Posted: November 28, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Sophomores Marquis Hall and Zahir Carrington both had career nights, combining for 50 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Mountain Hawks dropped a thrilling double overtime affair versus Quinnipiac 92-88 on Wednesday at Stabler Arena. Hall netted a game-high 27 points, while Carrington hit 11-of-14 shots for 23 points but the Bobcats hit nine more free throws than Lehigh to drop the Brown and White to 3-4 on the season. Quinnipiac put six players in double figures led by Ed Najac’s 17 points as the Bobcats improve to 2-3 overall, with both of its wins coming in double overtime.
“This was a fun game to be involved in, it was a great game if you’re a fan of college basketball,” Lehigh head coach Brett Reed said afterwards. “Of course it would have been nice to come away with a win, but we fought hard every minute out there and had our chances. They made some big shots down the stretch as did we, unfortunately they were the ones that came out on top.”
Lehigh shot 45 percent on the evening, including a 52 percent clip in the second half. Senior captain Bryan White scored 14 points, including the first three-pointer of his career in the first overtime period, to go along with eight rebounds, three blocks and two assists. Freshman Rob Keefer and junior Matt Szalachowski each scored seven points, while Hall handed out a team-high seven assists and Szalachowski dished out five. The Mountain Hawks committed an uncharacteristic 17 turnovers and were out rebounded 53-38 for the game.
Casey Cosgrove and Evann Baker each scored 16 points for the Bobcats, while Justin Rutty and Bryan Geffen added 12 apiece. Najac ripped down a game-high 15 boards, and Karl Anderson and Rutty each pulled down six. Quinnipiac shot 42 percent for the game, and sank 22-of-27 free throws, including a perfect 12-of-12 showing in the overtime sessions.
A three by Hall staked Lehigh to a very early 5-1 lead but Cosgrove sank a three of his own to knot the score at five with 17:47 to go in the opening half. The Bobcats took a seven-point lead when Rutty hit a free throw, but from there Lehigh ripped off a 13-4 run to go in front by three with 4:32 left in the half. The Bobcats took the lead back when Rutty sank a jumper with 1:24 to go and extended to a five-point cushion when Zajac scored on a lay up. Szalachowski buried a jumper of his own with just four ticks left sending the teams into the locker room with the visitors ahead 32-29.
An alley-oop from Hall to Carrington began the second half, and Keefer sank a shot from downtown on the next Lehigh possession as the Mountain Hawks took a two-point lead early in the half. The teams remained close for the next few minutes until Quinnipiac found itself ahead by seven points when Zajac deposited a lay up. Lehigh stormed back with a 15-5 run to go up by three points when Hall sank a three at the 2:17 mark.
A lay up by Phil Anderson with 38 seconds left put Lehigh in front 64-61, and a pair at the charity stripe by White made the score 66-63 in favor of Lehigh with only 17 ticks left. Quinnipiac had time for one last play and it turned out to be a good one, as Bryan Geffen sank a three with eight seconds left to tie the game. Lehigh raced down the court but Hall lost the ball on a spin move and the teams headed for overtime.
The largest lead of the first overtime was held by Quinnipiac with 28 seconds to go following a pair of free throws by Geffen. Lehigh refused to fold however, as Szalachowski came off a screen and buried a three at the top of the key to make the score 78-77 with 22 ticks left on the clock.
Cosgrove hit a pair from the line to put the Bobcats back up by three and Lehigh was forced to make a play. The play the Mountain Hawks needed came from White as he took a pass from Szalachowski and found that he was unguarded. The Florida native let fly and splashed the first three-pointer of his career, sending Stabler Arena into a frenzy. The Bobcats had a chance to win the game but were unable to get a shot off and so the teams headed for a second overtime.
DeMario Anderson sank a jumper with 3:06 left on the clock to put the visitors in front by four, but Hall drove to the basket and scored on a pretty finger roll, got fouled, sank the free throw and Lehigh was down just one. The sophomore guard then hit a jumper to put the Mountain Hawks up 86-85 with 40 ticks to go.
DeMario Anderson answered with a jumper of his own and after Hall hit one-of-two at the line, the teams were tied at 86 with 28 seconds left. Cosgrove was fouled by Hall and hit both of his free throws and following a Lehigh turnover, Anderson hit a pair at the line to put the Bobcats in front 90-86. Szalachowski drove the length of the court and scored on an uncontested lay up, but Baker calmly sank a pair at the line, sending the Bobcats to their second win of the season.
Lehigh returns to action on Saturday when the Mountain Hawks travel to New Britain, Connecticut to take on the Blue Devils of Central Connecticut State. Tip-off is set for 2:00 and live audio coverage can be found on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 as well as Lehighsports.com beginning at 1:30.
Photography, 2007 (c) Greg Fiume