Posted: January 9, 2010
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Four Mountain Hawks scored in double figures led by senior Zahir Carrington who posted a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds as Lehigh opened the 2010 Patriot League slate with a 78-67 victory over American on Saturday evening at Stabler Arena. The win is the Mountain Hawks’ sixth in a row and improves them to 10-6 overall while AU falls to 3-13 following the setback. Joining Carrington in double figures for Lehigh were classmate Marquis Hall with 17 points and freshmen Gabe Knutson and C.J. McCollum with ten apiece.
Lehigh shot an even 50% for the game (27-of-54), but hit on only 1-of-6 shots from beyond the arc. Led by Carrington’s 12 boards the Mountain Hawks out rebounded the Eagles 40-36 with McCollum pulling down seven and Knutson totaling six. Hall handed out six assists while junior Prentice Small dished out three.
American was led on offense by Vlad Moldoveanu who hit 9-of-18 shots en route to a game-high 24 points and he also grabbed 11 rebounds. Stephen Lumpkins added 14 points and Nick Hendra added 13. The Eagles shot 39.7% from the floor and only 29.4% from three-point range.
Bolstered by a 59% shooting performance in the opening half Lehigh raced out to a 40-22 halftime lead. Carrington netted 11 points in the first 20 minutes, while Hall sank three-of-four shots en route to ten points. Hall also dished out a team-best four assists, while Carrington and McCollum led the charge with five rebounds. The Mountain Hawks took good care of the ball committing only six turnovers and they outscored the Eagles 30-14 in the paint.
American was led in scoring by Moldoveanu and Lumpkins with eight points apiece as the Eagles were harassed into a 26% shooting performance, including an 0-for-7 showing from beyond the arc. Like Lehigh American turned the ball over only six times but American’s shooting woes were too much to overcome.
Lehigh led 14-4 seven minutes into the game and maintained a double digit lead for the remainder of the half. Two free throws from Hall at the 5:56 mark put the Brown and White up 29-12 while a McCollum jumper with 5:19 to go before halftime again made it a 17-point game. Following a steal and coast-to-coast lay-up by Hall with 1:48 on the clock the Mountain Hawks were ahead 39-20, while a free throw from Carrington with 38 ticks to go gave Lehigh its first 20-point lead of the night. Lumpkins got inside for a basket just before the half ended sending the teams into the locker rooms with Lehigh ahead by 18.
“I was very pleased with the way we came out tonight and set the tone and really the way we played throughout the entire first half,” Lehigh head coach Brett Reed said afterwards. “That was probably the best 20 minutes of basketball I’ve seen our team play this season.” He added, “I was not surprised that American came back, however. They have too much pride, too much experience and I knew they would not just lay down for us.”
A jumper by Hall off a feed from Carrington with 18:21 to go gave Lehigh a 44-25 lead but American continued to chip away and cut it to a 13-point game on a Lumpkins jumper at the 15:13 mark. A basket by Moldoveanu at the 13:32 mark brought the Eagles within 12 at 49-37 but Lehigh managed to maintain a double-digit lead for the next seven minutes until Moldoveanu sank a three at the 6:48 mark and Lehigh’s lead was down to 60-53. Two free throws by Moldoveanu again brought the Eagles within seven at 62-55 but Lehigh scored five unanswered including a tip-in basket by sophomore John Adams and the Mountain Hawks never looked back.
Lehigh Mountain Hawks Post Game Show
Video Courtesy of Service Electric 2 Sports
Lehigh returns to action on Thursday evening when the Mountain Hawks head to Annapolis, Maryland to take on the Navy Midshipmen at Alumni Hall. Tip-off is set for 7:05 and all of the action will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 as well as Lehighsports.com with Matt Kerr and Jeff Tourial providing the commentary.