Posted: November 10, 2007
ITHACA, N.Y. – Lehigh did everything it could to give first-year head coach Brett Reed a win in his debut on Saturday evening, but in the end a slow start proved to be too much to overcome and the Mountain Hawks fell to Cornell 87-83 at Newman Arena. Sophomore captain Marquis Hall led the Brown and White with 17 points, while senior Bryan White and sophomore Zahir Carrington each chipped in with 16 apiece. Cornell was led by Jason Hartford’s 19 second half tallies, while teammate Ryan Wittman added 15.
Lehigh shot just 41 percent from the field but did sink 58 percent of its shots in the second half. The Mountain Hawks out rebounded the Big Red 44 to 39 led by White’s 12 caroms, while Carrington pulled down seven. Lehigh handed out 13 assists and turned the ball over just ten times, while forcing Cornell into 17 turnovers. The Big Red shot 49 percent from the floor, including 58 percent in the second half. Louis Dale added 12 points for the winners and dished out ten assists.
Lehigh jumped out to a 5-0 lead but quickly fell behind 10-5 and then 18-8 with 8:19 remaining in the opening quarter. Following a three-pointer by Geoff Reeves at the 5:29 mark the Mountain Hawks trailed by 15 points but they were not rattled, cutting it to a five-point game at the half on a three from Hall with just 26 ticks left on the clock.
A three-point play by Carrington which came on a dunk and ensuing free throw pulled the Brown and White into a tie with Cornell at the 18:29 mark of the second. The Big Red responded with an 11-4 run to go in front by seven however, and that lead increased to 11 at the 13:10 clip when Wittman buried a three. But as it did in the second half, Lehigh mounted another comeback, this one beginning with a jumper by White and three straight baskets by Hall to cut it to a five-point contest. Cornell went back up by eight with 9:23 to go and then increased its lead to 11 on yet another three by Wittman with 7:02 left.
A jumper by Matt Szalachowski, and a three by freshman Prentice Small brought Lehigh to within five with 4:45 on the clock, but the Big Red lead quickly ballooned up to 14 points at the 2:02 mark and it looked like Lehigh was done. That was not the case though as Szalachowski sank a three, White and Carrington scored on back-to-back lay ups, Small hit a pair from the line, White scored another two and Small sank another pair from the line to pull the Brown and White to within five points with 29 seconds left. Phil Anderson hit a jumper and following a Cornell free throw Hall drove down for a lay up to make it a two-point game with just two ticks left. That was as close as the Mountain Hawks would get however as Cornell hit two free throws down the stretch and barely hung on for the opening night win.
Lehigh returns to action on Wednesday evening when the Mountain Hawks open up the home portion of their schedule versus the Peacocks of St. Peter’s at Stabler Arena. Game time is set for 7:05 as the two teams meet for the first time since 1955. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by visiting the Lehigh Athletics Ticket Office or by logging onto Lehighsports.com at anytime.