Posted: January 6, 2008
BETHELEHEM, Pa. – Behind career-highs from sophomore Zahir Carrington (27 points) and freshman Rob Keefer (16 points), Lehigh downed Princeton 68-49 on Sunday afternoon at Stabler Arena. The win was Lehigh’s first over the Tigers since 1930 and snapped a 23-game losing streak against the New Jersey school. The win also improves the Mountain Hawks record to 7-7 on the season, marking the first time since the 2003-04 season that Lehigh will enter league play with at least a .500 record. Princeton falls to 2-11 with the loss, the Tigers’ eleventh consecutive loss.
Lehigh head coach Brett Reed offered his thoughts on Carrington following the game. “It’s a consistency thing for him. He had a big game tonight, but other times this season he’s been limited by fouls. We need him to be consistent and to stay on the floor every night out there.”
Reed then went onto add his thoughts on Princeton. “They’ve had a tough schedule but tonight they caught us when we were energized and ready to play.”
“Every game is one in itself,” Carrington said afterwards. “We don’t get caught up in history in terms of losing last year. I do remember that wasn’t a good feeling but I don’t get too motivated by that.”
Carrington's 27 points were the most points scored by a non-guard at Lehigh since Jay Hipps netted 27 vs. Colgate on February 13, 1991.
Lehigh shot 45 percent from the field for the game and 89 percent from the foul line while holding Princeton to 37 percent shooting and only 36 percent from three-point range. Lehigh pulled down 33 team rebounds led by Carrington and senior Bryan White with six apiece, while Marquis Hall once again led the Brown and White in assists, with six. Lehigh marched to the foul line 26 times, and sank 23, while as a team the Mountain Hawks committed only 11 turnovers and forced the Tigers into 17. Princeton was led in scoring by Nick Lake and Kareem Maddox, who both scored eight points.
Keefer reached his career-high in the first 20 minutes as he went a perfect five-of-five from the field en route to 14 points as Lehigh raced out to a 41-19 halftime lead. Carrington also hit for double figure in the opening half with 16 points on six-of-ten shooting to go along with five rebounds, while White added six points. The Mountain Hawks shot 58 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range, while holding the Tigers to 33 percent shooting. Princeton was led in scoring by Lake who sank two three-pointers and scored six points.
Lehigh jumped all over the Tigers right from the start taking a 15-3 lead in the first 5:36 on the strength of six points by Carrington. The lead swelled to 14 on a Carrington jumper at the 9:24 mark and following a jumper by Keefer with 8:41 to go, the Brown and White was ahead 25-9. Following the under-four minute media timeout Lehigh scored 11 of the game’s next 17 points to take a 22-point lead into intermission, its largest halftime lead of the season.
In the second half Lehigh picked up right where it left off extending to a 25-point cushion when Carrington hit a jumper with 16:17 to go in the game. The Mountain Hawks led by at least 20 points for the majority of the second half, except for when Lincoln Gunn drilled a three with 3:33 remaining to make the score 61-43 in favor of Lehigh. Every player on the Lehigh roster saw time on Sunday as the Mountain Hawks improved to 6-1 at home this season.
Lehigh returns to action on Saturday when the Mountain Hawks open league play versus the American Eagles at Stabler Arena. Tip-off is set for just after 7:00 and tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by logging onto Lehighsports.com or at the arena box office prior to tip-off.