Posted: November 25, 2009
LORETTO, Pa. – Behind a combined 38 points from freshmen C.J. McCollum (20) and Holden Greiner (18) Lehigh earned its third consecutive victory with a 76-67 win over St. Francis (Pa.) on Wednesday evening. McCollum was a perfect ten-of-ten at the foul line, while Greiner sank eight-of-ten shots from the field to give the Mountain Hawks their first road win of the season and improve their record to 3-2. Two players for the Red Flash scored 14 points as they fall to 1-4 following the set back.
For the third time in the last four games senior captain Marquis Hall handed out ten assists for the Brown and White, while sophomore Justin Maneri pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. The Mountain Hawks shot 45% from the field including a 44% clip from three-point range and took great care of the ball, turning it over just nine times
St. Francis shot 40% from the field and 12-of-23 (52%) from three-point range. Cedric Latimer and Umar Shannon totaled 14 points apiece for the home team while Devin Sweetney was held to only 11 after coming in averaging more than 20 per game. Sweetney and Will Felder led the Red Flash with eight boards each, while Shannon led the team with four assists.
Lehigh took an early 9-6 lead when freshman Gabe Knutson got into the lane for a basket but a three by Ervin tied things at nine on St. Francis’ next trip down court. The Red Flash sank back-to-back three-pointers to take a 17-11 lead with 11:56 on the clock, while a Felder lay-up and ensuing foul shot put the Mountain Hawks in a 20-11 hole with 9:50 left before halftime.
The Mountain Hawks clawed their way back into it with a basket by junior Prentice Small, a three by Greiner and two free throws by Rob Keefer which made the score 20-18 in favor of the home team. On Lehigh’s next possession Michael Ojo took a feed from Hall and scored to tie things at 20 before Sweetney answered with a bucket of his own to put the Red Flash ahead 22-20. Keefer drilled a three though and Lehigh took the lead back at 23-22.
After the score was tied at 25 Lehigh went on a 7-0 run to open up a 32-25 lead with 2:26 left before halftime and the Mountain Hawks were able to maintain a lead for the last few minutes, eventually taking a 35-30 advantage into the locker room.
Lehigh shot just 41% in the first half but out-rebounded its counterpart 21-18 and turned the ball over only once. Greiner hit for 10 first half points on four-of-five shooting while senior Zahir Carrington added seven. Sweetney, Felder and Shannon scored six points apiece for the Red Flash as they shot only 34% in the half. St. Francis also did a nice job of holding onto the ball with just two turnovers and it hit all three of its free throws.
Carrington opened the second half with a bucket off a feed from Hall and Lehigh was in front 37-30. But St. Francis responded with two free throws by Sweetney to move within five. Back-to-back threes from McCollum and senior Dave Buchberger gave Lehigh a 43-34 lead with 18:16 on the clock, while another three from Buchberger made it a 46-37 contest with 17:36 to go.
With 15:38 to go Maneri splashed a jumper to give Lehigh a double digit lead but three minutes later St. Francis cut it to a six-point game when Austin Fowler drilled a trifecta. After a three by Shannon cut Lehigh’s lead to only three with 10:11 on the clock Sweetney tied things at 60 when he hit a three of his own on the home team’s next possession.
Lehigh was not rattled however and ran off the game’s next ten points capped by a pair of free throws by McCollum at the 4:35 mark which made the score 70-60. A Greiner lay-up with 58 seconds left again gave the Mountain Hawks a double-digit lead and McCollum sank a pair at the line with 29 seconds remaining to ice the road victory.
The Mountain Hawks will return to action on Monday, November 30 when they play host to the Stony Brook Seawolves at Stabler Arena. Tip-off is set for 7:05 PM and tickets can be purchased at the arena box office prior to tip-off.