Lehigh looks to snap skid vs. American Wednesday night

Photo courtesy of Justin Lafleur and Lehigh Athletics
Photo courtesy of Justin Lafleur and Lehigh Athletics

Courtesy of LehighSports.com

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s basketball team returns home on Wednesday looking to snap a three-game losing streak against American who enters with a 4-0 Patriot League mark. The Mountain Hawks have lost three straight games that have all come down to the wire, falling to Boston University (67-66), Army (79-76) and Loyola (72-68). Senior Mackey McKnightscored 17 second-half points last time out, but it wasn’t enough to beat Loyola as the Greyhounds held on.

Loyola took an early lead and went up by as many as seven in the first half, but Lehigh pulled within three after 20 minutes of play. However, the Greyhounds used an 11-0 second-half run to take a 14-point lead, which ultimately proved too much to overcome. The Mountain Hawks stormed back, thanks in large part to sophomore Justin Goldsborough who helped spark the run with eight second-half points. Lehigh pulled within four (58-54) with 6:20 remaining, but the Greyhounds responded to go up eight. The Mountain Hawks continued to chip away, pulling within three (71-68) following a Tim Kempton jumper with four seconds remaining. However, R.J. Williams knocked down the second of two free throws to clinch the victory for Loyola.

Goldsborough finished with a career-high 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting and is now shooting 75.8 percent from the field this season (25-of-33). All 17 of McKnight’s points came in the second half as he knocked down 7-of-13 from the field and 2-of-2 from three-point range. In the process, he moved from 22nd to 20th in school history with 1,153 career points, passing Jared Hess (1,139) and Fred Ketcho (1,145). Kempton and freshman Austin Price reached double-figure points as well, with 13 and 11 respectively. That freshmen duo scored 22 of Lehigh’s 32 first-half points.

Lehigh looks to avoid a three-home home losing streak for the first time since Feb. 21 through 28 of 27 when the Mountain Hawks fell to Bucknell, Holy Cross, then Army (in the Patriot League Tournament). Seventh-year head coach Brett Reed owns a 71-23 career record at home.

American struggled to a 4-7 nonleague record, but has been red hot to start Patriot League play. The Eagles are 4-0 for the second time in school history, winning three of them away from home. Four players average double-figure points for first-year head coach Mike Brennan, who came from Georgetown where he was an assistant coach. He replaced Jeff Jones who became the new head coach at Old Dominion.

The Eagles have won at Bucknell, Holy Cross and Colgate and beating Loyola at home. The Eagles are led by John Schoof (12.3) along with Jesse Reed (12.1), Tony Wroblicky (11.3) and Darius Gardner (11.2). American is second to last in the Patriot League in scoring offense (63.9), but leads the league in scoring defense (60.1). The Eagles had some competitive games in nonleague action, falling at George Mason by only three (63-60) and Ohio State by just 11 (63-52).

The Mountain Hawks have won three straight and seven of the last 10 against American to pull within 22-18 in the all-time series. Lehigh has also won three in a row at home against the Eagles. American’s last win came on Feb. 9, 2012 in our nation’s capital. That marked Lehigh’s final loss until the NCAA Third Round against Xavier. The Mountain Hawks bounced back from that defeat by winning nine straight games capped off by the historic 75-70 win over Duke in the NCAA Tournament. Lehigh and American first met during the 1960-61 season, a 71-61 American victory. Lehigh’s first win came in 1964-65 by a 63-47 final.

The Mountain Hawks hit the road to face Holy Cross on Saturday at 4 p.m. Lehigh remains on the road next Wednesday (Jan. 22) at Navy before hosting Lafayette on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are available online, including a print-at-home option, or by calling the ticket office at 610-7LU-GAME (610-758-4263). Individual game tickets are only five dollars (in advance) and season tickets are also available.

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Date: January 15, 2014
Opponent: American Eagles
Tip-off: 7:00 PM
Arena/Capacity: Stabler Arena/5,600
Location: Bethlehem, Pa.
Lehigh’s Record: 8-9, 1-3 Patriot League
American’s Record: 8-7, 4-0 Patriot League
Series: American leads, 22-18
Radio: Live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM and Lehighsports.com with Tom Fallon and Greg Falkenbach ’72. Pregame coverage gets underway at 6:30 PM
Television: Service Electric 2 Sports
Internet Video: Patriot League Network
Behind Enemy Lines: American Official Website

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