March 18, 2013
Patriot League Men's Basketball Postseason Release
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Following its third 20-win season in the past four years, the Lehigh men's basketball team will open postseason play as it travels to Laramie, Wyoming to face the Cowboys in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational. Tipoff on Tuesday is set for 7 p.m. local time (9 p.m. ET) and will air nationally on AXS.TV, which can be found on Service Electric channel 622, DirecTV channel 340, Verizon FiOS channel 569 and Dish Network channel 362.
Lehigh enters a national postseason tournament for the third time in the last four years, along with Patriot League Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2012. The CBI has traditionally featured strong programs, including VCU the year before it made the Final Four along with Butler and Pittsburgh last year (among others). It's a 16-team single elimination tournament until the championship series, which is a best-of-three.
The Mountain Hawks have posted 20 wins and double-digit league victories three times in the last four years. Last time out, Lehigh dropped an 82-69 final at Lafayette in the Patriot League Semifinals. The Mountain Hawks began the game on a 7-0 run before the Leopards pulled ahead by 10. Lehigh went on a 12-4 run the rest of the half to pull within 35-33 after 20 minutes of play. Lafayette went up by as many as 16 in the second half, but the Mountain Hawks wouldn't quit and came within five with more than five minutes still remaining, but the Leopards hit their free throws down the stretch.
Junior Mackey McKnight led the way with 22 points, his seventh-career 20-point game and fifth this season. McKnight knocked down 7-of-12 from the field and 8-of-8 from the free throw line. Senior Holden Greiner scored 16 points to eclipse 1,000 for his career. In doing so, he became the 31st player in school history (and third in his class) to that milestone. Classmate Gabe Knutson also added 10 points to eclipse 1,500 for his career.
Lehigh enters Tuesday's game one win shy of 1,000 in program history. The Mountain Hawks have never faced Wyoming, but did make a trip to Laramie to open the 2005-06 season. Lehigh played three games in three days, losing to Northwestern and Butler with a win against Coppin State in between.
With a win, Lehigh would advance to the CBI Quarterfinals and face the winner of North Dakota State and Western Michigan. The Mountain Hawks would win a national postseason game for a second straight season after beating Duke in the NCAA Tournament last season.
Wyoming enters the CBI with a 19-13 record after starting the season 13-0 as one of only four undefeated teams in the nation. The Cowboys own a big win over #19 (at the time) Colorado. Playing in the challenging Mountain West Conference which featured five NCAA Tournament teams, Wyoming went 4-12 in conference play, beating Nevada before falling to New Mexico in its conference tournament. The Cowboys have lost six of their last seven entering the CBI. Four players average double-figure points, led by injured Luke Martinez (14.5 average in only 12 games). Leona Washington comes in at 12.9 and 8.5 rebounds, Derrious Gilmore at 12.0 points and Larry Nance Jr. at 10.1 points and 6.9 rebounds, respectively. Wyoming owns a strong defense, allowing just 58.4 points per game but scores just 60.6 against Lehigh's 73.3
Lehigh and Wyoming have never played, although the Mountain Hawks did play at Wyoming in a tournament to begin the 2005-06 season. Lehigh lost to Northwestern and Butler, with a last-second win against Coppin State in between.
With a win, Lehigh would advancing to the CBI Quarterfinals and face the winner of North Dakota State and Western Michigan next Monday (Mar. 25).
It is the second time that a Patriot League team plays in a tournament other than the NCAA or NIT. American fell at home against Buffalo in the first round of last year's College Insider Tournament (CIT).
Additional coverage of the game is included below.
Lehigh Game Notes | GameTracker | Audio