Posted: February 2, 2008
WORCESTER, Mass. – Lehigh saw its four-game winning streak come to a close on Saturday afternoon as the Mountain Hawks fell to Holy Cross by a score of 60-42 at the Hart Center. It was Lehigh’s 12th straight loss versus the Crusaders in Massachusetts dating back to 1998 and drops them to 11-10 overall on the season, 4-3 in Patriot League action. Holy Cross improves to 11-9 overall with the victory and goes to 2-5 in league play. Marquis Hall led Lehigh with 15 points, including a perfect 10-of-10 showing at the free throw line.
Lehigh shot a season low 24 percent from the field, including 2-of-10 from three-point range, while Holy Cross connected on 44 percent of its shots, sinking 50 percent of its three-point attempts. The Crusader were nothing short of dominant on the backboards, pulling down 40 to Lehigh’s 27, led by Eric Meister’s nine. Senior Tim Clifford, who was honored prior to the game for scoring his 1,000th career point recently, led the home team with 16 points, while Kyle Cruze sank two-of-four three-pointers and scored 13. Both teams were sloppy with the ball combining for 41 turnovers, but led by Clifford’s seven blocks, the Crusaders swatted away ten Lehigh shots.
Following a dismal first half performance in which they shot just 26 percent and turned the ball over ten times, the Mountain Hawks trailed 28-17 at the half. Holy Cross’ matchup zone confused Lehigh and limited the touches of Carrington and White down low who combined for just seven points in the opening 20 minutes. The Crusaders also dominated on the backboards, pulling down 20 rebounds to just ten for the Brown and White. Hall joined Carrington as Lehigh’s high scorer with five points, but no other Mountain Hawk scored more than two points.
Cruze led Holy Cross with eight first half points on three-of-six shooting, while Meister, who was questionable prior to the game with a hand injury, scored six on a perfect three-of-three shooting and pulled down four rebounds. Clifford also added six points as the Crusaders shot 44 percent from the field, but turned the ball over 11 times.
Lehigh came out strong following halftime, scoring six of the first eight points to pull within nine, but Clifford answered with a three to put Holy Cross in front 33-23. Another three, this one by Andrew Beinert, put the home team up by 15 with 13:28 to go, and a lay up by Clifford at the 11:02 mark pushed the Mountain Hawks deficit to 16. Lehigh was unable to get within single digits from there, with Holy Cross extending to a 20-point cushion on three separate occasions.
Lehigh now has the week off and will return to action on Sunday, February 10 when the Mountain Hawks travel to the nation’s capital to take on the American Eagles. Tip-off is set for noon as Lehigh looks for its fifth straight win inside Bender Arena. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 as well as Lehighsports.com beginning at 11:30 AM with Jeff Tourial.