Posted: December 17, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Senior Marquis Hall netted a game-high 17 points, while junior Michael Ojo equaled his career-high with 14 points as Lehigh returned to action on Thursday evening by snapping its three game losing streak with a 66-58 victory over Dartmouth at Stabler Arena. The Mountain Hawks showed signs of having been off for 12 days for final exams but were able to come out with the victory – their fifth straight over the Big Green. With the win Lehigh improves to 4-5, while the visitors, who placed four players in double figures, fall to 2-7 following the setback.
“It’s always difficult coming out of final exams to play right away; the kids are mentally exhausted and I think we showed signs of that tonight, but we found a way to win,” Mountain Hawks head coach Brett Reed said afterwards. “We weren’t able to be as efficient offensively as I would have liked; we got good looks, but weren’t making them. We pushed through that though and that’s encouraging to see. Marquis got going and hit some shots and that seemed to allow everyone to relax out there.”
Lehigh shot only 35% from the floor, including a 4-of-12 showing from three-point range, but Hall was the exception as he sank five-of-ten shots overall and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. Freshman Gabe Knutson established a new career-high with ten rebounds while Prentice Small led the Brown and White with four assists. Despite its slow shooting night Lehigh did control the ball well as the Mountain Hawks committed only seven turnovers and they blocked a season best seven shots.
Dartmouth shot 38% from the field, but only 3-of-12 from three-point range as Robby Pride (13), Matt LeBove (12), R.J. Griffin (11) and Ronnie Dixon (10) all hit for double digits. The Big Green committed 15 turnovers and totaled 43 rebounds led by LeBove’s game-high 11. Pride dished out three assists as Dartmouth handed out 14 as a team.
The game started slow with Lehigh only leading 7-6 at the under-16 media timeout. A lay-up by Buchberger on a great feed from Carrington gave the Mountain Hawks an 11-6 lead with 12:48 on the clock but LeBove came right back and hit a jumper to pull Dartmouth within three. A Dixon bucket with 8:47 left before halftime cut Lehigh’s lead to 13-12 but Ojo answered down the other end with a trifecta putting the home team up 16-12.
Marlon Sanders scored on a put back with 2:25 on the clock which made the score 25-20 in favor of the Mountain Hawks, but from there Lehigh took over, reeling off nine of the next 11 points to surge in front by 12. Ojo keyed the run with a three-pointer, two foul shots, a steal, a rebound and an assist.
Both teams shot 34% from the floor in the half and combined to go 2-of-15 from three-point range. Ojo scored ten points as Lehigh led 34-22 at the break, but early on neither team had much rhythm on the offensive end. Buchberger added seven points while McCollum scored six. Knutson pulled down seven of Lehigh’s 20 rebounds and Small totaled three assists in the half. Dixon led the visitors with eight points on four-of-eight shooting while LeBove added four and recorded five rebounds. Dartmouth missed all nine of its three-point attempts and turned the ball over ten times.
A Griffin jumper right out of the second half gate made it a ten-point game, while Pride’s lay-up on Dartmouth’s next possession pulled the visitors within eight. Lehigh scored five straight however to go back in front 39-26 with 16:52 on the clock. A Hall jumper and Carrington free throw extended Lehigh’s lead to 16 points, while Hall’s three-pointer with 13:54 remaining put the Brown and White in front 47-30.
The Lehigh lead swelled to 20 for the first time when Ojo sank a pair at the line with 12:10 left in the game and for the next five minutes the Mountain Hawks maintained a comfortable lead. Dartmouth never went away though and following Pride’s three-point play with 3:09 to go the Big Green was within ten at 61-51. A LaBove jumper and Griffin three-pointer then made things very interesting as Lehigh’s lead was down to six with 1:07 to go, but the Mountain Hawks hit a perfect four-of-four at the free throw line in the final 41 seconds to seal their fourth win of the season.
Lehigh - Dartmouth Post-Game Extra
Lehigh will return to the court on Sunday evening when the Mountain Hawks travel to Philadelphia to take on the Hawks of Saint Joseph’s. Tip-off is set for 7:00 and all of the action will be broadcast live on 91.3 WLVR-FM and Lehighsports.com with Matt Kerr and Lehigh Hall of Famer Greg Falkenbach ’72 on the call. Pre-game coverage gets underway at 6:45.