Jan. 17, 2009
Center Valley, Pa. - American and Holy Cross took the early lead in the Patriot League men's basketball race on Saturday, with each team moving to 3-0 in League action with a double-digit victory on the road. All four of Saturday's contests were decided by double digits, with Lafayette and Lehigh each recording home victories.
The Eagles earned their sixth straight victory overall with a 79-49 triumph at Colgate. Holy Cross held off Bucknell for a 68-56 win in Lewisburg in an ESPNU-televised contest. Lafayette took down the remaining unbeaten League squad coming into the day, as the Leopards improved to 2-1 with an 84-69 win against Navy. Lehigh earned its first Patriot League victory by knocking off Army, 77-57.
American (11-6, 3-0) jumped out early and never looked back in a dominating win at Colgate (5-11, 1-2). The Eagles scored the first 15 points of the game to take control, and scored the final six points of the first half to take a commanding 40-20 lead at the break. American went up by as many as 32 points in the second half before settling on the 79-49 final.
The Eagles were led by a huge day from senior Brian Gilmore, who scored a career-high 28 points while also setting a career-high with six three-pointers. Derrick Mercer had a season-high with 16 points. American shot 65 percent on the way to its sixth consecutive double-digit victory, a first for the program since the 1958-59 season.
Colgate, which was playing its first home contest after an eight-game road trip, dropped to 0-5 on its home court this season. Yaw Gyawu led the Raiders with nine points.
Holy Cross (8-10, 3-0) won its third straight game by building a big lead and holding on late against Bucknell (3-14, 0-3). The Crusaders opened up a 30-15 lead at halftime, and went up by 20 after scoring the first five points of the second half. The Bison began to fight back from there, using a 13-2 run to get back in the contest and eventually cutting the Crusader lead to 48-45 with five minutes to play. But Holy Cross responded with four straight points to build the lead back to seven, and hit 14-of-15 free throws in the final three minutes to pull away for the victory.
The Crusaders got a big day from senior point guard Pat Doherty, who was playing just his fourth game after missing the first half of the season with an injury. Doherty tied for the team lead with 18 points while recording seven assists and three steals without a turnover. Andrew Keister also had a big day with his second career double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Crusaders held a 43-28 advantage on the boards, and connected on 31-of-40 foul shots.
Patrick Behan paced Bucknell with 12 points, while G.W. Boon and Jason Vegotsky each had 11 off the bench. Darryl Shazier had six assists without a turnover, and became the first Bucknell player to play all 40 minutes of a regulation-time game since Dan Blankenship did it against Lafayette in 2003. The Bison dropped their eighth consecutive game, and fell to 0-3 in Patriot League play for the first time.
Lafayette (6-11, 2-1) used a strong game-ending run to earn its second consecutive League win and pull into a tie for third place in the standings with Navy (13-5, 2-1). The Leopards opened up a five-point lead at the break, and went up by as many as 12 in the second half before the Mids cut it to two at 61-59 with 6:47 left. Lafayette responded from there, with a 23-10 run to close the game with the win.
Brown led the Leopards with 23 points, while Jared Mintz had 17 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. The 15-point victory was the largest of the season for the Leopards, who are 2-1 in League action for the second straight year. Lafayette had a big day at the foul line, converting on 27-of-30 opportunities, and also made a season-high 54.2 percent (26-of-48) of its field goal attempts.
Navy saw its five-game winning streak come to an end with the defeat. Chris Harris and Kaleo Kina shared team honors with 16 points, while Adam Teague notched 15 points and six rebounds. The Mids allowed an opponent to shoot over 50 percent from the field for the first time in 26 games.
Lehigh (11-6, 1-2) earned its first League victory and snapped a three-game losing streak overall with an impressive performance against Army (4-13, 0-3). The Mountain Hawks built a 19-point lead early in the game, though Army closed the first half with an 11-2 run to make Lehigh's advantage 38-28 at halftime. Lehigh pulled away throughout the second half, eventually building the lead to 20 and cruising to the 77-57 win.
The Mountain Hawks got balanced scoring from three players, with Marquis Hall scoring 20 points, Zahir Carrington tallying 18 and Rob Keefer scoring 14. Hall tied his career-high with five three-pointers and led the Mountain Hawks with eight assists. Lehigh tallied 18 assists on 27 field goals, and committed only 11 turnovers. It shot 48 percent from the field, with a 10-of-20 effort from three-point range.
Cleveland Richard and Julian Simmons led Army with 14 points apiece, but it wasn't enough to keep the Black Knights from their fourth consecutive loss and an 0-3 Patriot League record. Army assisted on 16 of its 21 field goals and had just 13 turnovers, but shot only 36 percent from the floor.
Patriot League play resumes on Wednesday, with Holy Cross going to Navy in the marquee contest of the evening. Lafayette travels to Bucknell and Lehigh goes to Colgate in the night's other action, with American and Army both off.