BETHLEHEM, Pa. Josh Miller dribbled the length of the court in four seconds and converted a lay-up as time expired to lift sixth-seeded Army to a 47-46 victory over third-seeded Lehigh in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Tournament Wednesday evening at Stabler Arena.
Miller’s shot, which just beat the final buzzer, lifted Army to its first triumph in a Patriot League Tournament game since 1996, snapping a 10-game losing streak in the conference tourney.
Cleveland Richard led three Black Knights in double figures with 12 points, while Jarell Brown tallied 11 points and Matt Bell added 10.
Army played ferocious pressure defense the entire night, limiting Lehigh to 29.1 percent shooting from the floor.
"We were excellent defensively, from the first minute until the last," remarked Army head coach Jim Crews. "We didn't convert at the foul line very well and we didn't convert inside, but that was a great win for us.
"I'm extremely happy for our seniors. Marshall played a great defensive game, and Matt, Jimmy and Cory just put it on the line the whole time.
"It's great to get this win. It's tremendous for (our team). They are resilient. We had a heart-breaking loss to Bucknell on Senior Day, and the guys just bounced back. They have tremendous leadership (on this team)."
Army’s chances for victory looked bleak after Jose Olivero sank two free throws with four seconds to play, giving Lehigh a 46-45 advantage. The Black Knights called a timeout to set up Miller's heroics.
Army (15-15) led 44-38 with 2:47 left after a jumper by Bell, but an 8-1 Lehigh run gave the Mountain Hawks a 46-45 advantage following Olivero’s free throws.
Lehigh (12-19) quickly erased a five-point halftime deficit with a 7-2 run to begin the second stanza, knotting the score at 26-26 three minutes into the frame. Army scored the next five points to regain a five-point cushion (31-26) with 14:43 to play. Lehigh came right back with seven unanswered points to grab a 33-31 at the 9:31 mark.
Army responded with a 13-5 spurt to take the 44-38 lead.
Olivero and Jason Mgebroff led Lehigh with 11 points apiece, while Marquis Hall added nine for the Lehigh.
Neither team could find the shooting touch early on, as Army began the contest 1-of-10 from the field and Lehigh started 1-of-8 from the floor. After Lehigh went ahead 9-7 at the 9:44 mark following a three-point play by Zahir Carrington, Army responded with a 10-2 run to open up a 17-11 lead with 5:18 to play before halftime.
After Lehigh pulled to within 19-17 two minutes later, Army outscored the Mountain Hawks 5-2 to close the half as the Black Knights led 24-19 at the break.
Army limited Lehigh to 24 percent (6-of-25) shooting from the floor in the opening 20 minutes. Brown and Bell paced Army in the first half, as each player netted six points apiece. Hall led Lehigh with nine points.
The Black Knights will now travel to Lewisburg, Pa., for a Patriot League Tournament semifinal showdown versus second-seeded Bucknell on Sunday. Tip off from Sojka Pavilion is set for 3:30 p.m.