Bison on Jan. 23 snapped a 14-game regular-season Bucknell winning streak dating back to a 2007 loss to Holy Cross.
ANOTHER RECORD ON THE WAY: Lafayette won 10 straight overtime games in a span that began on Dec. 13, 2004 vs. Cal State Northridge before falling 77-75 at Bucknell (2/20). The NCAA record for consecutive overtime victories is 11 and is shared by Louisville, Massachusetts and Virginia.
MORE THREE'S THEN TWO'S: Lafayette has scored more three-pointers than two-point field goals in five games this season and have a 3-2 record when doing so. The Leopards hit 12 from behind the arc and nine two-point baskets against American (2/2) and have recorded more treys in Patriot League games against Army (Jan. 30 -- 16 3FG, 9FG), Bucknell (Jan. 23 -- 14 3FG, 12 FG) and in the conference season opener against Holy Cross (Jan. 12 -- 10 3FG, 7FG). At Pittsburgh (Jan. 2), Lafayette hit a season-high 17 three's to just seven baskets.
ON THE STEAL: Lafayette's 15 steals at Holy Cross matched a season-high and are still the most by a Patriot League team this season. Senior forward Everest Schmidt led the Leopards with a career-high six steals. The mark set against NJIT (12/3) surpassed the 14 that Navy recorded vs. Longwood earlier in the year. Lafayette has had five or more steals in all but four games (UMBC, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, American) and is averaging 7.8 steals per game. The Leopards had nine against Lehigh (2/23).
PASSING THE BALL: According to Lafayette head coach Fran O'Hanlon, a key to the Leopards' success has been sharing the ball in their motion offense. Lafayette is averaging 15.0 assists per game in contrast to its opponents who are doling out 12.8 assists per game. Lafayette has handed out an assist on 61 percent of its baskets. Lafayette finished with 19 assists on 26 baskets to 16 turnovers against Lehigh (2/23), led by five assists from Michael Gruner. Lafayette had 22 assists at Navy (1/19), matching a season-high set at Towson (12/19). For what it's worth, Army is averaging 14.2 apg and has recorded an assist on 64.3 percent of its baskets.
A TURNOVER CORRELATION?: Lafayette has averaged 16.5 turnovers per game in its 12 losses while averaging 17.0 turnovers per game in its 15 wins, which includes six overtime victories. The Leopards have forced 18.0 turnovers per game in games won and 16.0 in games lost. Lafayette committed a season-low 11 turnovers against Bucknell (1/23) in the teams' first meeting.
THE PRESEASON POLL: Lafayette was chosen to finish eighth (of eight) in the Patriot League Preseason Poll. The poll is voted on by the conference head coaches and sports information directors. Holy Cross was selected first in the poll followed by Bucknell, Colgate, Lehigh, American, Army and Navy.
BROWN FOR P.L. PLAYER OF THE WEEK (2/4): After posting a career-high 34 points in the 83-58 win over Army (1/30) and leading the team with 22 points in the 87-76 loss to American (2/2), junior guard Andrew Brown was named the Patriot League Player of the Week on Feb. 4. It was the second weekly accolade of the season and his career.
PATRIOT LEAGUE ACCOLADE FOR ABDULLAH (1/21): Senior guard Bilal Abdullah secured Patriot League Men's Basketball Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career, averaging 26 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in a 2-0 week for Lafayette. He tipped in the game-winning basket with 3.5 seconds remaining in overtime to lift Lafayette to the 69-68 victory at Colgate and finished the night with a game-high 18 points. At Navy, Abdullah scored a career-high 34 points and snatched five rebounds. He scored 21 points in the second half and sent the game to overtime with a three-point play with 18 seconds left. Abdullah shot 68 percent (19-of-28) from the floor, including 8-of-10 from three-point range for the week.
THREE-POINTERS: Lafayette's 17 three-pointers against No. 13 Pittsburgh on Jan. 2 fell one three-pointer of tying the school record. It was also the highest single-game total by a Pitt opponent in school history. The school record is 18, set at Fordham on Dec. 11, 2000 and vs. Howard on Dec. 30, 2001. The Leopards came close to their season-high mark against Army with 16 three-pointers on Jan. 30.
At Pitt, the Leopards hit 11 in the first half, including five from Matt Betley. For the game, Betley finished with six while Bilal Abdullah had four and Andrew Brown and Paul Cummins each had three.
GRUNER GETS IT DONE: Sophomore Michael Gruner has been a mainstay in the starting lineup this season. Gruner worked his way into the rotation with his defense and has remained there because he handles the ball efficiently, doling out 66 assists to just 41 turnovers while also chipping in with 7.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. He is also one of the Leopards' top perimeter defenders. Gruner is a Marquis Scholar, recipient of the most prestigious academic scholarship awarded to Lafayette students.
Coming out of high school in Bethesda, Md., Gruner led his Walt Whitman squad to the Maryland 4A state title while earning Gazette Co-Player of the Year honors along with Montrose Christian's Kevin Durant.
ON THE BOARDS: The rebounding battle is one that Lafayette has looked to make strides in during the 2007-08 season. Lafayette out-rebounded an opponent for the first time since Jan. 13, 2007 (Navy) when the Leopards snatched 44 rebounds to UMBC's 43 on Nov. 20. They continue to be out-rebounded by an average of 3.0 rebounds per game and have out-rebounded their opponents seven times - UMBC (44-43), Mount St. Mary's (33-27), Navy (44-41), Army (30-23), Colgate (37-33) and Bucknell (28-25) and Lehigh (39-32). Lafayette was even on the boards at Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Princeton...Lafayette finished 319th out of 325 teams in Division I in rebounding margin in 2006-07, out-rebounded by an average of 3.1 rpg.
STREAKING: Lafayette snapped its longest losing streak this season (five games) with a 78-60 victory over Lehigh (2/23). The Leopards' loss to Lehigh on Jan. 26 snapped Lafayette's five-game winning streak that started with an overtime win at Princeton (1/9) and included two other OT wins on the road (Colgate, Navy). The Leopards posted a four-game win streak from Nov. 20 to Dec. 3 (UMBC, CCSU, Penn and NJIT). It was the first time since the 2003-04 campaign that the program had put together four or more in a row. Lafayette's three-game win streak included victories over Columbia, Towson and Mount St. Mary's and was snapped with a loss at Robert Morris.
ON THE RADIO: The 2007-08 Lafayette men's basketball season will air on two of the top-rated AM stations in the Lehigh Valley, WGPA-AM 1100 and WSAN-AM 1470. Entering his 41st season as the radio voice of Lafayette athletics, Dick Hammer will continue to call the play-by-play action. Joining Hammer courtside for most contests will be Lafayette Sports Information Director Phil LaBella.
WSAN 1470 will broadcast 18 games, including seven of the first eight, while WGPA 1100 will handle six contests.
LAFAYETTE ON TELEVISION: For the 11th straight season, Lafayette features the most expansive television package in the Patriot League. The Leopards have 13 games televised with the possible addition of three more televised games during the three rounds of the Patriot League Tournament. The Lafayette Sports Network will produce 12 of the 13 games that will air. Each of those broadcasts will air live regionally to more than 10 million viewers in the Lehigh Valley, Pocono region and all of Philadelphia on RCN-4 and WBPH-60. CSTV, Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh and MASN will continue as LSN national distribution partners, airing three telecasts. Emmy-nominated broadcaster Gary Laubach handles all of the Leopards' play-by-play duties, while former Lafayette men's basketball coach John Leone provides color commentary. Additionally, RCN's Dan Mowdy will provide sideline reports.
The Leopards also garnered national exposure on ESPNU when they battled Pittsburgh in January and on SportsNet NY vs. Rutgers in December.
ON THE WEB: As an element of Lafayette's long-term agreement with CSTV, all LSN telecasts are streamed live on the internet an available world-wide through LSN All-Access on www.GoLeopards.com.
MINUTES FOR THE FRESHMEN: Guard Deirunas Visockas and forward Jared Mintz have seen the most playing time of any of the freshmen. Visockas and Mintz have each missed five games this season due to injury. Visockas has played in 21 games. He made his first collegiate start at Stony Brook. He is averaging 8.5 minutes per game. Mintz has played in 21 games and has averaged 9.8 minutes per outing. He pulled down a critical offensive rebound and capitalized on both free throws against UMBC (11/20), giving Lafayette the 79-77 lead with two and half minutes remaining in overtime. Guard Ben Wheeler has played in 16 games and forward Darion Benbow nine.
BENCH SCORING?: Lafayette received 64 percent (41.3 of the Leopards' 64.6 points per game) of its scoring from the starting five and 36 percent from the bench in 2006-07. In 2007-08, Lafayette is receiving 53.6 of its 75.6 points per game from the starting five, a 71 percent clip.
FROM THE LINE: Lafayette ranked 67th in the nation in free throw percentage in 2006-07, shooting 72.4 percent. Lafayette is shooting 68.8 percent this season.
HALF WAY THERE: Lafayette is 10-4 (Win-CCSU, Penn, NJIT, Columbia, Mount St. Mary's, HOLY CROSS, Colgate, BUCKNELL, ARMY, LEHIGH; Loss-Robert Morris, Pitt, Lehigh, Holy Cross) when leading at halftime in 2007-08. Lafayette is 5-7 when trailing at halftime. In their only game tied at halftime this season, the Leopards lost 82-80 against Navy (2/16). In 2006-07, Lafayette was 8-2 when holding a lead at halftime, but just 1-19 when trailing at halftime.
INSIDE-OUTSIDE: Senior Matt Betley made the move from guard to forward for the 2006-07 season to bolster the team's rebounding efforts, but was still certainly comfortable outside. With Fran O'Hanlon's motion offense, Betley often finds himself with open three-point looks and mid-range jumpers against larger post players who will back off into the lane. With 33 three-pointers, Betley was one of five Lafayette players who made 30 or more three-pointers in 2006-07. After a slow start, Betley is 41-of-102 (40.2%) from three-point land and is one of four players who have scored 30 or more in 2007-08. He scored 13 points and finished with two assists and two steals against Lehigh (2/23).
A RARE MISS: Andrew Brown has made at least one three in every game this season with the exception of Princeton (1/9), marking the first time since Feb. 18, 2007 against Lehigh that he has not made at least one trey. He had made a three in 17 straight games. Brown has made at least four threes in nine games this season. He matched the school record he holds with 10 three's against Army (1/30), having set the record this season at Mount St. Mary's (12/21). He finished with three trey's against Lehigh (2/23).
HI, MY NAME IS...: Jeff Kari, who maintains sophomore eligibility after transferring from East Carolina University, is new on the Lafayette roster. Kari, who formerly went by Jeff Robinson, changed his name in 2007, taking his mother's maiden name as she was the one who raised him. Kari has played in 27 games with three starts and is averaging 15.2 minutes per game.
IN THE CLASSROOM: The Lafayette men's basketball team received the NCAA Public Recognition Award for recording an NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate in the top 10 percent of all men's basketball teams. Lafayette College was also recognized by the NCAA for recording an 83 percent graduation rate, 20 percent better than the average federal graduation rates of all student-athletes. The information was collected from students entering Lafayette in 2000. Overall the Division I graduation rate for student-athletes in the fall of 2000 was 63 percent and the Patriot League conference have scored at least 20 percent better than the national average graduation rate for all student-athletes who have entered school from 1997-2000.
UNPACK YOUR BAGS...FINALLY: This season Lafayette faced a span in which it played 10 of 11 games on the road. The Leopards finished an eight-game road trip at Princeton (1/9). That was the longest stretch of road games since the 1970-71 season when they also played eight straight away from home. In the 98 seasons of basketball, Lafayette has played eight in a row on the road on four previous occasions (1951-52, 1956-57, 1966-67, 1970-71). The Leopards' longest stretch away from home was a 10-game span in 1969-70 (12/5 to 1/14).
WIN NUMBER 175: Fran O'Hanlon coached his 350th game at Lafayette against Penn on Nov. 28. The 81-69 victory over the school where he spent six seasons as an assistant coach evened his career record at 175-175. His career coaching mark now stands at 186-185.
JOINING O'HANLON: The assistant coaching staff features two former Lafayette players in top assistant Drew Dawson '03 and third assistant Mike Farrell '04. Pete Schwethelm is the team's second assistant and comes to Lafayette from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) where he was an assistant coach with former Lafayette assistant coach and current USMMA head coach, John Krikorian. The Lafayette staff is a young one with Dawson (28), Schwethelm (32) and Farrell (25).
BROWN, VISOCKAS SWEEP HONORS (12/24): Guards Andrew Brown and Deirunas Visockas were named Patriot League Player and Rookie of the Week, respectively, for Dec. 24. Brown sat out the Dec. 19 game at Towson, but his return at Mount St. Mary's on Dec. 21 saw him drop in 32 points and a school-record nine three-pointers in a 76-72 win. It was his first ever Anaconda Player of the Week nod. Visockas, poured in 14 points including four three-pointers in Lafayette's 79-69 overtime victory over Towson on Dec. 19. He connected on a three-pointer and a layup as Lafayette outscored Towson, 17-7, in the extra session. He made 5-of-9 shots and 4-of-8 three-pointers in the game. Visockas also chipped in by making his only shot of the game, a three-pointer, at Mount St. Mary's. He is currently shooting 46 percent for the season from three-point range. Visockas earned his first Rookie of the Week honor.
IVY LEAGUE CHAMPS?: Lafayette went a perfect 3-0 against its Ivy League opponents in 2007-08. The wins over Penn and Princeton marked the first time in Lafayette history that the Leopards have beaten both of those schools in the same season.
THE HARDWOOD AND THE GRIDIRON: Lafayette did something it hadn't done in 15 years with its 81-69 victory over Penn on Nov. 28. The victory, combined with the 8-7 Lafayette football win at Franklin Field on Sept. 15, 2007, marked the first time the Leopards defeated Penn in football and basketball in the same season since 1991. In that year the football team won 20-12 at Franklin Field and the basketball team won 83-72.
PETE CARRIL RETURNS HOME: On Nov. 16 vs. Fairleigh Dickinson, National Basketball Hall of Famer and 1952 graduate of Lafayette Pete Carril returned to Lafayette to honor former Lafayette head coach Butch van Breda Kolff who passed away in September. Carril, who was an All-American during his Leopard playing days, went on to coaching stardom at Princeton and recently served as an advisor to the Sacramento Kings.
THE O'HANLON SHUFFLE: The scorer's table has been a busy place during Fran O'Hanlon's 13 seasons at Lafayette. O'Hanlon frequently shuffles in players to keep them fresh while also looking for the best matchups on both ends of the court. The moves also force the opponents to spend a great deal of time figuring out their own defensive matchups. O'Hanlon will often play "offense-defense" at the end of the first half and in the final minutes of the game whenever there is a stoppage of play and a chance to substitute. The Leopards have consistently gone 10 deep.
...IN A RELATED NOTE: In 2006-07, O'Hanlon used 13 different starting lineups. This season, only five different starting fives have graced the floor at the opening tip.
AN EARLY START: Lafayette's season opener on Nov. 9 marked the earliest start in program history. This season, Lafayette has played six games by Dec. 1. By contrast, in 1992-93, Lafayette did not open the season until Dec. 1. As recently as 2003-04, Lafayette did not open until Nov. 22.
REPRESENTING IRELAND: Senior Paul Cummins had the opportunity to represent his home country of Ireland this summer. He traded in his Maroon and White for the green of the Emerald Isle. Cummins competed with talented players from several different leagues around the world against other European teams. Ireland's squad went on to a third-place finish in the qualifying tournament after facing several teams with multiple NBA players.
THE GARBAGE MAN: Senior forward Matt Betley spends a lot of time cleaning the glass, diving for loose balls and occasionally even picking up a "garbage" basket in the paint. Betley is certainly willing to get his hands and body a little dirty by diving on the court, but it's nothing compared to his summer job in 2006. Betley collected garbage on a garbage truck in his hometown of Mount Laurel, N.J. As one of the scrappiest players in the Patriot League, Betley has determined that he is also one of the most hated opponents because of his style of play.
ALL-TIME AT LAFAYETTE: In the 98 seasons of men's basketball at Lafayette College, the Leopards hold an overall record of
1196-1060 (.530). Lafayette's first basketball season was in 1900-01 when the team had a winning record of 4-3.
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: Lafayette features four players from foreign countries. Senior Paul Cummins comes from Kildare, Ireland. Cummins spent two years at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, N.C. before spending a post-grad year at South Kent School in Connecticut. Sophomore Marek Koltun hails from Krakow, Poland and spent a year in Bear, Del. at Caravel Academy. Freshmen Jared Mintz is from Toronto, Canada while Deirunas Visockas is originally from Kaunas, Lithuania and currently resides in Los Angeles.