Offensive explosion propels Lehigh to victory
Posted: January 2, 2004
Bethlehem, PA – Senior Austen Rowland scored a career high 23 points and Lehigh used a 29-4 run that was sparked by a Kevin Tempest three point shot at the end of the first half as the Mountain Hawks came away with a 64-59 victory over Wagner on Friday evening at Stabler Arena. Lehigh connected on 50 percent of its shots from behind the three-point arc, and scored 18 points off of Wagner turnovers. The Mountain Hawks improve to 7-5 on the season, while the Seahawks fall to 3-7.
After coming out slow to begin the game, the Mountain Hawks struggled to find their game, as they trailed for the entire first half. But Tempest’s three at the end of the half seemed to ignite the Lehigh offense. Rowland scored only seven points in the first half and he also dished out two assists. Junior Earl Nurse also scored seven points in the first stanza on his way to a career high 13 on the evening. Fellow junior Nick Monserez grabbed a team high three rebounds in the half and added a steal. For the Seahawks, Courtney Pritchard pumped in 11 first half tallies, handed out three assists and ripped down five boards. Wagner shot 39 percent and Lehigh connected on 31 percent of its shots.
The second half was full of fireworks, as Lehigh came out and bombarded Wagner with a 26-4 run to begin the period, igniting the crowd time and time again, with spectacular shooting, in your face defense and unselfish team play. Rowland scored ten points in the run, including two three-pointers, and he continually got himself into the lane and to the rim. The Mountain Hawk lead swelled to 17 points at the 9:28 mark and it appeared as though Lehigh was ready to blow the Seahawks right out of the gym. But Pritchard and the Wagner offense caught fire and unleashed an offensive attack of its own. Wagner chipped away at the Lehigh lead with Pritchard netting 11 points, including thee three-pointers, and Wagner cut the lead down to three. However, Rowland, like he did all night, took control and slowed the offense down, got himself to the rim and helped seal the victory.
For the night, Lehigh hit only 36 percent of its shots, but had six steals, 39 rebounds, and only five turnovers. The Mountain Hawk defense was also as stingy as it has been all season, forcing 12 turnovers and holding the Seahawks to 35 percent shooting. Sophomore Mitch Gilfillan hit two huge three pointers during the Lehigh run and played solid defense all night long.
Lehigh will return to action on Tuesday, when the Mountain Hawks travel to Ithaca to take on Cornell. Game time is slated for 8:00 and all of the action can be heard on Oldies 1470 WKAP and worldwide on the Lehigh website.