Posted: January 16, 2008
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – In a game that featured 11 lead changes and seven ties, Lehigh came up on the short end of a 79-69 score versus Navy at Alumni Hall on Wednesday evening. Sophomore Marquis Hall scored 20 points, his first 20-point game since November, but it wasn’t enough as three Middies hit for double figures led by senior Greg Sprink’s 26 points. With the loss Lehigh falls to 7-9 overall and 0-2 in the Patriot League for the first time since 1999. Navy improves to 8-9 overall and 1-1 in league action.
“I told our team that this is Patriot League basketball; it’s going to be physical, it’s going to be a tough test every night out,” first year head coach Brett Reed said afterwards. “When I look at the entire ebb and flow of the game, I don’t think we played that bad. We had some stretches where we struggled to make shots and Navy was able to knock theirs down, but we certainly had a chance to win this game.”
Joining Hall in double digits for Lehigh was classmate Zahir Carrington with 14 points, freshman Rob Keefer with 11 and senior Bryan White with 10. White also pulled down 11 rebounds for his fifth career double-double. Lehigh shot 43 percent from the field for the game, but committed an uncharacteristic 19 turnovers, while Navy connected on 40 percent of its shots, which included 11 three-pointers.
Navy pulled down 40 rebounds led by Sprink’s 11 and as a team, the Mids hit 22-of-27 free throws, including 15-of-19 in the second half. Sprink also handed out a team-high five assists, while Hall dished out a game-high six helpers for the Brown and White.
The two teams combined to take 58 shots in the opening half and after 20 minutes of play were tied at 33. Carrington and Keefer led the Mountain Hawks with nine points apiece, with Carrington’s coming on a perfect three-of-three shooting. White and Hall both scored four points with White pulling down a team-best six rebounds and Hall handing out a team-high three assists. Both teams pulled down 19 rebounds, while Lehigh shot 43 percent, including 60 percent from three-point range and Navy connected on 37 percent of its shots, but only 31 percent from three.
Navy was led in scoring by Kina’s 12 first half tallies, while Sprink scored nine points and ripped down six boards. The two teams combined for 16 first half turnovers as the play got sloppy at times, which was the result of Navy’s fast paced tempo.
In the second half the game continued to go back and forth with Navy scoring the first eight points before Lehigh scored the next nine points to go ahead one on a three from Hall at the 14:26 mark. After Navy re-took the lead, freshman Michael Ojo drilled a jumper from the baseline to tie the score at 49, which ignited a 10-2 Mountain Hawk run that put them in front 59-53 with 8:44 remaining on the clock. Navy clawed its way back and surged in front with an 11-3 run that ended with a three from Chris Harris with 5:00 left.
From there Lehigh would get no closer, as Navy was able to hold off any hopes of a Mountain Hawk rally. Harris sealed the win with his fifth three pointer of the night with 1:40 on the clock that put the home team in front 72-65. The Mids sank seven free throws in the final 43 seconds to help them to their first league win of the season.
Lehigh returns to action on Sunday afternoon when the Mountain Hawks travel to West Point to take on the Black Knights of Army at Christl Arena. Tip-off is set for 3:00 and all of the action will be broadcast live on 91.3 FM WLVR beginning at 2:45 with Matt Kerr and Lehigh Athletics Hall of Famer Greg Falkenbach ’72 providing the commentary.