Lehigh soars over Army, 69-44

Lehigh showed why they are in second place in the Patriot League on Saturday against the Army Black Knights. They vaulted to an early lead and coasted to a relatively easy 69-44 vistory over the overmatched Black Knights. The loss was Army's 6th in a row and left them at 1-10 in the Patriot League.

True to the script of past Army matchups, both teams started slowly. About 5 minutes in, Joe Knight, who led Lehigh in the season's earlier matchup with Army, banked a 12-foot shot from the side to give Lehigh an 8-2 lead. After a Jarell Brown jumper cut the lead to 8-4, Knight swished a trey from the top of the circle to give Lehigh an 11-4 lead. Michael Fischman converted a tip-in and Knight hit another 3-pointer, this time from the corner. This gave the Mountain Hawks a 16-4 lead 10 minutes into the game, and put Army in a real hole.

The Black Knights continued to struggle offensively. Matt Bell scored the first 2 points by a Black Knight other than Jarell Brown almost 12 minutes into the game. Lehigh sophomore Bryan White then poured in 2 straight buckets from down low, giving Lehigh a 20-8 lead. A few minutes later, the score was 22-11, when the Mountain Hawks reeled off another 9 in a row, capped by another trey from Joe Knight. With only 2 minutes left in the first half, the scoreboard read Lehigh 31 Army 11. Marshall Jackson answered 2 Bryan White free throws with 2 of his own, making the first half score 33-13. Army was very tentative on offense the entire first half, and only shot 20 percent from the field.

The damage having been done, the second half was played without the game ever really being in doubt. Corban Bates opened the second half with 2 free throws, but then James Anderson scored 2 inside layups, and followed by a Michael Fischman dunk off a Lehigh fast break, the Mountain Hawks led 39-15 just 2 minutes into the 2nd half.

The rest of the second half saw a lot of playing time for players on both benches. From this point on, Army played virtually even with Lehigh, but those watching the game had the sense that Lehigh throttled back their attack somewhat at this point. Army finally started to warm up in the shooting department. Jarell Brown continued to be the go-to option on offense. Dan Borcherdt hit a nice three-pointer. Kenny Brewer made a couple of nice moves to the basket on his way to scoring 4 points. Last, but certainly not least, John Moonshower entered the game with about 7 minutes to play and proceeded to light it up. He scored 9 points, sinking 3 field goals (including a 3) and 2 free throws. But, in the end, Lehigh just was never threatened and coasted to a very easy 69-44 victory.

Lehigh showed it has some talent that the Black Knight just cannot match. Joe Knight, a transfer from High Point, again killed the Black Knights with his quickness, tough defense and outside shooting. He led the Mountain Hawks with 16 points. Bryan White overmatched the Army big men and contributed 9 points. Jose Olivero made some real tough shots while adding 9 points.

For Army, Jarell Brown was once again the leading scorer with 14 points. The only other significant highlights were posted by Moonshower and Brewer.

A very nice pre-game ceremony took place, honoring the lone senior and co-captain Erik Engstrom. Erik has played well this year, showing off a lot of hustle and hard work, traits that will assist him as he enters his military career. Erik will be graduated from the Academy this spring, and we wish him nothing but the best in all his future endeavors.

Army has one more chance to win a home game against a Division I opponent this season. They face the tough Eagles of American University on Wednesday night, Feb 15th, at Christl Arena. The first matchup between these 2 teams this season in Washington, D.C. saw the game go to 2 overtimes before American finally prevailed. Army hopes to gain some revenge and snap its 6-game losing streak at 7 pm on Wednesday.

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