Men's Basketball

Leopards Carry Momentum to Holy Cross Saturday

Lafayette looks to snap five-game Worcester skid

- Lafayette looks to build off the momentum of its first Patriot League win of the season on Wednesday against Loyola when it travels to Worcester, Mass. on Saturday afternoon to battle with Holy Cross. Each team enters the game at 1-2 early in the conference campaign as Holy Cross dropped a thriller earlier in the week, falling 99-94 to Lehigh in overtime.

- Saturday's game will feature the top two shot-blockers in the Patriot League in Holy Cross' Jehyve Floyd and Lafayette junior Lukas Jarrett. Floyd leads the league at 2.6 blocks per game, while Jarrett follows at 1.6 per outing. Jarrett's five blocks against Loyola the last time out moved him into the top 10 all-time in career blocks at Lafayette, currently in eighth with 66 over two-plus seasons.

- The Leopards look to snap a five-game road losing streak to Holy Cross, last winning in Worcester in 2014.

The offense was clicking on all cylinders for the Leopards on Wednesday evening at Kirby Sports Center as Lafayette used hot shooting to post an 85-70 victory over Loyola, its first in Patriot League play.

The Maroon and White connected on 32-of-58 from the field (55.2%) and 11-of-20 from three-point range (55.0%), both season bests, while a number of Leopards posted career-high performances. Senior co-captain Paulius Zalys registered a career-high seven assists, junior Lukas Jarrett recorded a career-best five blocks and sophomore Justin Jaworski added a career-high six rebounds.

Sophomore Alex Petrie led the Leopards in scoring with 19 points on the night, the best scoring output for the defending Patriot League Rookie of the Year since dropping 26 at Fairleigh Dickinson on Nov. 25. Jaworski followed with 17 and Zalys added 16 with five rebounds and a steal for another all-around solid performance. Zalys is in the midst of the best stretch of games of his career in his final season on College Hill, averaging 15.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in his last five contests.

Lafayette was in control for the majority of the game, leading for 36:18 of the contest and by nine at halftime, 39-28. That lead never slipped away throughout another solid 20 minutes of play in the second to push the Leopards to 4-10 overall on the year and 1-2 in conference action.

KaVaughn Scott led all scorers with 21 points for the visiting side, one of three double-figure scorers. Chuck Champion added 14 and Isaiah Hart chipped in with 11, as the Leopards defended Andrew Kostecka well, holding the Patriot League's leading scorer at 20.8 points per night entering the contest to just eight on 3-of-9 from the field. The loss dropped the Greyhounds to 4-12 this season and 0-3 in Patriot League play.

Returning four starters for the 2018-19 campaign, Holy Cross has been impressive this season, going 9-4 through its non-conference slate, but has dropped two of its first three Patriot League contests including a 99-94 overtime thriller against Lehigh on Wednesday evening. The Crusaders excel in ball control, sitting ninth in the nation in assist/turnover ratio at 1.6, forcing three turnovers more than they commit per contest. Holy Cross' lone league win came in the opener, an 80-73 victory at Loyola on Jan. 3.

Jacob Grandison leads a balanced attack offensively for the home side at 15.0 points per game, one of four double-figure scorers. Austin Butler, Caleb Green and Jehyve Floyd round out the scoring at 12.6, 12.1 and 10.1 points per outing, respectively. Floyd is a formidable force in the paint for Holy Cross, leading the team in rebounding at 6.3 boards per game and sitting atop the Patriot League rankings in blocks at 2.6 per night.

Lafayette fought back from a 16-point deficit to cut it to two midway through the second half at Holy Cross on Jan. 27, 2018, but the defensive side of the ball wasn't there for the Maroon and White, dropping an 85-74 decision to the Crusaders at the Hart Center.

Alex Petrie tied his own rookie single-game scoring record with 29 points on the afternoon, going 6-of-9 from three-point range and 10-for-16 overall. Both sides were executing offensively throughout the afternoon as Lafayette went 22-of-49 from the field (44.9%) and 11-for-24 from three-point range (45.8%). Holy Cross countered at 33-of-59 from the floor (55.9%) and 9-of-30 from distance (30.0%).

Matt Klinewski '18 was the only other Leopard in double-figure scoring with 14 points on 3-of-9 from the field. E.J. Stephens also chipped in with eight points on an efficient 3-of-4 from the floor.

The Crusader offense was tough to stop throughout the day, getting its 33 field goals on 22 assists compared to just seven turnovers as a unit. Caleb Green and Karl Charles tallied eight assists each to compliment 28 points from Austin Butler, who went 11-of-15 from the field on the afternoon.

Historically, the trip to Worcester, Massachusetts for the Leopards has not been a kind one, carrying a 9-23 mark since the start of Patriot League play in games at Holy Cross.  Additionally, the Crusaders have won the last five meetings against Lafayette at the Hart Center, with the last Leopard win there coming in the 2013-14 season, a 76-64 victory on Feb. 19, 2014 on the back of 21 points from Seth Hinrichs '15. 

Sophomore Alex Petrie won't forget his pair of games against Holy Cross in his rookie season when he set Lafayette's freshman single-game scoring record twice with 29 each time against the Crusaders. Petrie went 7-for-8 from three-point range in game one in Easton and followed that up with a 6-for-9 performance from distance in game two in Worcester. 

Senior co-captain Paulius Zalys is in the midst of the best stretch of his career for the Maroon and White, averaging 15.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per contest over the last five games. The Kaunas, Lithuania native sits third on the team in scoring at 9.9 points per night this season and second on the glass with 5.1 boards per outing.   

Zalys' current stretch has put him back on track to become Lafayette's 45th 1,000-point scorer. He currently sits at 886 career points, needing approximately 7.1 points per night through the remainder of the season to reach the milestone.

The start of Patriot League play has served as a jump-start for the game of junior Lukas Jarrett. Jarrett is averaging 10.3 points per night in conference games and led the team in scoring for the first time in his career with 14 points at Army on Jan. 5. The Northport, N.Y. native is posting 5.8 points per game on the year overall and moved into the top 10 all-time in career blocks at Lafayette with five in the last outing against Loyola to move his total to 66. Jarrett sits second in the Patriot League in blocks this season at 1.6 per contest. 
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