February 2, 2010 at 8:20 pm #1532
Anything can happen – and most likely will – but with seven down and seven to go, you gotta like our chances when looking over the PL Stat Sheet.
Standings – tied for 1st with a win over the team we’re tied with, the Leopards of Lafayette
Offensive Scoring – 1st @ 76.7ppg
Starting 5 averaging 66.9ppg
Defensive Scoring – 4th @ 67.1ppg
Scoring Margin – 1st @ 9.0ppg
FG% – 3rd @ .456
FG% Defense – 1st @ .385 (only BU and Navy > .400)
3FG% – 2nd @ .402
3FG% Defense – 1st @ .275 (only BU, CU, and Navy > .300)
Rebounding Offense – 1st @ 36.9rpg
TO Margin – 2 @ 1.9pg
4 of our last 7 games will be played at home, including the final 2. Only 2, CU and AU, represent length road trips. The team has already proven it can win on the road with W’s already @ Army and Holy Cross already.
4 in Top 18 in Scoring with CJ @ 20.4, ZC @ 13.6, GK @ 13.6, and MH @ 11.6ppg
3 in Top 10 in FG% with GK @ .567, CJ @ .531, and ZC @ .529
2 in Top 3 in 3FG% with DB @.524 and CJ @ .471
MH – while his scoring output is down this year (18th @ 11.0ppg), the Pre-season POY ranks #2 in Assists @ 5.9pg, #3 in A/TO Margin @ 2.2pg, #6 in Rebounding @ 5.9pg, and #2 in FT% @ .913
Our toughest test may come this Saturday as we take on the Eagles of AU who come into the game winners of three in a row and boast the league’s 2nd best scorer (22.7ppg) and 2nd best rebounder (8.3rpg), Vlad Moldoveanu. Add to that the fact that AU has won 20 in a row at home against PL foes and you’ll see what I mean.
With two teams tied for the lead and three others just one game out of first at the break, there willl be plenty of scoreboard watching ahead. This weekend, for instance, Lehigh fans will be pulling for the Crusaders to trip up Lafayette sending the Easton crew to 5-3 while content in knowing – since they play one another – that either BU or Navy will pick up their 4th loss. The scene will repeat itself six more times between February 10th and 26th as teams jockey for playoff positions and bids to the NCAA and NIT tournaments. It should be fun!February 3, 2010 at 4:34 am #1534
Welcome back LU65…I have missed you!
Perhaps the biggest factor favoring the Mountain Hawks moving into the second half of the Patriot League season is the experience gained by our two star freshman. I get the sense that the game is beginning to slow down for these two guys, and they are just beginning to show their potential.
To add to your statistics, our opponent’s offense against Lehigh against their average has been
-8.8 Holy Cross
In words, with the exception of the debacle at Bucknell, we began the season giving up more points than the our opponent’s offense average and have progressed to consistently holding them below their average–especially in the recent Lafayette and Holy Cross games. Every great team must be committed to playing great defense. It is my hope that this team is beginning to figure that out.
However, for the first half of the season, we are 7th in rebounding defense. So there is still a lot of work to be done. I believe one of the keys is more minutes from the bench for the frontcourt. Our starting forwards are great offense players, but don’t have the size and bulk to defend especially well. Some rest for the starters will also translate into stronger play overall.
I also Like Our Chances and am looking forward with anticipation to March.February 3, 2010 at 5:06 pm #1542
You know who I fear the most? Navy. That’s the only team that can beat us in a shootout, and with their balanced, prolific scoring if they get hot they can beat us anytime anyplace. AU won’t be easy this weekend but it’s a better matchup (in theory) since we have Carrington to get in Vlad’s face.February 3, 2010 at 9:44 pm #1545
Sorry to be away so long. First the board was closed and then it was a birthday cruise to Mexico (yeah, I know, you feel bad), but I’m back and counting down the hours to our next game.
lfnadmin, you’re dead-on, Navy will be trouble. It could come down to whomever takes and makes their last shot. We can only hope our "D" will be on parade that day. Here, we hold the cards (FG Defense: LU .385 vs. Navy .466). The numbers are just as dramatic when shutting down the 3 pt. shot (LU .275 vs. Navy .380).
Mtnhwkfan, I share your concerns over the limited play/contributions from the bench – especially in the forecourt. But, only slightly. I’m trusting the good doctor knows what he’s doing. Some days you just gotta believe. During OOC play we remarked daily on how well the bench was playing and now that it’s crunch time (league play) we’re seeing the front line players take over the spotlight. I’m OK with that. The subs got a good feel for the Lehigh style of play leading up to January 9th and showed what they could do. It proved to be a lot. While their minutes have been curtailed, big time, over the past seven games – especially the forwards (see below), I’m assuming their skills remain sharp and they are being put to the test daily in practice sessions. It’s now time for the starting five to take over. I can’t see the senior trio of MH/DB/ZC wilting down the stretch (hopefully 10 games). They’ve waited three and one half years for this opportunity. After three disappointing campaigns and now standing on the doorstep at 5 and 2, they can no doubt taste it. MH appears content to play quarterback this year, dishing it out to CJ and DB with great regularity. Although, a 15+ point night isn’t out of the question for the leader of this team. He’s done it already vs. American, Army and Bucknell. And, there may be no one better in the league when it comes to drawing a foul in late game situations. He’s just the guy you want at the line where he’s nearly perfect at .913 (21 for 23) in PL play. DB? Who has a better long range eye for the basket? He only leads the league in 3FG% with a quiet .524 (11 for 21). I say give him the ball. Zahir? He’s the glue that holds the team together – be it on the court or from the bench. Fun to watch and listen to, he appears to be a truly good guy and one you’d want to see walk away a champion….. (http://www.lehighsports.com/sports/mbba … se_id=8625). Maybe this will be his year. As for the other members of the starting five, frosh CJ and Gabe, they’re really not freshmen at all. Forty-two career starts between them says so. I’ve never met – albeit briefly in the case of CJ – a more together and unassuming young talent. Pressure? I don’t sense it one bit. Does he ever sweat? If Hall and the others can free him up – which they have done in the past and will no doubt continue to do in the future – he’ll bury his shot (a 2 or a 3) nearly half the time. As for Iowa’s own Gabe Knutson, he shows me more style and substance with each passing game. Love his left handed play around the basket. He and Zahir really have it going in their high-low game. The key to our winning it all may simply be to keep the two of them out of foul trouble.
As for our bench forwards (the biggest area of concern I have), you can only hope they stay injury free (what’s the story with Adams?), fresh, and are ready to contribute at or near the level they did in OOC play when called upon. Here’s a closer look at their numbers during the first seven games of PL play.
Name / PL Points / PL Rebounds / PL Minutes / OOC Minutes
Holden Greiner / 8 / 6 / 41 / 180
John Adams / 9 /14 / 40 / 108
Jordan Hamilton / 3 / 3 / 21 / 40
David Safstrom / 2 / 6 / 20 / 32
Justin Mineri / 2 / 1 / 12 / 134
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