February 29, 2012

Crusaders Fall To Lafayette 84-76

WORCESTER, Mass. – Lafayette guard Rob Delaney scored 25 points and hit all five of his shots from three-point range, to lead the Leopards to an 84-76 victory over the Holy Cross men's basketball team at the Hart Center in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Tournament. The Crusaders were led by junior guard R.J. Evans (Salem, Conn.) with 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Holy Cross finishes the year at 15-14 overall, while Lafayette improves to 13-17 on the season and moves on to play Bucknell in the Patriot League semifinals. 

The Leopards shot 58.5 percent from the field on the night (24 of 41) and 68.4 percent from three-point range (13 of 19). The Crusaders connected on 48.3 percent of their field goal attempts (28 of 58) and 55.6 percent of their three-pointers (five of nine), in addition to collecting 14 steals and forcing Lafayette to commit 19 turnovers.

To open the game, the Leopards hit five of their first seven shots while jumping out to a quick 12-2 lead. Holy Cross came back to trim the margin to four points (17-13) at the 11:41-mark, but a few minutes later Lafayette used a 13-4 run to increase its lead to 14 points (33-19). The Leopards were still up by 14 (39-25) with 4:24 left before the break, when the Crusaders used a 13-2 spurt to make a three-point game (41-38). Lafayette would eventually take a 43-38 advantage into the locker room. 

The score stayed close early in the second half, and Holy Cross eventually tied the game at 56-56 on a layup by Evans with 11:25 left to play. The Leopards scored the next five points to pull back in front, but were clinging to a one-point lead (61-60) with nine minutes remaining. The Crusaders then went cold from the field, and Lafayette used an 11-2 run to go back in front by 10 points (72-62). Holy Cross did manage to trim the margin back down to three points (76-73) with 41 seconds to go, but the Leopards went on to hit all eight of their free throws in the final minute and hold on for the win.

Senior guard Devin Brown (Baltimore, Md.) totaled 17 points, five steals and two assists, while sophomore forward Dave Dudzinski (Elburn, Ill.) added 16 points, six rebounds and two blocks.