BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s basketball team wraps up the first round of Patriot League play when it travels to Army on Sunday to face the Black Knights. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. in Christl Arena. The Mountain Hawks are off to their best start in league play since the 2005-06 season (when Lehigh began 11-1). Sunday marks the second of three straight road games as Lehigh will return to action at Holy Cross Saturday (Feb. 9).
The Mountain Hawks have impressed on the road this season, winning seven of their last eight away from home after dropping their first two (at Baylor and Pittsburgh). Lehigh beat Navy on Wednesday, 71-49, for its sixth straight win over the Midshipmen and third straight at Alumni Hall. Sophomore Stefan Cvrkalj led the way with 18 points (just two shy of his career-high). That included 5-of-9 from three-point range, becoming the first Mountain Hawk with 5+ threes in a game since C.J. McCollum had six vs. Bryant. Cvrkalj became the seventh different Mountain Hawk over the last nine games to lead the team in scoring.
Senior Holden Greiner enjoyed a strong performance with 12 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth-career double-double and second in his last four games. Junior B.J. Bailey also added 10 points for his third straight double-digit scoring game while junior Mackey McKnight tied a career-high seven assists. Leading 18-16 with less than three minutes remaining in the first half, the Mountain Hawks went on a 10-2 run to open a 28-18 lead at the half. Lehigh created more distance in the second half, taking as much as a 24-point lead before winning 71-49, the Mountain Hawks’ fourth win this season by 20 or more points.
This weekend ends round one of Patriot League play as Lehigh kicks off the second round next Saturday at Holy Cross. Sunday features a matchup of the top two offenses in the league; Lehigh is first averaging 75.4 points per game with Army second (73.4). The Mountain Hawks are tied for first in the league standings (with Bucknell), owning identical 5-1 league marks. The Bison came back late in Wednesday’s game at American, winning at the buzzer to keep pace with Lehigh. Lafayette stands a game back at 4-2.
A number of possible milestones are right around the corner as head coach Brett Reed needs just four wins to become Lehigh’s all-time leader in victories (currently at 109 wins while Tony Packer holds the record with 112). In addition, the Mountain Hawks are seven wins away from the 1,000th victory in program history.
Army has enjoyed an up-and-down season, entering with a 10-11 record and 3-3 in Patriot League play. The Black Knights have won two straight (over American and Holy Cross) and three of their last five. Army also beat Lafayette 77-54 while falling to Bucknell, Navy and Colgate. The squad started four freshmen and a senior in Wednesday’s big win at Holy Cross. Senior and preseason All-Patriot League honoree Ella Ellis leads the way with 16.9 points per game. He’s followed by freshman and three-time Patriot League Rookie of the Week Kyle Wilson with 12.9. Josh Herbeck has been out due to injury and is day-to-day; he’s averaged 9.8 points in 10 games (six starts). Dylan Cox leads the team in rebounding (5.5) and assists (68) in 21 games (all starts).
Army leads the all-time series, 60-35, but the Mountain Hawks have impressed as of late. Lehigh has won three straight games against Army and six of its last seven. Most recently, the Mountain Hawks pulled out a thrilling 74-72 overtime win at Christl Arena last Feb. 25 as John Adams hit the go-ahead three-pointer with just 11 seconds left in overtime. Lehigh won the first-ever meeting between the two sides back in 1906-07 (26-24 final).
Lehigh begins the second round of Patriot League play Saturday at Holy Cross. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. The Mountain Hawks return home on Wednesday, Feb. 13 against American at 7 p.m.
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February 3, 2013
Army Black Knights
West Point, N.Y.
15-5 overall, 5-1 Patriot League
10-11, 3-3 Patriot League
Army leads, 60-35
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