Lafayette's Tony Johnson
Nov. 12, 2012
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Three teams squared off with opponents picked in the top half of the Northeast Conference squared on Monday, and the night ended up providing a statement for the Patriot League as Lehigh, Lafayette and American all topped their regional foes.
The wins came at home, away and on a neutral court. Lehigh routed Robert Morris 89-60 in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off at the University of Pittsburgh, Lafayette went to overtime for a 98-94 win at home against NEC preseason favorite LIU-Brooklyn and American went on the road for a 61-55 victory at Quinnipiac.
The Mountain Hawks (1-1) led by 15 at halftime as they cruised to an easy first victory of the season in the 89-60 triumph. C.J. McCollum led a balanced scoring effort with 19 points, as Mackey McKnight (15), Gabe Knutson (12), Holden Greiner (12) and Stefan Cvrklaj (11) also finished in double figures. Lehigh made 31-of-60 shots in the game, including 11-of-24 from three point-range, and forced 21 Robert Morris turnovers.
Lafayette (1-1) sophomores Dan Trist and Seth Hinrichs combined for 50 points as the Leopards won the shootout with LIU-Brooklyn. Trist had a career-high 30 on 14-of-18 shooting while Hinrichs added 20 as the Leopards made 34-of-64 shots and 8-of-16 three-pointers. The Leopards held a small lead throughout the overtime, icing the win on a pair of free throws by Hinrichs with 19 seconds to play. Tony Johnson had 16 points and Joey Ptasinski added 12, with the quartet of top scorers combining to shoot 29-of-41 from the field.
Stephen Lumpkins scored 19 points while Tony Wroblicky and Daniel Munoz each added 13 to lead American (1-1) to the 61-55 win at Quinnipiac. American held a single-digit lead throughout the second half and finally put the game away with five free throws in the final minute.
There are only two games on the schedule for Tuesday, but each will have the attention of the college basketball world as the top two teams in the Patriot League preseason poll take on major tests. Bucknell has its home opener against George Mason at 7 p.m., then Lehigh plays at Pittsburgh in the NIT Season Tip-Off at 9 p.m. on ESPNU. If the Mountain Hawks win, they would advance to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden next week.
Recaps and box scores from Monday's games are included below, along with any additional coverage from the schools.
Lehigh 89 vs. Robert Morris 60 (NIT Season Tip-Off - Pittsburgh, Pa.)