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Lafayette gets past American for Patriot League title

Mar 12, 2015 - 1:57 AM Easton, PA ( - Nick Lindner scored 25 points with four assists to lead Lafayette to the Patriot League title with a 65-63 win over American on Wednesday night.

Seth Hinrichs posted 16 points for the fourth-seeded Leopards (20-12), who have reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000.

Pee Wee Gardner and Marko Vasic each had 15 points for the Eagles (17-16), while Charlie Jones totaled 14 and Jesse Reed added 11.

American, which entered as the No. 6 seed in the conference, looked to win the league for the second year in a row.

Lafayette led by 11 at halftime and stretched its margin to 13 early in the second. Jones then fired in a trey that was the beginning of an 8-0 run to help the Eagles cut their deficit to 40-34. The Leopards regained a double- digit lead moments later as Hinrichs scored six straight points for the hosts to make it a 48-36 game.

Gardner capped a 9-0 spurt for American that brought it back to three with 8 1/2 left, then the Eagles took the lead when Vasic's three-point play put them up 55-53.

Hinrichs answered with a 3 at the other end to swing the Leopards back in front with 4:39 on the clock.

Following a Gardner trey that brought the visitors within one with 1:11 left, Lindner made a tough layup that gave Lafayette a 63-60 lead and John Schoof missed a 3-pointer at the other end. Lindner then sealed it with a pair of free throws.

American went scoreless for 6:10 in the first half as Lafayette gained a comfortable lead. John Schoof's 3-pointer with 13:04 on the clock put the Eagles up three, but Hinrichs followed with a layup that jump-started and 11-0 run for a 23-15 edge.

Jones ended the American drought with a consecutive treys to close to within two. The Leopards ended the half on an 11-4 run, however, to extend their advantage to 34-25 at the break.

Game Notes

Lafayette has now won this title three times ... American went 10-of-18 from 3-point range, while Lafayette made 8-of-15 from beyond the arc ... Vasic had nine rebounds and Gardner dished out seven assists in the loss ... The Leopards had a 24-17 edge on the glass.