Princeton had held off a fierce Lafayette charge and led 59-54 with just over five minutes remaining in regulation, when Michael Gruner put back his own miss to make it a three-point game. Kevin Steuerer turned it back over to the Leopards, but Matt Betley couldn’t score in close. Ted Demter then came up with a steal at Steuerer’s expense and drove in for a dunk to make it 59-58 with 4:02 remaining. Lincoln Gunn then gave it back to Lafayette on an offensive foul before Nick Lake stole it back for Princeton, only to have Bilal Abdullah come up with a theft of his own. Betley grabbed the rebound of Andrew Brown’s miss, and Abdullah put the Leopards in front with a pair of free throws with 2:32 remaining. After the two teams traded fruitless possessions, Marcus Schroeder’s layup put the Tigers back in front, only to see Betley answer with a jumper at the other end with 42 ticks left. Detmer then came up with another steal and Schroeder had to foul Gruner, who hit both free throws to put the visitors up three with 24 seconds to play. Kyle Koncz hit a tying three-pointer in the final seconds to force overtime, but Princeton had squandered an 18-point lead and Lafayette had the momentum.
Key sign it was over
Two Brown free throws appeared to be the knockout punch, giving Lafayette a 74-68 lead with 22 seconds to go in the extra session, but Detmer fouled Gunn on a three-point attempt, and the sophomore converted all three free throws to make it a one-possession game with 11 seconds remaining. Gruner was fouled after the inbounds, but the sophomore was perfect on his two attempts from the stripe with six seconds remaining, salting away the game with the Leopards then up by five.
Abdullah bounced back from a rough first half that saw him draw a technical foul and spend much of the half on the bench. He scored 11 of his 14 points after halftime, including his 1,000th point at the 15:01 mark of the second half and was a perfect 4-for-4 from outside the arc.
Princeton made good use of the free throw line in the first half, going 11 of 12 from the stripe, but the Tigers couldn’t continue that trend after halftime, attempting just eight free throws in the final 25 minutes. Meanwhile, Lafayette would go to the line 21 times in that span to end up with a 32-20 edge in free throw attempts and outscore Princeton 25-16 at the line.
- Koncz led Princeton with 15 points, but shot just 2 of 8 from three, while Zach Finley finished with 12 points and eight rebounds before fouling out in overtime.
- Detmer tied for high-scoring honors with 15 points off the Lafayette bench, while Brown tallied 11, despite a very poor 2-for-12 shooting performance.
- The Tigers played their best half of the season in the first half, leading 43-26 at intermission.
- Princeton committed 23 turnovers, with 20 of those coming in the final 31 minutes — during which time Lafayette committed just eight, which played a key role in the Leopards’ comeback.
- Lafayette grabbed a healthy 38.7 percent of the rebounds at its own offensive end, while Princeton came in a 34.7 percent on the offensive boards, as the visitors enjoyed a 19-10 advantage in second-chance points.
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