Lafayette blows by Navy in Patriot League opener
EASTON, Pa. - Lafayette's defense stifled Navy all afternoon, holding the Midshipmen to 47 points in a 64-47 win on Saturday afternoon at Kirby Sports Center. Seth Hinrichs scored 22 points to lead the Leopards offensively, as the team opened Patriot League play with a victory.
The 47 points was a season-low for a Lafayette opponent, as Lafayette used a 22-3 second-half run to put the game out of reach. Hinrichs led three Leopards in double figures, as Tony Johnson and Joey Ptasinski each netted 14. Hinrichs also collected a game-high nine rebounds to match his career high.
Navy (6-11, 0-1 Patriot) jumped out to a 14-8 lead behind eight points from Brandon Venturini (23 points) and a chilly shooting start by Lafayette on the offensive end. A 9-2 spurt capped by a short Hinrichs jumper gave Lafayette its first lead (17-16) at the six-minute mark, a possession after Hinrichs drilled Lafayette's first three following an 0-for-6 start from beyond.
The Leopards began to find their rhythm offensively over the final six minutes and used a 17-4 run to end the half. The highlight was Johnson's runner in transition and resulting three-point play, which sent Lafayette into the break with a 25-18 advantage.
Lafayette (8-10, 1-0 Patriot) extended its lead to 12 points in the opening minutes of the second half and ended the run at 22-6 after a pair of Trist free throws to lead 32-30. Navy responded, however, and rattled off 10 straight, including a pair of Venturini threes, before Levi Giese drilled a three to put Lafayette back ahead by five. A Johnson jumper and Hinrichs three followed, forcing Navy to call timeout at 13:29 as the Mids faced a 40-30 deficit.
A layup by Tilman Dunbar (9 points) briefly stopped the bleeding, but Lafayette reeled off the next seven points to take a 15-point lead midway through the half. Ptasinski's three-pointer punctuated the stretch prior to Dunbar adding one at the stripe for Navy. Holding a 47-33 margin, Lafayette again scored seven straight to go up 54-33 and take its largest lead of the day with 7:33 left. Dunbar's three were Navy's only points over an 8:11 span, in which the Leopards scored 22-of-25 points. Lafayette cruised from that point and closed out the 64-47 victory.
Next up for the Leopards is a trip to West Point, N.Y. on Jan. 12 for a meeting with Army. Opening tip from Christl Arena is set for 7 p.m.
The Leopards have won three straight games for the first time this season, and have now won three consecutive against the Mids.
Lafayette improved to 7-2 at Kirby Sports Center and has won six straight at home. Lafayette's six-game home winning streak is the first since the 2009-10 season, when the Leopards won seven in a row and finished 13-3 at Kirby Sports Center.
Johnson's six assists against Navy moved him into 11th place on the all-time list (301 career).
Hinrichs has eight straight double-digit point games and has at least 10 points in 11 of Lafayette's last 12 games. Today was Hinrichs' fifth 20-point game of the season.
Johnson moved past Andrew Brown for 13th in the Lafayette record book with 131 career steals after securing three against Navy. He leads the Patriot League with 36 thefts this season
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