EASTON, Pa. – The University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team fell behind early and could never get back into it at Lafayette on Sunday, falling to the Leopards 92-86 at the Kirby Sports Center.
Lafayette (2-4) -- which lost to Princeton by 52 on Wednesday night -- appeared motivated to atone for that performance early on. The Leopards scored six of the game’s first seven points and blew out to a double-digit lead before the game was seven minutes old, at 22-9.
Led by Matt Howard (10 first-half points), Penn (4-2) got back to within five, at 24-19, but Lafayette answered with eight of the next 10 points to push its lead back up to double digits at 32-21. With Bryce Scott (12 first-half points) and Nick Lindner (10) leading the way, the Leopards’ advantage eventually bulged to as much as 18 before Darnell Foreman hit a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer (Penn’s first made trey of the game, after 11 misses) to make it 46-31 at the break.
Lafayette opened the second half with a pair of free throws, but Penn scored 14 of the game’s next 18 points and crawled back to within 52-45. At that point, however, Matt Klinewski scored back-to-back buckets to put the Leopards back up by 11.
Penn was not able to get back within single digits again until just 2:41 was left in the game, and even then the Leopards scored five unanswered points push back ahead, 87-73. The Quakers used a 13-3 run after that to get within four points in the final 10 seconds before the final score was set by a pair of Lafayette free throws.
Penn lost on a day when it placed five players in double figures in the scoring column – Nelson-Henry finished with 20, while Antonio Woods had 17, Howard had 15, and Sam Jones and Lewis finished with 10 each. For Lewis, who missed all of last year due to illness, the output marked his first double-figure scoring game since February 16, 2013.
Bryce Scott and Nick Lindner had 22 each for Lafayette, and Lindner also had four assists. Matt Klinewski and Monty Boykins had 15 points each, while Paulius Zalys added 11.
Penn is back in action on Wednesday night, hosting another Patriot League team in Navy at 7 p.m. The Quakers are then at George Mason next Saturday at 6 p.m.