Posted: December 28, 2009
FARMVILLE, Va. – Junior Rob Keefer and freshman C.J. McCollum scored 21 points apiece, and senior Zahir Carrington threw down a second half dunk to hit 1,000 points for his career as Lehigh downed Longwood 89-78 on Monday evening. For Keefer the 21 points establish a new career-high, while McCollum’s 21 are one off his season high. Carrington finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds while classmate Marquis Hall equaled his career high with ten assists as Lehigh evened its record at 6-6 on the season. Dana Smith led the Lancers in scoring with a game-high 23 points as Longwood falls to 3-10.
Lehigh’s 89 points on Monday were a season high as the Mountain Hawks shot 52% from the field, including a sizzling 62.5% showing in the second half. Carrington notches his 13th career double-double while Hall has now handed out ten assists in four games this season and sits only six helpers away from the school record. McCollum sank four of Lehigh’s 10 three-pointers and Michael Ojo was the fourth Mountain Hawk in double digits with 11 points on four-of-five shooting.
Keefer shared his thoughts on his career night. “I was waiting for my opportunity. C.J. was playing great out there and when I got my number called I went out and played my game. It felt great to hit a couple of three-pointers early and a hit a few jumpers; that got me going.”
“It was an unbelievable performance we got tonight from Rob Keefer,” Lehigh head coach Brett Reed explained. “As efficient and effective as he was, he really carried us because tonight was far from picture perfect on the defensive end.”
Joining Smith in double figures for the home team were Aaron Mitchell (17) and Antwan Carter and Billy Robinson, Jr. with ten points each. Longwood shot 42% from the field and committed only seven turnovers with Smith leading the charge on the backboards with 11 rebounds. E.J. Dawson was the team leader in assists with eight and as a team Longwood shot 50% (10-20) from beyond the arc.
The teams remained close within the opening minutes with Lehigh taking a 12-8 lead on senior Dave Buchberger’s three-pointer with 15:41 on the first half clock. Carrington’s lay-up with 12:54 to go gave the Mountain Hawks a 16-12 advantage, but Longwood charged back and tied things at 16 on Carter’s bucket a minute later. The Lancers took a one point lead on a Kevin Swecker three at the 6:02 mark only to have Keefer answer down the other end with a jumper. The teams traded baskets for the final minutes and Longwood wound up on top taking a 37-36 lead into the locker room.
Keefer scored eight points in the half with McCollum right behind with seven as Lehigh shot 42% as a team. Hall handed out six assists and freshman Gabe Knutson ripped down six boards with Carrington totaling five rebounds. Mitchell scored 12 first half points for the Lancers on five-of-six shooting as Longwood sank 43% of its attempts. Robinson, Jr. led the way with seven rebounds, while Dawson and Swecker recorded three assists apiece.
A three by Smith gave Longwood a 45-38 lead with 17:49 remaining but following that basket Lehigh ripped off a 10-0 run capped by a lay-up from Hall as the Mountain Hawks took a 48-45 lead. Martiz Washington then tied the game for the fifth time as he drilled a three for Longwood, but McCollum came right back and hit a three of his own to give Lehigh a 48-45 advantage. The teams continued to go back and forth until the nine minute mark when Carter got inside for a basket which put the Lancers on top 66-61. Ojo hit a three and Keefer followed with a jumper though and Lehigh tied things at 66 with 7:42 to go.
With the score 68-67 in favor of the Lancers Lehigh ran off a 16-5 run that gave the Mountain Hawks a ten-point cushion with 2:27 left to play. Carrington’s dunk off yet another assist from Hall with 1:51 remaining made the Philadelphia native the 28th member of Lehigh’s 1,000-point club. The Mountain Hawks did not look back from there and began their two-game road trip on a positive note.
Lehigh remains on the road and will be back in action on Wednesday evening when the Mountain Hawks head to Delaware to take on the Delaware State Hornets. Tip-off from Dover is set for 7:30 and all of the action will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 as well as Lehighsports.com with Matt Kerr on the call. Pre-game coverage gets underway at 7:00.