Mountain Hawks outlasted by Eagles in overtime
Posted: January 10, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A three-pointer by junior Marquis Hall with 27 seconds remaining in regulation sent Lehigh’s game with American into overtime, but the Eagles outlasted the Mountain Hawks in the extra session and came away with a 76-66 victory in the 2009 Patriot League opener on Saturday afternoon at Bender Arena. Hall finished with 14 points, while classmate Zahir Carrington netted a game-high 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double, while senior Derrick Mercer led the Eagles with 15 points. With the loss the Mountain Hawks fall to 10-5 overall and 0-1 in the league, while American improves to 9-6 overall and 1-0 in the PL.
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Lehigh wound up shooting 37-percent for the game, but just 14-percent in the overtime period. The Mountain Hawks pulled down 40 rebounds and handed out 16 assists, led by Hall’s six. Junior Dave Buchberger joined Hall and Carrington in double figures with ten points, while senior Phil Anderson ripped down six boards and netted nine points.
American pulled down 43 rebounds, led by Jordan Nichols’ nine caroms, while Mercer dished out six of the Eagles 14 assists. AU turned the ball over just nine times and shot 40-percent from the field.
The Mountain Hawks started the game off strong, holding American without a point for the first 5:33 as they took a 7-0 lead. Lehigh maintained its lead for the majority of the opening 20 minutes, with American able to tie the score just once, at 12 with 9:47 left in the half. Two free throws by freshman Justin Maneri put the Mountain Hawks in front 19-14 at the 5:39 mark, while another pair at the stripe by Buchberger gave the Brown and White a seven-point cushion with 4:25 left before halftime. Lehigh’s lead grew to ten on two occasions, but a late run by the home team made the score 31-28 in favor of the Mountain Hawks after 20 minutes of play.
Carrington finished the half with a game-high eight points, while Hall sank two three-pointers en route to six. American was led on offense by Mercer’s seven, while Gilmore added five as the Eagles connected on 36-percent from the floor.
Like the first half, the second was a tightly contested, physical affair that remained close throughout. American took its first lead of the day when Nichols scored in the paint at the 18:23 mark, and from there the home team went on a 8-0 run to surge in front by nine. Lehigh closed to within five on a lay up by Carrington but American responded and went up by nine with 12:18 left in the game. A three-pointer by Anderson brought the Brown and White to within four at 52-48, but the Eagles ripped off six straight to go in front by double figures at the 6:33 mark.
Following a free throw by Mercer with 2:01 left, Lehigh found itself down six, but Buchberger got fouled and nailed a pair, followed by two more free throws from Carrington, which brought the Mountain Hawks to within two with one minute to go. Carr was fouled on AU’s next possession, and uncharacteristically missed one of his shots, making the score 64-61 in favor of the home team with 42 ticks on the clock. Lehigh came down the court and got the ball into Hall’s hands, who buried a three-pointer after coming off a screen to knot things up at 64. The Eagles had one final chance to win the game in regulation but both of its attempts were off the mark, sending the teams into overtime.
In the extra session Lehigh was unable to get its offense going, as the Mountain Hawks scored just two points to the Eagles 12. Carr scored on back-to-back possessions to put the home team in front 73-66 with 1:30 left, and that all but sealed Lehigh’s fate.
Carrington spoke of American making a run in the early second half. “They were able to get some easy baskets in transition and that got them right back in the game.” He continued, “I think we learned a lot today though. We played a good team and took them to overtime on their floor. We know we’re a good team; it’s a tough way to lose.”
Lehigh is back in action on Wednesday evening when the Mountain Hawks open the home portion of their Patriot League schedule versus the Navy Midshipmen at Stabler Arena. Tip-off is set for 7:05 and tickets can be purchased in one of three ways: by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by visiting the Lehigh Athletics Ticket Office, located in Grace Hall, or by logging onto Lehighsports.com.