Posted: December 8, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Behind an offensive explosion in the second half Lehigh overcame a sluggish opening 20 minutes to down Harvard 70-61 at Stabler Arena on Saturday afternoon. The Mountain Hawks shot 52 percent from the field and scored 48 points in the second half as they pull even at .500 on the season at 5-5. Sophomore Marquis Hall once again led Lehigh on offense with 17 points, while classmate Zahir Carrington added 14 and junior Phil Anderson came off the bench to score a season-high ten points. Harvard put four players in double figures, led by Evan Harris’ 16 tallies as it falls to 4-6 with the loss.
“We told them at halftime to not panic,” Lehigh head coach Brett Reed said afterwards. “We knew we had 20 minutes to get it right and we were able to do just that.” He continued, “The adjustments we made at the half were part strategic, but we knew we had to take care of the ball and we had to start making shots. Phil (Anderson) really stepped up for us with his performance off the bench, he gave us a much needed boost.”
The Mountain Hawks wound up shooting 41 percent for the game, which was brought down by a 28 percent clip in the opening half. Lehigh was strong on the glass, out rebounding its opponent 34-25, led by senior captain Bryan White’s ten boards, while Carrington grabbed six. Hall dished out five helpers as Lehigh registered 15 assists on 22 field goals and forced 17 Crimson turnovers. The Mountain Hawks were near perfect at the foul line hitting 22-of-24, good for 92 percent, while the Crimson hit all of their foul shots, but took only nine.
Despite the slow start Lehigh trailed by only 11 at the 12:34 mark following a jumper by Drew Housman. Lehigh closed to within seven on a Carrington jumper with 8:42 left in the opening half, but the Crimson quickly upped their lead to 13 when Jeremy Lin scored on a lay up. Harvard took a 33-22 lead into the locker room as Lehigh hit only seven first half field goals, but had eight offensive rebounds and 17 total boards to Harvard’s ten.
In the second half, Lehigh looked like an entirely different team and pulled to within five on a three from Anderson at the 15:56 mark. A ferocious dunk by Carrington got the Mountain Hawks to within three, while another three from Anderson tied the score at 39 with 14:57 to go. Lehigh went in front by one following three Hall free throws with 13:54 remaining, but Harvard quickly re-took the lead when Andrew Pusar drilled a three-pointer.
Harvard extended to a six-point advantage with 10:53 to go on a lay up from Harris, but the Mountain Hawks stormed back with an 11-0 run to go up 54-49 at the 6:23 mark. Lehigh led the rest of the way, extending to a lead of as many as 11 points on a pair of free throws from Carrington. With the win Lehigh pulls even at .500 for the first time after ten games since the 2003-04 season.
Lehigh will now have three weeks off for final exams and the holidays before returning to action on December 28 when the Mountain Hawks play host to the Monmouth Hawks at Stabler Arena. Tip-off is set for 7:00 and tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by visiting the Lehigh Athletics Ticket Office, located in Grace Hall, or by logging onto Lehighsports.com at anytime.