Lehigh 77, Army 57
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lehigh hit 10 three-pointers, including five by Marquis Hall, to score a 77-57 win over Army at Stabler Arena on Saturday night. Sophomore G Julian Simmons and junior F Cleveland Richard each scored 14 points to lead the Black Knights.
Army lost its fourth straight and fell to 4-13 overall and 0-3 in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks snapped a three-game slide, improving to 11-6 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
All 14 of Richard’s points came in the second half. It was his highest scoring output since a career-high 20 points at Dartmouth on Jan. 3. Simmons recorded his sixth double-digit scoring game and fourth in the last five games. Junior G Tyrell Thompson was the third Army player in double figures, tying his career high with 13 points and pulling down a career-best seven rebounds. Junior G Josh Miller scored six points, handed out a season-high eight assists and led the squad with three steals.
Hall led all scorers with 20 points on 6 of 10 shooting. He made five of his eight three-point attempts and dished out eight assists. Zahir Carrington scored 18 points and pulled down six rebounds, snapping his string of three consecutive 20-point games and three straight double-doubles. Rob Keefer rounded out Lehigh’s top scorers with 14 points.
Shooting was again the difference in the game. Army was below 37 percent (.362) for the fourth straight game, while the Mountain Hawks hit 48.2 percent for the game, including a 50-percent mark from long range. Lehigh was the Black Knights’ third straight opponent to hit at least 46 percent of its shots.
The Mountain Hawks got off to a fast start, scoring the first nine points of the contest, all on three-pointers. Army again struggled from the field out of the gate, missing its first five shots and seven of its first eight tries. A three-pointer by Miller cut the Army deficit to 11-5, but Hall responded with his third triple to re-open a nine-point lead with 15:11 left in the half.
An old-fashioned three-point play by Williams brought the Black Knights back within six with 13:45 to go, but the Mountain Hawks scored the next seven points to take a 21-8 lead with 11:52 to go. Lehigh led 25-12 when Carrington completed a three-point play to push the Mountain Hawks’ lead to 16 points. Army responded with a 5-0 lead to climb within 11 points, but Lehigh came right back with eight consecutive points to take a 36-17 advantage, its largest of the half.
Army got back into the game with a 9-0 run. Simmons started the spurt with a three-pointer and Thompson scored the final six points to bring the Black Knights within 10 at 36-26 with 55 seconds left. After a basket by Dave Buchberger, Army held for the last shot and Nelson converted a post-up opportunity to send the Black Knights into the locker room down 38-28.
The Black Knights recovered from their slow start to shoot 37.5 percent from the floor. The 28 points marked their highest-scoring first half since scoring 36 points in the first 20 minutes versus Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 13. Lehigh shot 46.5 percent from the floor in the first half, including 6 of 11 from long range (.545).
Hall and Keefer both reached double figures in the first half with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Simmons was the Black Knights top scorer in the opening stanza with nine markers.
Richard came out firing in the second half, cutting the Mountain Hawks’ lead to seven points with a three-pointer on Army’s opening possession. Richard scored seven of the Black Knights’ first nine points of the half. After Lehigh re-established a 10-point lead, Army was able to get the deficit to single digits twice, but each time the Mountain Hawks responded. Hall’s fifth three-pointer of the half, a 25-footer from the top of the key, extended the lead to 55-42 with 12:07 left, and Lehigh claimed a 15-point advantage on free throws by Carrington.
Army pulled back within 13, but the Mountain Hawks went on a 17-6 run to open up a 75-51 lead with under a minute to go. Simmons and Richard hit three-pointers for the Black Knights with less than 30 seconds remaining, while the Mountain Hawks went 3 for 4 from the line to take the 20-point victory.
Despite eliminating Lehigh from the Patriot League postseason on its home floor each of the past two seasons, the Black Knights have now lost four consecutive regular-season games versus the Mountain Hawks and their last seven regular-season games at Stabler Arena.
The Black Knights have a week to prepare for its home contest with arch-rival Navy on Sunday, Jan. 25. The 12 p.m. contest will be televised live to a national audience on ESPNU. Army and Navy have split the regular-season series each of the past five seasons with the Black Knights winning the first meeting each of those years.
Game Notes: Army used its eighth starting lineup of the season. Tyrell Thompson made his first start since the Princeton game on Nov. 23 ... Lehigh’s 77 points marked the third-highest scoring total by an Army opponent this season and largest since an 80-73 loss at Brown on Nov. 26. It snapped Army’s four-game string of keeping opponents to less than 65 points ... The Mountain Hawks held a 39-33 advantage on the glass. It was the seventh straight game the Black Knights were outrebounded ... Army has made 47 of its 153 shots in the last three games (30.7 percent) ... The Black Knights had three players in double figures for the first time since the Fairleigh Dickinson victory on Dec. 13, a span of six games ... Army has lost three straight road games during Patriot League regular-season play ... The Black Knights do not play another game away from West Point until Feb. 4 at American. Army hosts Navy on Jan. 2, Lafayette on Jan. 28 and Bucknell on Jan. 31.