Balanced offense, hot shooting lead to win at Navy
Posted: February 11, 2009
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Lehigh placed four players in double figures, led by junior captain Marquis Hall’s 18 points, as the Mountain Hawks snapped their two-game losing streak with a 70-59 victory over Navy on Wednesday evening at Alumni Hall. Joining Hall in double figures were Dave Buchberger (14), Zahir Carrington (12) and Rob Keefer (10) as Lehigh improves to 19-1 under head coach Brett Reed when holding an opponent under 60 points. The Mountain Hawks (14-9, 4-5 Patriot League) held the Patriot League’s leading scorer Kaleo Kina scoreless for the final 38 minutes of the contest as he finished with only five points.
Reed spoke of Lehigh’s balanced offense afterwards. “It was nice to see guys step up and hit shots tonight. We have not been able to have that type of balance in quite some time, but as soon as one guy got going tonight, other players began to catch on.” He continued, “We knew coming in that Navy was very talented offensively, but I think we did a nice job defensively on them in the second half and when shots are falling like they were tonight, I think we’re a tough team to play against.”
He then spoke of Buchberger’s 14-point performance. “Dave is not a guy whose number is called very often on the offensive end, but he got himself into a nice rhythm and scored within the flow of the offense. He did not force anything and really kept us in the game when we were struggling in the beginning.”
Lehigh wound up shooting 53-percent for the game, including a blistering 61-percent in the second half. Carrington led the Brown and White with nine rebounds, and also joined Hall for top honors with three assists. The Mountain Hawks committed 12 turnovers, but only two in the second half and they sank 16-of-23 free throws.
Navy was led in scoring by Chris Harris with 18 points, while Clif Colbert hit for 11 and Mark Veazey scored 10. The Midshipmen shot 38-percent from the floor, but only 33-percent in the second half as Lehigh outscored the home team 44-25 in the final 20 minutes.
“We had to pay quite a bit of attention to Kina and Harris being the outstanding offensive players they are,” Reed explained. “When a player has to sit for an extended period of time, particularly in the case of Kina tonight, it can throw their flow and rhythm off. I think our guys did a great job of knowing where those two were at all times on the floor and making their jobs difficult.”
In the first half, Harris drilled three shots from beyond the arc en route to a game-high 11 points as Navy took a 34-26 lead into halftime. Lehigh had one of its better halves shooting the basketball, as the Mountain Hawks connected on 46-percent from the field and 40-percent from downtown. Hall and Anderson scored seven points apiece to lead the Brown and White, while Carrington was forced to watch the latter half from the bench after picking up two fouls. Lehigh was out rebounded 22-12 in the opening 20 minutes, as no Mountain Hawk pulled down more than two rebounds, and they totaled only a pair of assists.
The Midshipmen shot 41-percent in the half and totaled five assists. Teague and Colbert pulled down five boards each, while as a team Navy sank six-of-eight free throws and recorded six first half steals. Avworo and Kina both hit for five points, with Avworo sinking three-of-four at the line.
The two teams exchanged baskets throughout the first few minutes of the second half before Lehigh’s offense caught fire. Hall banged home a three-pointer at the 14:51 mark to bring Lehigh to within two, and the Mountain Hawks finally tied things up when Carrington scored in the paint and got fouled with 11:55 on the clock. Following the media timeout Carrington sank the ensuing free throw and Lehigh had seized its first lead of the evening.
The lead grew to four on a three-pointer by freshman Jordan Hamilton, who played a season-high 14 minutes, and following a bucket by Buchberger and two free throws by Keefer, Lehigh was in front 58-50 at the 6:47 mark. A three-pointer by Hall with 3:25 to go gave the Mountain Hawks a game-high ten-point bulge, while Carrington’s jumper with 1:21 made the score 67-56 and all but sealed Lehigh’s seventh road win of the season – the team’s most wins away from home since the 1990-91 season.
Lehigh will return to action on Saturday afternoon when the Mountain Hawks complete their two-game service academy road trip with a visit to West Point to take on the Army Black Knights. Tip-off from Christl Arena is set for 4:00 and all of the action will be broadcast on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM as well as Lehighsports.com with veteran Matt Kerr calling the action. Pre-game coverage gets underway at 3:30.