Posted: December 20, 2009
PHILADELPHIA – Lehigh raced out to a 10-0 lead on Saint Joseph’s Sunday evening at Michael J. Hagan Arena, but the Mountain Hawks were unable to hold it, and eventually fell to the Hawks 77-66. Four Mountain Hawks scored in double figures, led by senior Dave Buchberer and freshman Gabe Knutson with 13 apiece but Lehigh committed 20 turnovers and was unable to maintain its early hot shooting. With the loss the Brown and White falls to 4-6, while the Hawks, who received a game-high 15 points from Darrin Govins, up their record to 4-6.
“We committed too many turnovers tonight and came away empty on too many of our offensive possessions,” Lehigh head coach Brett Reed said afterwards. “I thought we had several players who did some good things; Gabe Knutson grabbing four offensive rebounds, Michael Ojo and Dave Buchberger both hit some shots and brought a lot of energy but when you’re playing in a gym like this against a team the caliber of Saint Joseph’s out of the Atlantic-10, you need more than only a few players to step up.”
Lehigh came out on fire and opened up a 10-0 run in the opening 1:55 of the game. The lead eventually swelled to 12-4 on a pair of free throws by freshman C.J. McCollum with 17:13 on the clock but from there Saint Joseph’s settled down and made things interesting getting to within 16-12 when Govens drilled a three with 14:12 remaining before halftime. Lehigh scored the game’s next three points to go in front by seven but an old fashioned three-point play by SJU’s Carl Baptistie pulled the home team within five at 21-16.
The Hawks took their first lead of the game when Carl Jones hit a three-pointer at the 9:53 mark of the half, making the score 22-21. The lead increased to 24-21 when Chris Prescott got open for a fast break lay-up forcing Reed to call a timeout for Lehigh. With the Mountain Hawks trailing 32-27 senior Zahir Carrington got inside for a bucket to pull the visitors within five but a Baptiste jumper gave SJU a 36-30 lead with 4:44 to go before the break. A three from Ojo and ensuing dunk a fast break by McCollum got Lehigh within one at 36-35 with 3:43 to go and a one-of-two showing by Carrington at the foul line tied things at 36 with just under three minutes on the clock. Saint Joseph’s scored the next four points but McCollum sank two more at the line and Lehigh was down 40-38 at intermission.
The Mountain Hawks shot 42% in the opening 20 minutes, and outrebounded the Hawks 22-14. Lehigh sank 7-of-10 shots at the free throw line and committed only eight turnovers. Knutson led the Brown and White with nine points, while McCollum scored eight and Ojo added seven. Carrington was the team’s leading rebounder with five while Ojo totaled four. SJU shot 53% from the floor in the first half and turned the ball over only five times. The Hawks were led in scoring by Baptistse who hit for 13 points, while Jones and Givens both scored eight.
Neither team scored for the first 3:10 of the second half until Carrington buried a jumper with 16:50 on the clock to knot things at 40. Lehigh went in front 48-43 following back-to-back baskets, a three and a jumper, by Buchberger, but Govens followed a miss with a nice tip-in and the Mountain Hawks lead was cut to three. Two free throws by McCollum and another jumper by Buchberger gave Lehigh its biggest lead of the second stanza at 52-45 with 10:37 to go but Chris Prescott hit a jumper for the home team and Garrett Williamson followed with a fast break dunk to make the score 52-49.
Prescott got inside for a lay-up with 8:47 to go as Saint Joseph’s reclaimed the lead at 53-52 and another Prescott basket, this time a jumper put the Mountain Hawks in a 55-52 hole. One minute later Govens nailed a three-pointer and the score was 58-52 in favor of the home team The Hawks lead grew to as many as 11 when Govens scored with 3:24 on the clock and following a Prescott free throw with 2:00 remaining Lehigh was down 69-56. The Mountain Hawks would get to within single digits only once more as they suffered their third straight road loss.
Lehigh - St. Joseph's Post-Game Extra!
Lehigh returns to action on Tuesday evening when the Mountain Hawks play host to Marist at Stabler Arena. Tip-off is set for 7:05 and tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by logging onto Lehighsports.com or at the arena box office prior to tip-off.