Photos by Austin Drucker ’17 and courtesy of Athletic Communications, Graphic by Tom Parsons ‘15
It has now been 44 days since the last Lafayette men’s basketball win. Want the hours? 1,056. And the minutes? 63,630.
Not quite exactly the numbers you wish to see midway through Patriot League play. Lafayette (4-16, 0-9 PL) is in the midst of an 11-game losing streak, its most recent loss at the hands of Colgate in the Kirby Sports Center on Monday.
But now, with nine league games still remaining and forward Seth Hinrichs ‘15 back from a knee injury, there is ample time to halt the losing and gain momentum heading into the looming conference tournament in March.
“We need to get that first league win,” Head Coach Fran O’Hanlon put it simply. “We have been in a lot of them. We have been very competitive. We just haven’t won the last couple minutes of these games.”
O’Hanlon isn’t off base. Lafayette has lost three of its nine Patriot League contests by less than five points. Hinrichs and his 18.7 points per game average were missing from eight of those nine league losses and ten of the 11 straight losses.
In his return Monday night to a standing ovation, Hinrichs shot 2-10 from the field and 1-3 from 3-point range for five points while putting forth 23 minutes. He practiced for one half hour on Sunday before playing Monday.
“Each passing game, he will hopefully get better,” O’Hanlon said. “He only practiced one day and needs to get back into game shape. This will be a good week for him.”
O’Hanlon confirmed there were no set backs for Hinrichs, who suffered a left knee injury in the December 17 victory against Immaculata.
“It’s great to have Seth back out there again,” guard Joey Ptasinski ‘15 said following the loss on Monday. “It helps everybody get shots.”
“We just have to get rebounds and defend,” O’Hanlon added.
Rebounding and defense are plaguing Lafayette this season. The Leopards are allowing 77.1 points per game this season and have four games in which it has allowed 90 points or more. Opponents have outrebounded Lafayette by an average of 4.6 per game.
Monday night was the same story. Lafayette was outscored 75-68 and outrebounded 40-30. Ptasinski scored 21 points and was followed by 12 from guard Bryce Scott ‘16, 11 from guard Nick Linder ‘17 and ten from forward Monty Boykins ‘17.
Boykins has slowly come along as he has continuously been in recovery from an ACL tear last December.
“Monty is getting more comfortable in Divison I and hopefully he can build on that,” O’Hanlon said.
With the addition of Boston University and Loyola Maryland to the Patriot League, the conference tournament has been altered. Now, each team is in the playoffs. The No. 10 seed will play the No. 7 seed and the No. 9 seed will play the No. 8 seed in playoff games. The tournament will then be between eight teams and starts with the No. 8 seed playing the No. 1 overall seed and so forth.
Lafayette can substantially improve its ranking in the league with a strong finish down the home stretch of its regular season. That begins tomorrow at home against Navy.
“We have to handle their pressure,” O’Hanlon said. “They are a very good rebounding team so we need to somewhat rebound with them.”
Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. in the Kirby Sports Center. The Leopards suffered a 79-71 loss the last time these two teams met on January 5 in Annapolis.