A good win – not a great win.
As expected following the 12 day exam break there was a little rust to deal with. Sluggish doesn’t begin to tell the story. Zahir, back after missing 3 1/2 games, missed a couple of easy looks early on and Lehigh went on to miss-fire on their first 7 field goal attempts. Dave Buchberger finally got us going with a layup at the 15:49 mark and a jumper moments later to put us in the lead and the team never looked back – leading by as much as 20 in the second half.
Dartmouth struggled to hit their shots (25% from three and 38.3% overall) – not that we did much better. After missing those first 7 from the field, we did approach 40% overall, but nothing to get too excited about. What was good to see was:
a. The return of "Z" who tallied 8 points, 5 boards, 6 resounding blocks and 2 steals. It was if he was never away. He played at full-throttle despite what had to be two full rolls of tape wrapped around his left knee.
b. Marquis Hal’s 5 for 10 shooting, 17 points, 5-5 from the line and customary fine management of the game. It was if he shot the ball only when needed, looking for better options throughout the game. In fact, he had 0 first half points. But, when it appeared that Dartmouth was intent on making a run at us, he stepped up to put an end to that idea with four consecutive baskets (two 2’s and two 3’s) in a three minute span of the second half to stymie their efforts.
c. Michael Ojo stroking 3’s, positioning himself well for rebounds and nailing his foul shots (6-6) with two in the final 60 seconds to salt away the victory. Ojo is a fun character who can get his bench and fans cheering. Yeah, too bad there were on 600 or so (29 students – actual head count….the others were no doubt headed home for the holidays) on hand last night to enjoy the holidays.
d. Freshmen producing 18 pts., 19 rebounds, in a combined 73 minutes of play.
e. McCollum and Keefer taking it to the basket looking to get to the line where they are they are converting at a rate of .844 and .769, respectively. The team itself is averaging .754 from the foul line.
f. Knutson’s aggressive play under the boards in a 10 rebound game (season high).
g. Up-tempo/push the ball style of offense yielding 16 fast break points.
h. Bench spirit. Maybe it’s just that the players were glad to be back home on the court after finishing a round of exams, but it was a pretty lively scene last night watching Adams, Mineri and Hamilton ride – in a good nature way – the guys, especially freshman Greiner, the guys on the court .
i. Turnovers – 7
j. Steals – 8
It wasn’t all pretty, however. We got out-rebounded again (this time 43 to 35), lost our focus once the lead got up to 20, and missed too many open opportunities. Play that way again on Sunday and we’ll be no threat to St. Joseph’s.