Mountain Hawks upended by St. Joseph's 77-64
Posted: December 2, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh hung tough all evening long with St. Joseph’s on Tuesday, but in the end the Hawks outlasted the Brown and White 77-64 at Stabler Arena in front of over 2,400 in attendance. Ahmad Nivins scored a game-high 20 points and ripped down 17 boards for St. Joseph’s as the visiting Hawks improve to 3-3 overall. Juniors Marquis Hall and Zahir Carrington combined for 31 points for Lehigh, but it wasn’t enough as the Mountain Hawks three-game win streak comes to an end and they fall to 5-2 on the season.
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“We knew coming in that this would be a challenging game for us,” Lehigh head coach Brett Reed explained afterwards. “St. Joseph’s is a very well-coached, talented team and we knew we would have to play at a high level for the entire 40 minutes in order to win tonight. We had our moments where we competed and played well enough to do that, but ultimately they (St. Joseph’s) were able to make enough plays to come away with the victory.”
Reed spoke of Nivin’s ability to gather numerous rebounds throughout the game. “There were times when he went up, and it appeared as though he kept going higher and higher and our guys just weren’t able to. He just has tremendous length and at times tonight, it was tough to overcome.”
Lehigh shot 43 percent from the field on the evening, but struggled at the free throw line, connecting on just 8-of-15 attempts. Sophomores Prentice Small (12) and Rob Keefer (10) both scored in double figures for the Brown and White, while Hall pulled down eight of Lehigh’s 37 rebounds and handed out a team-best seven assists.
Nivins was joined in double figures by Darrin Govens with 16 and Idris Hilliard with 15, while Garrett Williamson dished out a game-high eight helpers. Each team took good care of the ball, as they turned it over only 11 times each.
St. Joseph’s began the game on an 11-4 run in the first six minutes of action, but Lehigh answered with four of the game’s next six points to close to within 13-8 at the 13:25 mark. The Hawks pushed the lead to 11 on a three from Chris Prescott with 7:58 on the clock, but back-to-back shots from beyond the arc by Hall made the score 24-19 with 6:44 remaining in the half. The visitors responded with a run of their own however, and with one minute to go, Lehigh found itself down by double digits once again and would go into halftime trailing 35-24.
Lehigh committed nine of its 11 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, but was dead even with the Atlantic-10 foe on the backboards with 20 rebounds, led by Hall and Keefer’s four apiece. Hall netted 11 first half tallies and handed out four assists, while as a team, the Mountain Hawks shot 38.5-percent.
The teams traded baskets in the early going of the second half until Lehigh got a three-pointer from Dave Buchberger and a lay up from Michael Ojo to pull within six at the 16:34 mark. St. Joseph’s answered with two baskets to go up by ten, but six quick points by the Brown and White made the score 44-40 with just over 13 minutes remaining.
A three-pointer by Tasheed Carr with exactly eight minutes remaining made the score 54-44 in favor of the visitors, but Carrington scored on Lehigh’s next possession, got fouled and hit the ensuing free throw to bring the Mountain Hawks to within seven. Another Carrington bucket, followed by Small’s lay up with 6:19 to go made the score 57-52 in favor of St. Joseph’s, but Nivins answered on the other end to make it a seven-point game. Hall drove right back and drilled a three-pointer though, bringing Lehigh to within four, the closest the Mountain Hawks had been since the score was 6-2 in the early going. Unfortunately for the Brown and White, that was the closest it would get, as the Hawks scored the game’s next seven points to go back in front by double digits and they never looked back.
Lehigh returns to action on Friday evening when the Mountain Hawks travel to New York to take on the Stony Brook Seawolves. Game time is set for 7:00 from Pritchard Gym.
Photography 2008 (c), Specialty Photographic.