Feb. 8, 2014
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -
Lehigh University never trailed and gradually upped its lead on Saturday afternoon in Patriot League men's basketball action, defeating visiting Loyola University Maryland, 66-52, in Stabler Arena.
Both teams shot 33.3 percent from the field, but the Mountain Hawks (13-12 overall, 6-6 Patriot League) outrebounded Loyola (10-12, 5-7), 45-30, and they went 26-of-30 from the free-throw line.
Loyola started poorly on the offensive end, turning the ball over on four of its first five possessions; the one possession without a turnover, it was a missed layup that led to a zero sum for the Greyhounds.
Lehigh, meanwhile, did not jump out quickly, leading just 5-0 despite the Greyhounds' offensive problems. The Greyhounds got back within a point less than five minutes into the game, 7-6, on an Eric Laster free throw, but that was as close as they would be until there was 6:46 on the first-half clock and Nick Gorski converted a basket in the paint to make it 15-14.
The Mountain Hawks, however, pushed out to a six-point halftime lead, 27-21.
Layups on back-to-back possessions by Jordan Latham cut the Loyola deficit to 29-27, 2:34 into the second half, but Lehigh scored 10 of the next 12 points, and Stefan Cvrkalj made it 39-29 with 13:27 to play.
Two Latham free throws - he finished with 13 points - brought the Mountain Hawks' lead back into single digits momentarily, but Corey Schaefer connected on a three to make it a 12-point lead.
Laster, who led all players with a career-high 17 points, scored five in a row with a 3-pointer and layup to make Lehigh's lead six, 42-34, at 11:35. That was, however, as close as the game would be until the end.
Jesse Chuku scored Lehigh's first 10 points and led the Mountain Hawks with 15 points, while Tim Kempton had 14 despite seven turnovers.
Latham matched his career-high for the second game in a row with four blocked shots, and Denzel Brito had a season-high nine points to go with four assists without a turnover.
Despite the early turnovers, Loyola finished with just 11 to Lehigh's 14.
Loyola returns to the Lehigh Valley on Wednesday, February 13, to face Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., at 7 p.m.