Lafayette Leopards

Lehigh forward Tim Kempton, AP Photo

Patriot League Preview: Can anyone catch Lehigh?

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Beginning in October and running up through November 13th, the first day of the regular season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2015-2016 college hoops preview package.

Today, we are previewing the Patriot League.

The Patriot League is a conference with many familiar faces in 2015-16, which should make for a competitive race, one that could involve a handful of teams.

Lehigh should be pegged as the preseason favorite. The Mountain Hawks bring back four starters, none bigger than Tim Kempton, the 6-foot-10 junior who took home Patriot League Player of the Year honors last season. Kempton is joined by Kahron Ross, a playmaking point guard who led the league in assists, and Austin Price, the team’s second leading scorer from a season ago. Justin Goldsborough adds some support on the frontline, but the Lehigh back court took a hit this fall with Brandon Alston tore his ACL.

After seven seasons and a pair of NCAA tournament appearances, Dave Paulsen left Bucknell for George Mason. Nathan Davis, a former Bucknell assistant, steps into a good situation with four starters back from a team that won the regular season title in 2014-15. Chris Hass is one of the more gifted scorers in the league and anchors the perimeter, which includes Ryan Frazier and Stephen Brown. Nana Foulland, a 6-foot-9 forward who started every game last season, could be in for a monster sophomore campaign.

Boston University and Army both have their entire starting fives back from a season ago. The Black Knights didn’t have the season in envisioned, but the duo of Kyle Wilson, who has led the league in scoring at 17.5 points per game, and forward Tanner Plomb, who scored in double figures in all but three league games, can skyrocket them up the Patriot League standings. The Terriers have two double-digit scorers of their own in Cedric Hankerson and Eric Fanning. BU’s supporting cast should be more comfortable in their roles this season. Hankerson, who is recovering from an ACL tear, could be back in December, Joe Jones told ESPN.

Jesse Reed will attempt to lead American to another Patriot League Tournament title game (winning in 2014, losing in 2015), but he’ll have to do so without Pee-Wee Gardner. The Eagles could benefit from transfers Paris Maragkos and Leon Tolksdorf. Lafayette, the reigning champion, will likely take a step back, but guards Nick Lindner and Bryce Scott could keep things interesting in league play.

MORE: 2015-16 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule


  • Favorite: “I would say Lehigh. Anytime you bring back the player of the year, it’ll obviously give you an advantage. Having him (Tim Kempton) along with the rookie of the year, Kahron Ross, I think those two are one of the best tandems in the league.”
  • Sleeper: “Colgate. With some of the guys they had sitting out, I’d probably say them. They’re going to be so different compared to what they had last season. With so many new faces those guys will come in and provide meaningful stuff for them right away.”
  • Star to watch: “To me, it’ll be Kyle Wilson. In our league, he’s one of the most talented scorers. He can score in so many different ways.”


The reigning Patriot League Player of the Year returns following a sophomore campaign averaging 15.3 points and a league-high 8.7 boards per game. Not many can handle the 6-foot-10 big man on the block. Adding to the mismatch, Kempton can also do damage with his mid-range game. Kempton and point guard Kahron Ross make for a lethal one-two punch in the Patriot League.


  • Chris Hass, Bucknell: Ten times Hass went for 20 or more. Six happened in league play. Two more happened in back-to-back games: 21 against Michigan and 32 vs. Villanova.
  • Nick Lindner, Lafayette: The Patriot League Tournament MVP averaged 12.5 points, 5.2 assists per game.
  • Jesse Reed, American: The Eagles may be relying on new pieces this season, but they will expect the same offensive production from Reed, who averaged double figures in each of the last two seasons. The 6-foot-5 guard was a marathon man for American in 2014-15, never coming off the floor in 16 games.
  • Kyle Wilson, Army: The 6-foot-4 senior led the league in scoring the past two seasons.



1. Lehigh
2. Bucknell
3. Boston University
4. Army
5. American
6. Lafayette
7. Colgate
8. Holy Cross
9. Loyola (Md.)
10. Navy

No. 1 Villanova blows out No. 16 Lafayette in tournament opener

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After winning the Big East regular season and tournament titles, No. 1 Villanova entered this week with hopes of building on their success with a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Jay Wright’s team got things going Thursday night, and the top seed in the East Region had little trouble with No. 16 Lafayette in Pittsburgh.

Dylan Ennis led six Wildcats in double figures with 16 points as the Wildcats won by the final score of 93-52. As a team Villanova shot better than 63 percent from the field and 11-for-22 from beyond the arc, and they never allowed the Patriot League champions to develop the confidence needed to hang around.

Defensively Villanova limited Lafayette, a good three-point shooting team, to 4-for-18 from beyond the arc. The Leopards needed a spectacular night from deep to have any chance of hanging around, and Villanova made sure that didn’t occur.

Dan Trist led the way for the Leopards, who won their conference tournament despite being the four-seed, with 18 points and six rebounds. The two schools share a connection to Fran O’Hanlon, as the Lafayette head coach is also a Villanova alum and a member of that school’s athletic hall of fame.

Next up for Villanova is a much tougher test in either No. 8 NC State or No. 9 LSU. Both teams have multiple interior options, which could be an issue for the Wildcats given their lack of depth in the post. But balance on both ends of the floor have led to Villanova winning 33 games this season, and that will be the key for them moving forward.

Late Night Snacks: Miami, Texas among Wednesday’s winners

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Dennis Mavin banked in a shot from half court as time expired to give the Panthers a three-point win in the first round of the Conference USA tournament. Mavin’s shot came seconds after UTSA’s Keon Lewis’ game-tying three with 2.7 seconds remaining, and FIU will take on UTEP Thursday afternoon as a result. Will there be a better finish in any conference tournament this week? It’ll take a lot to exceed what happened in Birmingham.


1. Lafayette 65, American 63

Lafayette became the 12th team to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament as they beat the Eagles in the Patriot League final. Sophomore guard Nick Lindner scored 25 points and dished out four assists for the winners, earning tournament MVP honors as he scored 23 points in each of the Leopards’ first two tournament wins. Marko Vasic led the way for American with 15 points.

2. Texas 65, Texas Tech 53

The Longhorns avoided what would have been a really bad loss, as they beat the Red Raiders in the first round of the Big 12 tournament. Cameron Ridley led the way with 14 points, eight rebounds and two blocks, and as a team Texas assisted on 17 of its 25 made field goals. Next up for the Longhorns is two-seed Iowa State, and a win there would further solidify their NCAA tournament resume.

3. Miami 59, Virginia Tech 49

The Hurricanes were also in a game they couldn’t afford to lose, and they beat the Hokies in a game that was closer than the final margin would lead one to believe. Sheldon McClellan scored 16 points and Davon Reed added ten for the Hurricanes, who face three-seed Notre Dame Thursday night. Miami shot 14-for-18 from the foul line and outscored Virginia Tech by ten from the line, and that was key in a game in which both teams had issues establishing consistent flow offensively.


1. NC State’s Anthony “Cat” Barber

Barber was outstanding in the Wolfpack’s win over Pittsburgh, as he finished with 34 points (9-for-13 FG, 12-for-12 FT) and five assists.

2. North Carolina Central’s Jordan Parks

Parks led the Eagles to a 91-43 win over Coppin State with 29 points (13-for-16 FG) and ten rebounds.

3. UNLV’s Christian Wood

Wood scored 28 points (9-for-13 FG, 10-for-12 FT), seven rebounds and three blocks in the Runnin’ Rebels’ 67-46 win over Nevada.

4. California’s David Kravish

Career-high 25 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in an 84-59 win over Washington State.


1. North Texas’ Jordan Williams

Williams scored eight points but five of those came from the foul line, as he shot 1-for-11 from the field in an 82-54 loss to Rice.

2. Marshall’s Ryan Taylor

Taylor scored eight points on 4-for-20 shooting in the Thundering Herd’s 59-45 loss to Western Kentucky.

3. Kansas State’s Marcus Foster

Foster failed to score in the Wildcats’ two-point loss to TCU, shooting 0-for-5 from the field.

4. Seton Hall’s Sterling Gibbs

Gibbs shot 1-for-8 from the field, scoring six points in the Pirates’ 78-56 loss to Marquette.


  • ACC second round: No. 19 North Carolina advanced to the quarterfinals with an 81-63 win over Boston College with Marcus Paige (nine assists, six rebounds) and Brice Johnson (nine rebounds) scoring 17 points apiece. In addition to the Tar Heels and Hurricanes, Florida State and NC State advanced to the quarterfinals. Thursday’s quarterfinal matchups: Florida State vs. Virginia, North Carolina vs. Louisville, NC State vs. Duke and Miami vs. Notre Dame.
  • Atlantic 10 first round: Fordham and Duquesne were the two winners, with the Rams beating George Mason for the fourth time in the last two seasons and the Dukes beating Saint Louis, 61-55. Thursday’s second round: La Salle vs. UMass, Fordham vs. VCU, Saint Joseph’s vs. St. Bonaventure and Duquesne vs. George Washington.
  • Big 12 first round: Joining Texas as winners in Kansas City was TCU, which beat Kansas State 67-65 and put an end to the Wildcats’ disappointing season. Thursday’s quarterfinals: West Virginia vs. Baylor, TCU vs. Kansas, Texas vs. Iowa State and Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma.
  • Big East first round: Marquette rolled to a 78-56 win over Seton Hall, and in the nightcap Creighton played improved defense in the second half to take care of DePaul, 76-63. Thursday’s quarterfinals: Marquette vs. Villanova, St. John’s vs. Providence, Xavier vs. Butler and Creighton vs. Georgetown.
  • Big Ten first round: D.J. Newbill scored 26 points to lead Penn State to a 68-65 win over Nebraska. Minnesota won the second game of the day, beating Rutgers 80-68. Thursday’s second round: Michigan vs. Illinois, Penn State vs. Iowa, Northwestern vs. Indiana and Minnesota vs. Ohio State.
  • Conference USA first round: Joining FIU in the winner’s circle Wednesday were Middle Tennessee (63-60 over Charlotte), Western Kentucky (59-45 over Marshall) and Rice (82-54 over North Texas). Thursday’s quarterfinals: FIU vs. UTEP, Middle Tennessee vs. Old Dominion, Western Kentucky vs. UAB and Rice vs. Louisiana Tech.
  • MEAC quarterfinals: The top two seeds in the MEAC advanced, with North Carolina Central blowing out Coppin State and two-seed Norfolk State beating South Carolina State 68-54. Thursday’s quarterfinals: Delaware State vs. Howard and Hampton vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore.
  • MAC second round: The lower-seeded team won both games in Cleveland, with eight-seed Eastern Michigan beating five-seed Bowling Green 73-67 and seven-seed Akron beating six-seed Western Michigan 58-45. Thursday’s quarterfinals: Eastern Michigan vs. Toledo and Akron vs. Kent State.
  • Mountain West first round: In addition to UNLV’s comfortable win over Nevada, Air Force beat New Mexico 68-61. Thursday’s quarterfinals: Air Force vs. Boise State, Utah State vs. Wyoming, UNLV vs. San Diego State and Fresno State vs. Colorado State.
  • Pac-12 first round: USC became the first 12-seed to win a game at the Pac-12 tournament, closing their 67-64 win over Arizona State with a 21-4 run. Joining the Trojans as winners were California (over Washington State),  Colorado (over Oregon State) and Stanford. The Cardinal beat Washington 71-69 on a Chasson Randle three with 2.4 seocnds remaining, and Marcus Allen and Reid Travis made some big plays to keep the Cardinal afloat. Thursday’s quarterfinals: California vs. Arizona, USC vs. UCLA, Colorado vs. Oregon and Stanford vs. Utah.
  • SEC first round: Play began in Nashville with two games, as Auburn beat Mississippi State 74-68 and South Carolina defeated Missouri 63-54. Thursday’s second round: Alabama vs. Florida, Auburn vs. Texas A&M, Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt and South Carolina vs. Ole Miss.
  • Southland first round: McNeese State and New Orleans advanced Wednesday, with the Cowboys beating Southeast Louisiana 62-60 and the Privateers taking care of Nicholls State 82-73. Thursday’s quarterfinals: McNeese State vs. Northwestern State and New Orleans vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
  • SWAC quarterfinals: The top two seeds both surpassed the 90-point mark in wins Wednesday, as top seed Texas Southern beat Alcorn State 95-74 and two-seed Alabama State (which is ineligible for the NCAA tournament) scored 93 in a 12-point win over Mississippi Valley State. Thursday’s quarterfinals: Jackson State vs. Prairie View A&M and Alabama A&M vs. Southern (which is also ineligible for the NCAA tournament).

Introducing Cinderella: Meet the Lafayette Leopards

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Conference: Patriot League

Coach: Fran O’Hanlon

Record: 20-12 (9-9)

Ratings and rankings:

Kenpom: 197
RPI (per NCAA): 126
AP/USA Today: Not ranked

Seeding: Look for the Leopards to land on the 16-line come Selection Sunday.

Names you need to know: Dan Trist (17.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg), Seth Hinrichs (13.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.5 apg), Nick Lindner (12.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 5.4 apg), Joey Ptasinski (9.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg)

Stats you need to know: The Leopards will be one of the better offensive teams in the field, as they entered Wednesday averaging 74.5 points per game and shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 41.0 percent from beyond the arc. The Leopards are also one of the best foul shooting teams in the country, as they’re making 76.5 percent of those attempts. The defensive end is where the concerns lie however, as they ranked in the bottom half of the Patriot League in many of the major statistical categories.

Tendencies: Lafayette scores more than 32 percent of its points by way of the three-point shot, and despite their performance from the foul line only 17.6 percent of the Leopards’ points have been scored from the charity stripe. They take care of the basketball (1.47 assist-to-turnover ratio as a team; seventh nationally), and nearly 60 percent of their field goals have been assisted. Defensively the Leopards have looked to use both man and zone looks, but as noted above that end of the floor is where they’ve had trouble.

Big wins, bad losses: Lafayette opened the season with a 77-50 win over Robert Morris, which will represent the Northeast Conference in the NCAA tournament, and they also had a non-conference win over Princeton. In conference play the Leopards beat regular season champ Bucknell twice, the second of which coming in the Patriot League semis, and they also picked up a win over Colgate. As for dubious losses, the Leopards did go 9-9 in league play and losses include Navy, Holy Cross and Boston University.

How’d they get here?: Lafayette has won four straight games since losing to Colgate February 25, with the final three wins coming in the Patriot League tournament. The biggest win came against Bucknell, as Nick Lindner scored 23 points and Dan Trist added 21. Lindner scored 25 and dished out four assists in the title game victory over American, at one point going shot for shot with American’s Darius “Pee Wee” Gardner during the second half. Lindner’s been outstanding of late for Lafayette, as he’s scored 23 points or more in each of the last three games.

Outlook: Lafayette is unlikely to knock off a one-seed (no 16 ever has), but getting to the tournament is quite the achievement for seniors Hinrichs, Trist and Joey Ptasinski (Lindner’s a sophomore). If they wind up making the trek to Dayton this is a team that can win, especially given their efficiency on the offensive end.

How do I know you?: Lafayette last reached the NCAA tournament in 2000, when they fell to Temple in the first round.  That was the second of two straight NCAA appearances the Leopards made under O’Hanlon, who played his college basketball at Villanova (1967-70). Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon attended Lafayette during the 1970s, and coaches such as Dr. Tom Davis, Butch van Breda Kolff and Gary Williams all spent time working at Lafayette during their respective coaching careers.

Patriot League Tournament Preview and Postseason Awards

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Despite losing both games to Colgate, Bucknell still managed to claim the Patriot League regular season title by one game over the Raiders. That should tell you how competitive this week’s tournament should be. Lehigh routed Bucknell one week ago and Lafayette, another contender, has notched wins over each of the top three teams in the league. Leading the list of dark horses were two of the preseason favorites, American and Holy Cross.

READ MORE: NBC Sports’ latest Bracketology | The updated top 25

The Bracket


When: March 3, 5, 8, 11

Where: Campus sites (higher seed)

Final: March 11, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)

READ MORE:’s 2015 Conference Tournament Previews

Favorite: Bucknell

The Bison won the regular season title league for the fourth time in six years. Bucknell made noise early in the season, giving Villanova, now considered a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, a scare. But the Bison began league play 2-2 before rallying off win streaks of five and six games to win the Patriot League outright. It’s a young roster, but the Bison will hold home court and will have the guidance of Dave Paulsen, looking to take his third team to the NCAA tournament.

And if they lose?: Colgate

We’ve seen how important guard play is in March. The Raiders have a talented perimeter attack with senior scoring guard Damon Sherman-Newsome, Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Luke Roh and junior Austin Tillotson. Colgate has also shown it can win on the road with victories at Lehigh, Lafayette and Bucknell.


  • Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks went 1-2 down the stretch, but that win was a 19-point win over league favorite Bucknell and those two losses — to fourth-place Lafayette and second-place Colgate — were by a total of eight points. A young roster got battle-tested in the last week of the season and they could use that, and the play of big man Tim Kempton, to make  a run this March.
  • American: Let’s not count out the defending champion. The Eagles still have Jesse Reed and Pee Wee Gardner. They also defeated three of the top four teams at least once this season.

Player of the Year: Dan Trist, Lafayette

The senior forward was conference’s top scorer at 17.7 points per game while grabbing 6.7 boards a night, good for fourth in the Patriot League. He went for 20 or more in both games against first-place Bucknell, including 29 points and 11 boards in a 84-74 win on Feb. 4. He also had strong outings against Colgate and Lehigh, the other two teams ahead of the Leopards in the league standings.

Coach of the Year: Dave Paulsen, Bucknell

The Bison were slotted to finish in the middle of the pack in the Patriot League preseason poll. Paulen, in his seventh season at Bucknell, took a young roster — seven freshmen and sophomores compared to two seniors who see significant minutes — and led them to the top spot in the standings, the fourth time the Bison have won the regular season title during his tenure.

All-Patriot League Team:

  • Trist
  • Tim Kempton, Lehigh: The sophomore big man was the league’s top rebounder (8.6) while averaging 15.1 points per game. He recorded six of his 13 double-doubles during Patriot League play.
  • Damon Sherman-Newsome, Colgate: The 6-foot-5 senior guard led the Raiders to a second-place finish, pacing the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game.
  • Cedric Hankerson, Boston University: The Terriers experienced a lot of turnover from last year. Hankerson embraced a larger role, increasing his scoring average by nearly 10 full points at 15.9 points per game. He also averaged 4.6 boards and 2.6 assists per game.
  • Chris Hass, Bucknell: The junior scoring guard scored 15.4 points per game, fifth in the Patriot League.

CBT PREDICTION: Bucknell over Lehigh

2014-2015 Season Preview: American is the favorite in a competitive Patriot League

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Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

Last season, the Patriot League had five teams recorded 10 or more conference wins. In the end it game down to a pair of 20-win teams in the Patriot League Tournament championship game, as preseason favorite, Boston University, hosted the league’s surprise team, American. The Eagles ended up punching their ticket to the school’s first NCAA tournament since 2009.

It was a great first season for American head coach Mike Brennan, taking a team picked ninth in the league’s preseason poll to the Big Dance, and for Year 2 he’ll have the bulk of his roster back, including Jesse Reed, Darius ‘Pee Wee’ Gardner and John Schoof. American’s only lost one key piece, but it is a huge loss as Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Tony Wroblicky graduated. The Eagles will look to several newcomers to the program to help fill the void in the Eagles’ defense.

Holy Cross, like American, exceeded expectations, finishing third and earning a bid in the Tournament. The Crusaders also lose a top player in forward Dave Dudzinski, but the Crusaders do bring back seven players from last season’s rotation, including Malcolm Miller and Anthony Thompson. Lafayette has the tools to make a jump back up the conference standings with arguably the league’s top player in Seth Hinrichs, as well as Nick Lindner, a 2013-2014 All-Rookie team selection.

Bucknell won six of its final seven games last season, and while the Bison lose Patriot League Player of the Year Cameron Ayers, they do have Chris Hass, an all-league caliber player. The only loss Bucknell suffered in those final seven games was to Army, which finished fifth in the conference standings last season. Kyle Wilson and his league-leading 18.4 points per game is back for the Black Knights.

Last season’s preseason favorite, BU, graduated D.J. Irving and Dom Morris while losing Mo Watson to transfer. The Terriers do have John Papale and adds transfers Blaise Mbargorba (SMU) and Eric Fanning (Wagner).


The 6-foot-8 forward was averaging 20.2 points and 5.7 boards through the first nine games of the 2013-2014 season before a knee injury sidelined him for the next 10. Upon his return he recorded a pair of double-doubles en route to 16.3 points and 6.1 boards per game, earning third team all-Patriot League honors. The versatile forward is one of three returning starters for a conference contender.


  • Jesse Reed, American: The leading scorer and top returning rebounder for the reigning Patriot League champion.
  • Kyle Wilson, Army: The 6-foot-4 junior guard was a unanimous all-Patriot League first team selection last season, averaging a conference-leading 18.4 points per game.
  • Darius ‘Pee Wee Gardner, American: The 5-foot-9 floor general averaged 11.3 points and 4.2 assists per game for the Eagles; earned second-team all-league honors.
  • John Papale, Boston University: With the departure of Watson, Irving and Morris, the 6-foot-3 junior guard will be asked to carry a heavier load for the Terriers.



1. American
2. Holy Cross
3. Lafayette
4. Army
5. Boston University
6. Bucknell
7. Colgate
8. Lehigh
9. Loyola (MD)
10. Navy