Posted: February 10, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After being down 18 points with 4:15 remaining, Lehigh staged a furious comeback and got to within six in the closing minutes, but that was as close as the Mountain Hawks would get, as they fell to American 82-74 on Sunday afternoon at Bender Arena. Four Mountain Hawks hit for double figures, led by Marquis Hall’s 20, while Brian Gilmore scored a career and game-high 26 for the Eagles. With the loss Lehigh falls to 11-11 overall and 4-4 in the Patriot League, while American improves to 14-10 overall and 6-3 in league action as it moves into sole possession of first place.
Following a lay up by Gilmore, American was ahead 73-55 with 4:15 left on the clock, but from there Lehigh did everything it could to pull out the victory. It started with a lay up and a pair of free throws by sophomore Dave Buchberger to bring the visitors to within 14. A lay up from Zahir Carrington made it a 13-point affair, while junior Matt Szalachowski followed with a jumper form the left elbow to bring the Mountain Hawks to within 11 at the 1:26 mark.
A steal and fast break lay up by sophomore Matt Shamis then brought Lehigh to within nine, marking the first time since 56 seconds remained in the opening half that the Brown and White was within single digits. Hall then followed with an off-balance three-pointer that banked in to make it a six-point game, 80-74, with only 23 ticks left. Gilmore sank a pair at the line to put the home team back up by eight however, and following a near-miss by Hall on another three-point attempt, the Eagles were able to barely hang on for the victory.
Both teams shot the ball well throughout the game as American shot 61 percent overall and 59 percent from three-point range, while the Mountain Hawks connected on 48 percent of their field goal attempts. Joining Hall in double figures for Lehigh was freshman Rob Keefer, who tied his career-high with 16 points and White and Zahir Carrington who each netted 11. White pulled down a team-best seven rebounds, while Buchberger and Phil Anderson both totaled five boards. Hall handed out four assists for Lehigh, which made just 14-of-22 free throws and saw its four game winning streak inside of Bender Arena come to an end.
Garrison Carr drilled four three-pointers en route to 22 points for the Eagles, while Cornelio Guibunda added 11. Carr also led the home team in rebounds, pulling down eight, while Derrick Mercer dished out a game-high seven assists.
Carr and Gilmore combined for 30 first half points as American sprinted out to a 42-31 halftime lead. The Eagles hit an incredible 68 percent of their shots, including 60 percent from three-point range led by Carr’s trio of three-pointers. Keefer scored a team-best 11 points for Lehigh, while Hall added nine as the Mountain Hawks shot 50 percent from the field, but pulled down just eight boards.
The Mountain Hawks jumped out to an early 8-2 lead, but from there Carr took over, hitting his first seven shots, all which were heavily contested by Lehigh defenders. The Eagles biggest lead of the opening half was 12 points, which happened on two occasions.
American pulled down 14 rebounds in the first 20 minutes led by Carr’s four while Mercer handed out a team leading four assists. Both teams took good care of the ball, combining for only nine turnovers in the half.
Lehigh returns to action on Wednesday evening as the Mountain Hawks host Navy at 7:00 at Stabler Arena in their first home game since January 26. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by logging onto Lehighsports.com or at the arena box office prior to tip-off.