HC (13-19, 8-13) ranked 180th
LU (17-14, 15-5) ranked 163rd
LU wins by 10 (72-62)
This Season’s History
LU won on the road 87-66 on January 16th
Coach’s Comments: “I was really pleased,” said Lehigh head coach Brett Reed. “Our guys had more of an attack mentality where they didn’t want to let it up. You knew Holy Cross was going to make a little bit of a run. They tried to field Alexander in the post and Husek made some perimeter shots, but our defense held strong. We ended up making some slight adjustments and we forced them into one-and-done. We didn’t give up a ton of offensive rebounds. To hold a team to 38 percent for the night and only give up six offensive rebounds, it’s a positive sign for us when we struggled to rebound in the beginning of the year. Every time Austin got the ball, it was a pretty clean look and he was in great rhythm,” said Reed. “The ball was smooth off his finger tips. I don’t think he hit much rim tonight; everything was net. He was in the zone and was making shots. Credit to his teammates for finding him the open opportunities, for swinging the ball against the zone defense and obviously for Austin being ready with his footwork and confident enough to shoot confidently and make good shots.”
LU won at home 64-59 on February 15th
Coach’s Comments: “It’s not every day that you can play far less than your best and still come away with a win,” said Lehigh head coach Brett Reed. “Holy Cross played a good game. We were grinding for a long time and were just waiting for that ball to go into the basket. We never really quite hit that big surge with the offensive explosiveness, but we stayed the course, we didn’t panic and we were able to come away with a win. There’s something to be said for that.”
The Crusaders, this year’s 9th seed, had lost their last five regular season games before picking up three straight tournament wins over Seeds 8, 1, and 4 to advance to the Championship Game. It’s not often that a team seeded 9th wins their way into the Big Dance – in fact, it has never before happened over the admittedly short time span of the Patriot League. HC has, however, won it before but coming out of either the 1 or 2 slot. The same goes for Lehigh, winning it twice (03-04 and 09-10) as the top seed and once (11-12) as the #2 seed. Should HC prevail on Wednesday, they’ll most certainly enter March Madness as a “Play–in” participant whereas some think, as Joe Lunardi says, we’ll be a clean choice at #16 and face #1 North Carolina in Raleigh.
Holy Cross knocked-off Army (0-5 all-time vs. Holy Cross in PL Tournament play) in the Semi’s on Sunday by the unimaginable score of 60-38. It prompted AWP Head Coach, Zach Spiker to simply say, “Credit goes to Holy Cross, they were able to play with a great deal of energy and it was tough to get the right guys the right looks. It’s certainly not the outcome any of us wanted. “That bit about “right guys the right looks” smacks of the much talked about the highly touted HC 1-3-1 defense. Will it stifle us tomorrow? I’m betting it won’t. I’m especially liking 90’s take on the baseline “drive and dish” tactic so familiar to us and, more importantly, so well-executed any number of times this season by KL and JC. I’m thinking/hoping/praying – call it what you want – that we’ll be well prepared, thru what has proven itself to be a blend of coaching and scouting excellence down the stretch, to deal with whatever HC throws against us. Funny, no one is talking about the thought: “Will Holy Cross be ready for us?” After all we do have five double-digit scorers in our starting lineup, boast an overall FG% rate of .479 (league best) compared to HC’s .403 (league worst), hit the “3” at .435 compared to HC defense of the “3” at .381, lead in Rebounding Margin +3.8 to – 4.7, have seniors hungry to reach the Big Dance who just happen to be playing at their best, lay claim to having the PL Player of the Year, and have awaiting their arrival on Sunday a newfound and raucous crowd (1730 Navy, 2225 American, and ? tomorrow) ready to cheer us on. It’s a pretty big mountain HC must climb. In short, our best – even a bit less – should be good enough. Let’s hope I’m right.