Posted: November 14, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh earned Brett Reed his first win as a head coach on Wednesday evening as the Mountain Hawks used a total team effort to down Saint Peter’s 60-56 at Stabler Arena. Lehigh was led on offense by captains Marquis Hall (16 points) and Matt Szalachowski (career-high 14 points) as the Mountain Hawks improve to 1-1 on the season. Saint Peter’s, which received 15 points from Raul Orta, falls to 0-2 in the 2007-08 campaign.
“It feels great to get that first win,” Reed said afterwards. “All of the credit has to go to the kids, they followed the game plan and really executed down the stretch.” He continued, “Matt (Szalachowski) was terrific for us tonight, not only with his offense, but also with his defense, particularly with the younger guys. He shuffled the guys through and gave them the correct reads and really came up big for us down the stretch.”
Lehigh came out slow and fell behind by eight points at the 12:45 mark of the first half when Ryan Bacon sank a pair at the free throw line. A lay up by Bacon at the 9:29 mark pushed the Peacocks lead up to ten, but from there, Lehigh went on an 11-2 run capped off by a Phil Anderson jumper with 31 ticks left in the opening half to take a 28-27 lead. Jon Hogga sank a jumper with one second left however, and Saint Peter’s took a one-point lead into halftime.
Lehigh shot 41 percent in the opening half, but just 29 percent from three-point range. The Mountain Hawks turned it over seven times, while Saint Peter’s committed eight turnovers. Szalachowski scored nine of his points in the opening 20 minutes on a perfect four-of-four showing from the field.
With the Peacocks leading 33-30 at the 18:30 mark Hall nailed a three and the game was tied. Lehigh then took the lead on a pair of free throws from Hall and following a lay up by John Gourlay off a feed from Hall, the Mountain Hawks found themselves ahead 37-33. Lehigh’s lead swelled to as many as 12 points at the 11:41 clip when Bryan White scored on a lay up, but the Brown and White was unable to hold the advantage, as Saint Peter’s made a furious comeback, eventually tying the score at 53 with just 2:30 to go when Orta hit two free throws. Lehigh maintained its composure down the stretch though as Hall hit two straight jumpers and then sank three foul shots in the final 1:24 to send the Mountain Hawks to their first win of the season.
Lehigh, which won its first home opener since 2002, grabbed 36 rebounds on the evening, led by White’s seven, while Gourlay and Small each pulled down five. Hall and Small each handed out five helpers, while Hall recorded a pair of steals. The Mountain Hawks shot 40 percent from the field, and sank 75 percent from the foul line including a 14-of-17 in the second half. Saint Peter’s pulled down 38 rebounds led by Akeem Gooding’s ten. The Peacocks shot 36 percent from the field, but did sink seven three-pointers. The Peacocks handed out 13 assists as a team led by Darrell Lampley’s five.
Lehigh returns to action on Saturday evening when the Mountain Hawks travel to Loretto, Pennsylvania to take on the Red Flash of St. Francis (Pa.). Game time is set for 7:00 and all of the action will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 as well as Lehighsports.com.