Posted: December 3, 2009
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Two Mountain Hawks, including senior Marquis Hall (19) and freshman Gabe Knutson (17), scored season highs on Thursday night but Brian Grimes and Patrick Foley netted 21 points apiece for Columbia as the Lions held off Lehigh 75-70 at Levien Gym. Lehigh led 33-31 at the half after trailing early but was unable to hold onto the lead and fell for the second consecutive game. With the loss Lehigh drops to 3-4 on the season, while Columbia pulls its record even and now sits at 3-3.
Hall sank 7-of-14 shots on the night, including three three-pointers, while Knutson was five-of-six from the field and sank all seven of his free throws. Lehigh shot 43% as a team and totaled ten assists for the game. Knutson, Hall and freshman Holden Greiner all pulled down six rebounds while Hall dished out a team-best five helpers as he moves closer to the school record for assists. Justin Maneri scored nine points off the bench for the Brown and White, while Greiner added seven and Michel Ojo scored six.
Grimes and Foley shot a combined 16-of-25 from the floor as Columbia shot 50.9% overall and 57% from three-point range. John Daniels led the home team in rebounds with right and Foley was the leader in assists with six. Columbia handed out 15 assists and scored 15 points off LU turnovers.
Columbia jumped out to an early 11-4 lead four minutes into the game but the Mountain Hawks ripped off 13 straight points capped by a Greiner lay-up off a feed from Hall, which put the Brown and White ahead 15-12 with 13:43 on the first half clock. Freshman C.J. McCollum, who struggled with his shot, later found Knutson for a bucket with 12:25 on the clock that put Lehigh in front 20-14, but five straight by the Lions made it a one-point affair two minutes later.
The teams were tied at 27 with 4:13 to go when Greiner fouled Foley who stepped to the line and sank a pair to give the home team a 29-27 lead. Later, Maneri’s lay-up put Lehigh in front 31-29 and then Hall found a cutting Greiner for another score to give the Mountain Hawks a four-point advantage. Grimes sank a jumper with 1:32 left before the half which made the score 33-31 and that is how the teams remained heading into halftime.
Lehigh was led in scoring by Knutson with eight and Greiner and Hall with seven apiece. The Mountain Hawks shot a respectable 46% in the half, but they committed ten turnovers and hit only one-of-ten three-point attempts. Greiner and Knutson pulled down three rebounds apiece as Lehigh out rebounded its counterpart 16-13.
Grimes hit for 12 first half points for Columbia as the Lions sank 11-of-22 shots from the field, including two-of-three from beyond the arc. Daniels totaled four boards in the opening 20 minutes and Foley handed out five assists.
The teams were tied at 37 when Grimes got into the lane for a basket, while Knutson’s lay-up one minute later again tied things up and his ensuing free throw gave Lehigh a one-point lead. Columbia reeled off six straight though and the Lions were in front 45-40. After Lehigh got back to within one the Lions responded with six straight to go up 51-44 with 11:27 on the clock, but the Mountain Hawks scored nine of the next 11 points, including two baskets by Maneri to tie things for the eighth time at 53.
Columbia went back in front and led 61-54 following a Grimes bucket with 5:39 left to play, but Hall hit a three and got fouled, and following his free throw the Mountain Hawks were down just three, 63-60. That was as close as Lehigh would get though as Columbia scored four straight to open up a 67-60 advantage with 58 seconds left and the Lions never looked back.
Lehigh - Columbia Post-Game Extra
Lehigh returns to action on Saturday afternoon when the Mountain Hawks head to Ohio to take on the Dayton Flyers. Tip-off from UD Arena is set for 2:00 and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 as well as Lehighsports.com with veteran Matt Kerr on the call. Pre-game coverage gets underway at 1:30.