Posted: November 19, 2004
– Lehigh newcomer Joe Knight scored 23 points in his Lehigh debut, but it wasn’t enough as Penn State
downed the Mountain Hawks by a 73-64 score in front of 6,891 at the Bryce Jordan Center
on Friday night.
Down by nine points with just 1:20 remaining, Lehigh made a furious comeback attempt, cutting the deficit to three at 65-62 – but the rally ultimately fell just short.
The win improves the Nittany Lions’ record to 2-2 on the season, while Lehigh falls to 0-1.
In the first half, the Nittany Lions came out strong, sinking their first two three-point field goal attempts. Meanwhile, Lehigh opened its season ice cold, missing on its first six field goal opportunities in the new season. However, the Mountain Hawks used strong defensive play to keep the game close, and Lehigh began to rally.
Knight, a junior, sank four first half three’s to help Lehigh erase an eight point deficit, and claim its first lead of the night. Knight finished his first half at Lehigh with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting. As a team, however, Lehigh struggled from the floor, shooting just 33% (10-of-30) in the first half. Two Penn State players in double figures (Aaron Johnson with 11 and Marlon Smith with 10) helped the Nittany Lions take a 31-27 advantage into halftime.
In the second half, the Nittany Lions took advantage of nine Mountain Hawks second half turnovers to build an 11-point lead (51-40) with 8:11 remaining. Although Penn State struggled at times from the free throw line, the home team attempted 42 shots from the charity stripe and finished 8-of-8 from the line as they hung on for the win.
Knight led Lehigh’s offensive efforts for the game, pouring in 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Sophomore Kyle Neptune scored 13 for the Mountain Hawks, while pulling down five rebounds. Classmate Jason Mgebroff added ten points and two blocked shots before fouling out.
The Mountain Hawks shot 41% from the floor on the night, and the Brown and White sank six of eight free throw attempts. By contrast, Penn State shot just 37% on the night, but 27-of-42 free throws proved to be the difference.
Aaron Johnson scored a game high 25 for the Nittany Lions, and he was one of four Penn State players to score in double figures in the game.
Lehigh returns to action on Sunday night, when the Mountain Hawks visit LIU. Action gets underway at 7:00 from Brooklyn, with live audio coverage on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320, as well as on the Lehigh web site at lehighsports.com.