Posted: February 29, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Sophomore Marquis Hall scored 23 points, including 11 in the final five minutes of play as Lehigh downed Holy Cross 65-58 in comeback fashion on Friday evening at Stabler Arena. Senior captain Bryan White added 14 points and a team-high seven boards in his final regular season home game as the Mountain Hawks improve to 14-14 overall and 7-7 in the Patriot League. It marks the first time since the 1990-91 season that Lehigh won back-to-back games during the last week of the regular season. Senior Tim Clifford scored a game-high 25 points for the Crusaders who fall to 15-13 overall and 5-9 in league action.
“We stepped up our defense over these past two games,” White said afterwards. “It feels great to get a win in my last regular season game here (at Stabler Arena) and we are very confident now heading into the tournament next week.”
White then commented on the play of Hall. “I call him Mr. Fourth Quarter. He stays so calm and comes up so big. I’m never surprised at anything that guy is able to do.”
Lehigh connected on 38 percent of its field goal attempts for the game, while Holy Cross hit on 41 percent of its shots. The Mountain Hawks out rebounded the Crusaders 38-29 led by White’s seven, while sophomore Carrington also pulled down seven and Hall ripped down six. Hall dished out a game-high seven assists and committed just one turnover in 34 minutes of action, while freshman Rob Keefer continued his strong play with 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
The Mountain Hawks were once again very solid from the foul line, sinking 21-of-28 at the stripe, good for 75 percent. The Crusaders hit 78 percent of their attempts, sinking 14-of-18 along the way.
Holy Cross opened up an early 10-4 lead following a pair of free throws by Cunningham. A three-point play from Carrington brought Lehigh to within a point at 10-9 at the 11:53 mark, but the Crusaders scored eight of the game’s next 11 points to take an 18-12 lead with 8:23 remaining in the half.
Lehigh got to within one again when White sank a jumper off of an assist from Hall at the 4:31 mark. A three-pointer by Holy Cross’ Pat Doherty extended to a five-point lead for the visitors, but a pair of free throws by Hall and a Keefer lay up off yet another Hall assist brought the Brown and White to within one with 2:22 to go. Five straight points by Holy Cross to close out the first gave it a 32-26 at halftime though.
Holy Cross got up nine after Clifford hit a lay up at the 17:32 mark, but from there Lehigh ripped off six straight to cut it to a 36-33 game with 13:30 left on the clock. The two teams traded buckets for the next several minutes before Hall drained a three-pointer to give Lehigh its first lead of the night at 44-42 with 6:09 left on the clock. The smooth sophomore then hit a pair of free throws and another trifecta to put the Brown and White up 49-42 with exactly five minutes to play.
Holy Cross pulled to within four after a pair at the stripe from Cunningham and got to within four again when Clifford scored on a lay up with 1:57 to go. But Lehigh’s defense held strong down the stretch and the Mountain Hawks continued to sink their free throws as they won their 11th game at Stabler Arena this season, tying for second most in school history.
Lehigh Athletics would like to thank the following groups for coming out to Friday's game and showcasing their various talents: Pleasant Valley High School band, Bethlehem Catholic High School cheerleaders, and the Saucon Valley High School jazz chorus.
Lehigh returns to action on Wednesday evening as the Mountain Hawks take on the Army Black Knights at Stabler Arena in the opening round of the 2008 Patriot League Tournament at a time to be determined. These two teams met last season in the quarterfinal round of the PLT with the Black Knights emerging victorious in a much-publicized controversial ending.