Posted: 03/02/2013 | Last updated: March 2, 2013 at 06:25 PM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Up 16 in the second half, Army came back to pull even, but senior Holden Greiner scored 14 of his 24 points in the final 3:24 to lead the Lehigh men’s basketball team past Army, 81-75 on Saturday afternoon. Greiner was celebrating his Senior Day along with four other Mountain Hawks prior to their final regular season home game in the Brown & White. Lehigh improved to 10-4 in Patriot League play and 20-8 overall, its third time to 20 wins in the past four seasons. The Mountain Hawks will enter the upcoming Patriot League Tournament as the #3 seed and host sixth-seeded Colgate on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
“Holden was sensational,” said Lehigh head coach Brett Reed. “It was fitting on Senior Day to have a senior carry us - have the defensive resolve to get stops, some key steals and deflections. He contributed from the free throw line and got key buckets when we needed it. I thought he carried us in a critical situation. We really needed that offensive spark, especially as effective as Army was scoring the basketball.”
Greiner’s 24 points came on 7-of-11 shooting and 8-of-10 from the free throw line. He also added a career-high 14 rebounds for his sixth-career double-double and fourth this season. Greiner also added a career-high five assists and four steals. Three other Mountain Hawks posted double-figure points, including a career-high 11 from freshman Justin Goldsborough and 10 each from junior B.J. Bailey and sophomore Corey Schaefer. Schaefer’s 10 came on a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor. Senior Gabe Knutson added nine points while junior Mackey McKnight had eight.
“I thought there was some unselfish, excellent basketball being played,” said Reed. “I was pleased with Justin’s contributions, but when you think about it, we had multiple contributions from so many different people at different times in the game. You could go on and on and on with a number of people who ultimately helped us.”
Ella Ellis led Army with 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting, his second straight game with 30 or more points. Kyle Wilson added 16 for the Black Knights.
Lehigh’s seniors led the way in the early going as they combined for the first nine points. Cory Goodman got the scoring started less than a minute into the game while Greiner added a three, Knutson hit a jumper and Bailey knocked down two free throws. Bailey is expected to graduate in May and was honored before the game, but could still return for next season if he chooses.
Leading 11-7, Army responded with an 11-3 run capped off by an Ellis layup midway through the first half to take an 18-14 lead.
Lehigh responded with a 6-0 run capped off by an Anthony D’Orazio jumper with 8:01 remaining. The run extended to 13-2 as the Mountain Hawks scored seven in a row after the Black Knights pulled even at 20. A Goldsborough layup made it 27-20 with 4:36 on the clock.
Army pulled within two at 27-25, but Lehigh scored seven of the last nine first-half points as a Goldsborough dunk off a Greiner feed made it 34-27 after 20 minutes of play.
Greiner led the way with 10 first-half points. All nine Mountain Hawks who played in the first half scored. Ellis posted 11 of his 30 points in the first stanza. Lehigh shot 46 percent (13-of-28) and 36 percent from long range (4-of-11). Army shot 36 percent (10-of-28) and 33 percent from long distance (4-of-12).
The Black Knights pulled within four to start the second, but a Bailey jumper and three straight points from Knutson gave Lehigh a 39-30 lead with 16:48 on the clock. Leading 44-35, the Mountain Hawks staged a 9-2 run to open their largest lead of the game at 16 (53-37) with 13:04 on the clock. That included eight points from Schaefer in the span of 1:32 via a pair of threes and a driving layup.
Army wouldn’t go away as it scored 25 of the next 34 points to pull even at 62 following a Wilson three-point play with 4:33 remaining.
Lehigh wouldn’t flinch as Goldsborough immediately answered with a free throw then Greiner added two from the charity stripe to begin a stretch of 14 points over the game’s final 3:24. Leading 69-68, Greiner scored six straight points which included a fastbreak dunk to make it 72-68 and layup to make it 75-68 with 54 seconds to go. Greiner went on to score four more points from the line in the final minute in a Senior Day to remember.
Lehigh finished at 51 percent from the field (27-of-53), its third straight game over 50 percent. The Mountain Hawks were 44 percent from long range (7-of-16). Army came in at 46 percent (27-of-59) and 42 percent from three (10-of-24). Lehigh won the battle of the boards, 32-30.
“This was a perfect game for us, to be in a pressure situation yet show the unity and resolve to pull through,” said Reed. “To demonstrate to ourselves that we could do it against a team that’s pretty good. If we pull together and get the stops, what a difference it ultimately can make. I think it’s a great sign heading into the postseason. We had to perform at a high level which is what we’ll need to do in the Patriot League Tournament.”
The Mountain Hawks will host Colgate in a Patriot League Quarterfinal game next Wednesday (Mar. 6) at 7 p.m. in Stabler Arena.
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