Lehigh hangs on for 61-56 win at home
Posted: November 24, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Monday night’s game with St. Francis (Pa.) won’t go down as the best looking one of the season for Lehigh, but the Mountain Hawks did emerge with a 61-56 victory at Stabler Arena over the Red Flash to move to 3-1 for the first time since the 1997-98 season. Junior Dave Buchberger netted a game-high 15 points for Lehigh, as he connected on three-of-four three-pointers and all six of his free throws, while classmate Zahir Carrington added 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Lehigh - St. Francis (Pa) postgame show, November 24, 2008
“I felt like we got a lot of open looks tonight, we just didn’t hit them,” Buchberger explained. “I’m not sure why they didn’t fall tonight, it may be that we’re tired or it might be the opponent’s scouting us, but the shots just weren’t falling tonight.”
Buchrberger then spoke about him getting open looks within the offense. “I get a lot of my looks off of guys like Zahir (Carrington) and Marquis (Hall) because they attract so much attention. Whether its Marquis driving and making an extra pass or Zahir with the ball underneath and guys collapsing on him, that usually means that I’ll get some good looks.”
Lehigh wound up shooting 41 percent from the field, but struggled from the line, hitting only 16-of-26 free throws. The Mountain Hawks were out rebounded for the first time this season, 32 to 27, but did force 17 turnovers. One area that Lehigh held a decided advantage was from three-point range where the Brown and White sank nine-of-13 attempts, and outscored the Red Flash 27 to 12.
St. Francis was led in scoring by Devin Sweetney’s 12 tallies, as he was the lone player to hit double figures for the visitors. The Red Flash did not sink any three-point attempts in the entire second half and shot 40.5 percent overall from the field.
The game was close at the start as Lehigh opened up a six-point lead at the 14:14 mark of the first half, but St. Francis scored five straight to pull within a single point 1:12 later. From there, neither team scored for nearly four minutes until Lehigh sophomore Michael Ojo splashed a three-pointer to make it a 14-10 game with 9:30 to go.
Lehigh’s lead increased to six on a Carrington lay up with 5:36 on the clock, but two minutes later, Grant Surprenant hit a three-pointer, bringing the Red Flash to within two points, 23-21. Anderson responded with a three of his own though and Carrington hit a nice turnaround jumper to send Lehigh into the locker room up six.
Lehigh led 28-22 at halftime on the strength of eight points by Carrington and six from Anderson. The Mountain Hawks were strong on the boards, pulling down 18 first half rebounds, led by Carrington’s seven and Keefer’s five, while as a team Lehigh handed out seven assists on ten field goals.
St. Francis was led in scoring by Nelson’s five points, while four other players scored three points apiece. The Red Flash shot just 38 percent from the field and 50 percent from the foul line, and watched the Mountain Hawks score 11 points off turnovers.
Buchberger began the second half with a three to push Lehigh’s lead to nine, and following a bucket by Hall at the 13:22 mark, the Mountain Hawks led by 12. That lead increased to as many as 17 with 9:07 to go when Michael Ojo sank a free throw, but from there Lehigh’s offense went into a drought, scoring just eight points over the next 8:33 as St. Francis cut it to a four-point game with 40 ticks to go. Carrington hit one-of-two free throws and Buchberger sank a pair though, and Lehigh held on for its third victory of the season.
Lehigh returns to action on Wednesday when the Mountain Hawks head to New Jersey to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Tip-off is set for 7:30 and all of the action can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 as well as Lehighsports.com.