Lafayette beats Army, 77-68

The Lafayette Leopards beat the Army Black Knights, 77-68, at Kirby Sports Center in Easton, Pa. Wednesday night. It was a Patriot League battle pitting Army, the best defensive team, against Lafayette the best offense team with its high scoring offense.

In the early going Army's athletic pressure defense took the Leopards out of their usual offensive rhythm. Lafayette didn't score its first field goal until over six minutes had been played. However due to Army's offensive struggles caused by ten first half turnovers Lafayette had an early 5-0 lead scoring all their points at the free throw line.

Army Coach Zach Spiker, in an effort to pressure the ball, employed a favorite defense of his old boss John Beilein. The 1-3-1 zone defense forced Lafayette into a few turnovers and ignited a 10-0 Black Knight run and give the Black Knights its only lead of the night. After Lafayette scored their first field goal from the field they started to feed their 6-8 star forward Jared Mintz the ball. Mintz scored the next five points as the Leopards took control with a 14-3 scoring outburst. Lafayette started finding holes in the 1-3-1 by feeding its sharp shooting guard Jim Mower in the baseline corner. Mower buried three three point baskets the rest of the half. Army's Julian Simmons scored 7 points in the last five minutes to keep Army within striking distance as Lafayette went into half time up 33-26.

Lafayette's two talented forwards helped the Leopards outscore Army 11-5 at the start of the second half to extend to a 13-point lead. Army's Cleveland Richard, who lead Army with 20 points, picked up the scoring and helped the Black Knights battle back to cut Lafayette's lead to five points with seven minutes left. Lafayette responded once again and picked it up on the offensive end. Jim Mower hit his fifth three-point basket of the night at the five minute mark to push the Leopards lead back to 11 points. Army was never able to mount a challenge the rest of the way as Lafayette hit their field throws down the stretch.

Army's lack of an inside game to match the Leopards was the difference in the game. Lafayette was able to feed its 6-8 forward tandem of Mintz and Willen who combined to hit 17 of 18 free throws. For the game Lafayette nailed 26 of 31 free throws (83.9%) while Army went just 5 of 8 at the line (55.6%). Jared Mintz led the Patriot League leading Leopards (14-7, 4-1 in Patriot League ) with 20 points while playing with twelve stitches over his eye after being injured in his last game. Army (12-8, 2-4 in Patriot League) travels to Bucknell to face the Bison Saturday at 7 pm. Top Stories