Balanced offense leads Lehigh to 76-58 win
Posted: November 17, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh placed four players in double figures, led by junior captain Marquis Hall who netted a game-high 16 points as the Mountain Hawks moved to 2-0 for the first time since 1997 with a 76-58 victory over the Delaware State Hornets Monday evening at Stabler Arena. Senior Phil Anderson scored 13 points and pulled down a career-high eight rebounds, while junior Zahir Carrington and sophomore Rob Keefer netted ten points apiece as Lehigh won its third consecutive home opener. Delaware State, who drops to 1-2 with the loss, was led by Donald Johnson’s 16 points.
Lehigh - Delaware St. post-game show, Nov. 17, 2008
Lehigh head coach Brett Reed spoke of Anderson’s performance. “With the loss of Bryan White, rebounding was going to be key for our team this season. If Phil can do his part and help solidify the rebounding for us, that takes care of some of our concerns.”
Reed then spoke of the Mountain Hawks victory. “Ultimately we were able to prevail in the second half, by changing the pace. In the first half, Delaware State was able to get a few easy scores and really set the tempo. But we responded in the second half with tough defense, and our guys shot the basketball consistently, which opened up things.”
Lehigh connected on 52 percent from the field, marking the second straight game it shot at least 50 percent from the floor. The Mountain Hawks sank ten three-pointers, led by Anderson and Hall’s three apiece, while sophomore Michael Ojo sank a pair from beyond the arc. Lehigh dominated DSU on the backboards with a 37-23 advantage, led by Anderson’s eight caroms. Keefer snagged six rebounds and freshman Justin Maneri and sophomore Dave Buchberger both grabbed four rebounds. Hall handed out seven assists, sharing top honors with sophomore Prentice Small, while every player who dressed for Lehigh saw time.
Delaware State shot just 43 percent from the field, and only 50-percent at the free throw line. Fred Bouie added 15 points for the Hornets, while Frisco Sandidge scored 14. Neither team was careless with the ball, as the squads combined for only 17 turnovers.
On the strength of an old fashioned three-point play by Buchberger and a three-pointer from the top of the key by Anderson Lehigh jumped out to an 8-3 lead at the first media timeout. Another three, this one by Ojo, pushed Lehigh’s advantage to seven points with 12:58 remaining in the half and a trifecta from senior captain Matt Szalachowski with 10:07 on the clock again made it a seven-point cushion.
Delaware State responded however with the game’s next seven points, including a four-point play by Johnson, and at the 8:55 mark, the score was tied at 17. A Bouie lay up put the visitors in front by three less than two minutes later, but back-to-back lay ups by Lehigh from Keefer and Maneri gave the lead back to the Mountain Hawks, 23-22. The Hornets had an answer once again though as Bouie got into the lane for a score and Kris Douse sank a pair of free throws for a 26-23 lead.
A three-pointer by DSU’s Johnson at the 2:57 mark put the Hornets up 29-24, but Hall took over from there, scoring all 11 of his first half tallies, including a trio of shots from behind the arc. Small also connected from downtown, sending Lehigh into halftime in front 38-32.
The Mountain Hawks picked up right where they left off from their season opener with a torrid 57-percent shooting exhibition in the first 20 minutes, while the Hornets connected on 46 percent of their shots. Both teams yanked down 12 rebounds, while Lehigh hand out nine assists, led by Small’s three. Both teams did a great job of protecting the basketball as they combined for only nine turnovers.
A jumper by Buchberger one minute into the second, followed by lay ups from Keefer and Carrington pushed it to a 14-point lead with 16:00 to go. Delaware State cut it to an eight point game when Trevor Wilcher scored with 13:13 on the clock, but Lehigh scored six straight and went back in front by 14. The lead grew to as many as 18 off a Small jumper, and Hall’s lay up with 2:16 left proved to be the game’s final basket.
Lehigh is back in action on Thursday evening when the Mountain Hawks play host to the Rider Broncs at Stabler Arena. Game time is set for 7:05 and tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by visiting the Lehigh Athletics Ticket Office, located in Grace Hall, or by logging onto Lehighsports.com.