Lehigh downs Colgate 49-40 in defensive battle
Posted: February 18, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh emerged from a defensive battle with a 49-40 victory over Colgate on Wednesday evening at Stabler Arena. The Mountain Hawks limited the Raiders to 17 points and 20-percent shooting in the second half as they earn victory number 15 to surpass last year’s total. Junior Marquis Hall led the Brown and White with 16 points as Lehigh improves to 5-6 in the Patriot League and 10-2 when the Oregon native scores at least 15 points. Colgate received a team-high 13 points from Mike Venezia as the Raiders fall to 9-16 overall and 5-7 in league action.
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Head coach Brett Reed gave his thoughts afterwards. “It certainly was not the prettiest game we have played this season, but at this time of year, you take any win you can get. Coming down the stretch we were able to build a comfortable lead but then Colgate steps up and banks in a three-pointer to cut into our lead. But that’s why you have to continue to grind it out possession by possession and that’s what we did tonight.”
He continued, “Our bench was really pivotal tonight. When Justin Maneri came in he was high energy, he got on the glass, got extra possessions for us. Jordan Hamilton did some nice things when he came in, unfortunately he got into some foul trouble but when he was in there he did what we needed him too. Matt Szalachowski gave us solid minutes. As unselfish as he is he passed up an open three-pointer and dribbles through the lane and gets the ball into Zahir (Carrington) for a basket. Those are the types of plays you need in order to be successful.”
Lehigh shot 37-percent from the floor an out rebounded the Raiders 42 to 37, led by Carrington’s 13 caroms. The Mountain Hawks handed out 13 assists, led by sophomore Prentice Small’s five, but as a team they struggled mightily from the foul line, sinking 10-of-24 attempts.
Joining Venezia in double figures for the Raiders was freshman Yaw Gyawu who hit for ten points, but shot just 3-of-14 from the field. Nick Pascale led the visitors with eight rebounds, while Anthony Hill dished out five assists. Colgate finished with a 27-percent shooting mark and like Lehigh, struggled from the charity stripe, sinking only 9-of-15 attempts.
Both teams started slowly offensively but were able to hit some shots towards the end of the half as Lehigh took a 26-23 lead into the locker room. The Mountain Hawks led 11-7 following a three-pointer by Hall with 14:39 remaining in the opening half, but a pair of free throws by Gyawu and a Venezia jumper pulled the Raiders to within one at 12-11.
Colgate tied the game at 15 on a Gyawu jumper, but Small scored at the other end to put the home team back up two. Hall gave Lehigh a four-point cushion after hitting his second three of the half at the 3:15 mark, but Venezia answered with a three of his own to make it a one-point game yet again. Freshmen Justin Maneri and Jordan Hamilton combined for Lehigh’s final five points of the half as the Mountain Hawks took a three-point lead into the break.
Lehigh shot 39-percent in the opening half and was led by Hall’s eight points. Small dished out four of Lehigh’s seven assists, while Carrington pulled down five of the team’s 20 caroms. The Mountain Hawks got to the foul line only eight times and hit four of their attempts, while as a team they committed seven turnovers.
The Raiders sank 33-percent of their field goal attempts and shot just five free throws, sinking four of them. Venezia scored a game-high 10 points in the half, while Ben Jonson pulled down four boards and Anthony Hill handed out five assists. Colgate turned the ball over eight times and was credited with three steals.
Lehigh went up five in the second half when Hall scored in the paint and the lead increased to six on Hamilton’s free throw.
Colgate clawed its way back to within two points on a three by Venezia with 12:35 on the clock. The Mountain Hawks finally got themselves some breathing room as Small drove the lane for a bucket, Carrington scored on a nice feed from Szalachowski and Hall splashed a jumper. Those three baskets made the score 45-36 with only 3:12 to play. Colgate would get no closer than eight the rest of the way as the Mountain Hawks defeated the Raiders for the sixth straight time at Stabler Arena.
Lehigh returns to action on Sunday afternoon when the Mountain Hawks host archrival Lafayette at Stabler Arena on Senior Day. Tip-off is set for noon and tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by visiting the Lehigh Athletics Ticket Office, located in Grace Hall, or by logging onto Lehighsports.com.