The Lafayette College men’s basketball team used to beat Lehigh University consistently, then the matchups became more of a rivalry, but now the games are a walk-over, again.
This time, in Lehigh’s favor. Lehigh has won the last seven games against Lafayette, and ESPN’s matchup indicator gives the Engineers a 69.9 percent chance of winning at Kirby Fieldhouse in Easton on Wednesday night. The days of owning the home floor under coaches such as Roy Chipman and Butch van Breda Kolff are long gone.
Lafayette is doing worse against the Naval Academy, with eight straight losses.
Lafayette, now 5-14 and 2-6 in the Patriot League, faces a tough task in any league game, particularly, against the Engineers. Lehigh (13-6, 6-2) is tied for first in the conference, with Bucknell University and Army West Point. The Engineers took the first game in Bethlehem, 86-83.
Lehigh Head Coach Bret Reed’s team is coming off a 94-78 win at Stabler Arena on Saturday over Boston University. Lehigh scored 57 points in the first half, which is more than Lafayette scored all day in a recent 57-47 road loss to Colgate University. The Leopards lost at home Saturday to Army, 69-63, on a day when the Black Knights did not play their best.
The story for Lafayette remains the same: sophomore guards Alex Petrie (14.2 points per game) and Justin Jaworski (14.1) can make three-pointers, and sometimes, an upperclassmen throws in points. Senior Paulius Zalys is scoring 10.3 points per game. Freshman Sean Good has been starting at center.
There are as always lots of substitutions and not a lot of inside play.
Head Coach Fran O’Hanlon’s Leopards have just four Division 1 wins, and with 10 regular-season games left, Lafayette needs to go 6-4 to reach the 10-win mark for the regular season. One of the five wins was against a Division 3 school, Rosemont.
Lafayette is also guaranteed one game in the Patriot League tournament.
Patriot League standings:
First place: Tied at 6-2, Lehigh, Bucknell, Army.
Fourth: Tied at 4:4, Colgate, American University, Loyola (Maryland)
Eighth: Tied at 3-5, College of the Holy Cross, Navy
Tied for 10th and last: Boston University, Lafayette.