Lehigh upended by Holy Cross 67-52 at home
Posted: January 31, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Down five with just over six minutes to go Lehigh’s offense went cold and scored only seven more points the rest of the way as the Mountain Hawks fell to Holy Cross 67-52 on Saturday afternoon at Stabler Arena. Marquis Hall scored a team-high 14 points for Lehigh but was the only Mountain Hawk in double figures as the Brown and White falls to 13-8 overall and 3-4 in Patriot League action. Holy Cross placed three players in double figures, led by Eric Meister and R.J. Evans with 15 points apiece as the Crusaders remain in first place in the league at 6-1, and 11-11 overall.
Watch the Lehigh - Holy Cross Post-Game Show
Lehigh finished the day with 37 rebounds, led by Zahir Carrington’s 11, while Prentice Small handed out a team-high four assists. The Mountain Hawks shot only 35-percent from the floor, including a 3-of-17 showing from three-point range, and turned the ball over 16 times.
Holy Cross shot 46-percent from the floor and pulled down 35 rebounds, led by Andrew Keister’s seven. Keister also scored ten points and dished out five assists. Pat Doherty led the Crusaders with seven assists, while as a team, they turned the ball over only 13 times.
Hall commented afterwards on the tough Holy Cross defense. “It definitely made a difference in the game. You don’t see a type of zone defense like that too often and although we prepared for it, it’s tough to simulate it in practice. But at the same time we had shots that we didn’t step up and hit and that hurt us down the stretch.”
The first half was a tightly contested back-and-forth affair as neither team was able to open up a lead larger than six points. Lehigh shot 35-percent from the field and received eight points from Hall, while Carrington ripped down eight of the Mountain Hawks 21 rebounds. Carrington also dished out a team-high three assists, while as a team Lehigh hit on five-of-six free throws.
Holy Cross connected on 37-percent of its shots and was led on offense by Vander Baan and Cunningham with six points each, while three different Crusaders pulled down three rebounds apiece. Pat Doherty led Holy Cross with three assists, while as a team the Crusaders sank three-of-six at the foul line.
Lehigh opened the game on an 8-5 run punctuated by a lay up from Anderson at the 15:41 mark. Lehigh extended to an 11-6 lead on a three-pointer by Buchberger with 14:25 to go before halftime but Holy Cross scored the game’s next five points to tie things up at 11 at the 13:26 mark. After the teams exchanged baskets, the Crusaders surged in front with back-to-back field goals to take a 20-15 lead with 9:32 to go before halftime.
Lehigh pulled to within one on a pair of foul shots by Hall with 7:35 on the clock, but Meister hit a jumper and Beinert drilled a three for the visitors to make the score 25-19 at the 6:21 mark. Lehigh answered with an Adams jumper and a bucket by Hall to pull within two with 3:19 left before intermission. Cunningham hit Holy Cross’ fifth three of the opening half with just under one minute to go, but Carrington muscled his way to the basket for a lay up and got fouled. Following his free throw Holy Cross took a two-point advantage into the break, 28-26.
Lehigh took its first lead of the second half following two free throws by Dave Buchberger and another foul shot from Hall. Holy Cross battled back and took a three-point advantage, but Lehigh’s Michael Ojo connected from long range at the 13:48 mark to tie things up at 36. It was Ojo’s first field goal since December 31 at NJIT.
Buckets by Evans and Meister gave Holy Cross a four-point cushion with 12:46 on the clock, but Lehigh responded with six of the game’s next eight points, including back-to-back baskets by Rob Keefer to knot things up at 42 with 10:31 left in the game. Holy Cross scored the game’s next eight points to surge in front 50-42, but Hall momentarily stopped the Crusader run with a huge shot from downtown to make the score 50-45. Lehigh then had a chance to cut into the lead even further, but the Mountain Hawks missed a three-pointer and the Crusaders scored nine straight to go in front by 13, 58-45 at the 3:13 mark. Carrington hit a jumper to pull Lehigh to within 11, but Holy Cross ran off four straight to go ahead by 15 and put the game out of reach.
Lehigh head coach Brett Reed offered his thoughts on the depth of Holy Cross’ front line afterwards. “I think it made a significant impact. They not only do a great job of sealing underneath but also defensively and around the basket on offense. When you combine that with the fact that they have multiple options to go to, it makes things tough down there.”
Lehigh now has one week off before returning to action on Saturday February 7 when the Mountain Hawks play host to the defending Patriot League Champion American Eagles at Stabler Arena. Lehigh and AU will tip things off at 7:05 from Stabler Arena 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.