Lehigh men's basketball weathers storm with big shots

Lehigh men's basketball team looked set to cruise to a home victory over Navy on Wednesday night at Stabler Arena. The Mountain Hawks had an 18-point lead in the first half and took a comfortable 35-23 advantage into halftime. But then the Midshipmen...

Lehigh men's basketball weathers storm with big shots

Lehigh men's basketball team looked set to cruise to a home victory over Navy on Wednesday night at Stabler Arena.

The Mountain Hawks had an 18-point lead in the first half and took a comfortable 35-23 advantage into halftime.

But then the Midshipmen rallied, cutting the Mountain Hawks' lead to 38-34 with 15:37 left in the second half when Hasan Abdullah made a 3-pointer.

Lehigh answered right back though, going on a 22-5 run to build a 60-39 lead with 7:38 remaining in the second half.

The biggest shots of the run likely were back-to-back 3-pointers by Lehigh senior guard Austin Price and freshman forward Pat Andree, which gave Lehigh a 13-point lead with 11:43 left in regulation. The Mountain Hawks went on to post a 74-55 victory.

"We weathered the storm," Lehigh coach Brett Reed said about his team fighting off Navy's rally early in the second half. "Pat or Austin stepped up to make shots. Instead of becoming frustrated or trying to splinter off and do our own thing or feeling like we had to make the individual play, both of those shots just came from ball movement and easy, open opportunities."

"For my shot, the clock was running down and I'm really good in those situations when I'm creating my own shot with limited time on the clock. My team really looks to me to make big plays on the perimeter when we can't get in to Tim (Kempton)," Price said about the back-to-back 3-pointers he and Andree hit in the second half. "I was just out there making a play. I got him on the step back and knocked down the shot. Pat's 3, he was just left wide open on the wing. When he made that, I was like we're winning this game. We just had that momentum going and we were really playing together."

Lehigh men's basketball staying close to home for stretch run

Andree, who finished with 12 points, credited the defense for setting the tone for Lehigh.

"I feel like more of our energy came off the defensive end," Andree said. "We achieved our goal that we wanted to achieve every single game. We gave up 55 points and our goal is 65. To crush that goal by that much is great. It all started on the defensive end."

Price, who led the Mountain Hawks with 19 points, has been impressed by the freshman, who entered the game averaging 7.4 points this season.

"Huge impact," Price said of Andree. "Comes to practice every day. Works hard. It took him a little bit to get everything down. But lately he's been finding his touch, finding his spots to hit open 3's. Starting to drive to the rim a little more. He's really grown into his own right now and I'm really proud of him for that."

 

Josh Folck may be reached at jfolck@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @JoshFolck.

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