Posted: December 22, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Senior Zahir Carrington registered a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds while classmate Marquis Hall scored a game-high 16 points to help lead Lehigh to a 66-55 victory over Marist on Tuesday evening at Stabler Arena. The Mountain Hawks held the Red Foxes to 36% shooting from the field and got to the foul line 33 times en route to their fifth win of the season. Lehigh now stands at 5-6 overall while Marist remains winless at 0-9 on the season. Daye Kaba led the visitors with 11 points.
Lehigh led by as many as 21 points in the second half before Marist unleashed a 22-8 run that pulled the Red Foxes within seven with 8:32 remaining. “Certainly we were pleased to be leading by that margin at that point in the game,” Lehigh head coach Brett Reed said afterwards. “But we relaxed a little too much, and allowed Marist to get back into it; I think human nature took over there but we were able to re-group and hold on for the win.”
The Mountain Hawks regrouped from that point and increased their lead to 11 on a Gabe Knutson lay-up with 7:05 remaining, but Marist refused to go away and cut the Lehigh lead all the way down to four points on an R.J. Hall three-pointer at the 4:16 mark. Carrington got to the bucket for a lay-up and followed with a free throw, while Hall made an acrobatic shot while being pulled to the floor and sank the ensuing free throw for a 61-50 advantage with just over a minute to play, sending Lehigh to its fourth home victory of the season.
Reed spoke about the performance of Carrington and Hall. “Those two guys are expected to perform and they did tonight. We don’t always need a double-double or a 16-point performance, but they are two of our senior leaders and if they can play the way they did tonight, that takes pressure off the others on the floor and allows them to play their game, such as Gabe Knutson who played a very nice game for us tonight, with his rebounding and scoring.”
Knutson finished with 11 points and seven rebounds for the Mountain Hawks while freshman C.J. McCollum scored nine points and junior Michael Ojo added seven off the bench. Lehigh out-rebounded the visitors 38-35 and handed out 13 assists for the game with McCollum totaling a team-high four helpers. Lehigh sank 23-of-33 attempts at the foul line with Knutson (5-5) and Ojo (4-4) both perfect at the stripe. As a team the Mountain Hawks hit 43% from the field and 46% from three-point range.
Marist shot only 36% from the floor and committed 14 turnovers for the game. Javon Parris led the visitors with six rebounds while Hall totaled a team-high four assists. Hall added nine points on the evening and Rob Johnson added eight.
Lehigh jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead less than three minutes into the game and extended to an 11-3 advantage when senior Dave Buchberger hit a three with 15:51 on the first half clock. A three by Hall two minutes later gave the Brown and White an 18-8 lead, while a pair of free throws from McCollum put Lehigh in front 20-8 with 12:21 left before halftime. Lehigh maintained its double digit lead and extended to a 14-point cushion when junior Michael Ojo connected from downtown off a feed from classmate Prentice Small at the 8:35 mark.
Marist pulled to within nine on a Devin Price lay-up with 6:58 on the clock, but Rob Keefer answered on the other end for Lehigh with a jumper and Lehigh went back in front 26-15. Two free throws by Hall with 5:18 on the clock put the Mountain Hawks ahead 30-16, while a three by McCollum with 2:33 to go again gave the home team a 14-point cushion. That would prove to be the final basket of the half as Lehigh took a 33-19 lead into the locker room.
Hall sank both of his three-point attempts in the opening half en route to a game-high eight points, while McCollum and senior Zahir Carrington added six points each for Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks shot 46% overall and 57% from beyond the arc with Carrington pulling down five of the team’s 21 rebounds. McCollum led the Brown and White with three assists, while Small and Buchberger handed out two each.
Marist was forced into a 28% showing from the floor, including 3-of-10 from three-point range. R.J. Hall led the visitors with six points while Korey Bauer totaled a team best four rebounds in the opening 20 minutes. The Red Foxes committed only six turnovers but they struggled from the foul line, connecting on only two-of-six attempts.
Lehigh - Marist Post-Game Extra
Lehigh will now have five days off for the holidays before returning to action on Monday, December 28 when the Mountain Hawks head to Farmville, Virginia to take on the Longwood Lancers. Tip-off is set for 7:00 and all of the action 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 6:30.