WEST POINT, N.Y. –
The Lafayette men's basketball team trimmed a 17-point halftime deficit to five on Saturday afternoon in West Point, New York, but ultimately ran out of time in a 77-69 defeat to Army West Point in Patriot League action.
Trailing by a 42-25 score at the break, the Leopards came out of the locker room strong, cutting it to 10 over the first four minutes at 44-34. The margin stayed between 10 and 12 points for the majority of the second half before a late surge had it at 71-66 with 58 seconds to play. Army hit its foul shots down the stretch, though, and Lafayette's momentum ended there, dropping it to 3-10 on the year and 0-2 in Patriot League play.
Junior Lukas Jarrett
led the Leopards on the offensive end with 14 points, going 6-of-10 from the field and 2-for-3 from three-point range. Sophomore Justin Jaworski
added 13 points, while classmate E.J. Stephens
and junior Myles Cherry
each added 10 points apiece.
Army's edge on the boards proved to be a deciding factor in the contest, winning the rebounding battle by a 39-29 margin. The Black Knights were efficient on the offensive end, connecting on 30-of-57 from the field (52.6%), while Lafayette hit on 30-of-69 from the floor (43.5%), while going without a free-throw attempt in the contest.
The game started evenly from both sides with a pair of post buckets from Cherry the early offense in an 11-11 tie after six minutes. Then, Army got hot from beyond the arc with a trio of triples leading to a 30-19 advantage with 7:33 left in the opening stanza.
The Army lead grew as high as 15 over the next four minutes, but a jumper to beat the shot clock from Jaworski, followed by a steal and a strong take down the left side of the lane from senior co-captain Paulius Zalys
made it 36-25 into the final media timeout of the half. The final two minutes were controlled by the Black Knights, however, as six straight on layups from Cayne Edwards and Jacob Kessler took the game to the break with the deficit at 17, 42-25.
Lafayette came out of the locker room with energy as freshman Isaac Suffren's
diving steal on the defensive end and layup through contact on the other forced an Army timeout at 15:58 with the lead trimmed to 10, 44-34. The home side responded over the next four minutes, though, answering each bucket with a two or three of their own to lead by a 57-44 score.
The teams traded buckets into the latter stages before Jarrett's run-out dunk followed a Jaworski three with 2:50 left to cut it to seven, 69-62. Suffren's steal and layup brought Lafayette within five with just under a minute to play, but that was where the comeback bid ended, as Army hit its foul shots down the stretch in a 77-69 final.
Next up for the Maroon and White is a return home for the Patriot League home opener on Wednesday evening. The Leopards welcome Loyola to Kirby Sports Center
for a 7 p.m. tip.