Men's Basketball Falls at Lehigh
Dec. 4, 2012
Bethlehem, Pa. - At times it seemed like everything Lehigh was throwing up at the basket was going on. At one of the media timeouts, a Lehigh student even sank a half-court shot as part of a promotion giveaway. The Mountain Hawks used their hot hand to jump out to a big lead and then held on as Fordham mounted a second half comeback attempt, defeating the Rams, 81-63, in the Stabler Arena.
With loss, the Rams fall to 1-7 overall while Lehigh improves to 7-2.
Bryan Smith paced the Rams with 17 points and he added seven rebounds and three steals while Ryan Canty notched his third straight double-digit scoring game, finishing with 14 points along with eight rebounds and two blocks.
After being outrebounded the past two games, the Rams hit the boards with a vengeance tonight, outrebounding the Mountain Hawks, 42-27, including 21 offensive rebounds. Fordham took advantage of those second chances, scoring 19 second chance points to just nine for Lehigh.
Another area the Rams improved on tonight over the previous two contests was foul trouble as the Rams had been whistled for over 20 fouls in each of the past two games. Fordham committed just 16 fouls tonight but the Mountain Hawks were efficient, turning those fouls into 17 points, shooting 17-for-19 from the charity stripe.
Despite the Rams playing for the third time over the past two weeks in Stabler Arena, Fordham didn't feel at home in the first half, shooting 38.5% (10-26) from the field and committing ten turnovers that Lehigh turned into 15 points to build a 42-22 lead at the break.
Fordham came out with energy in the second half, scoring the first five points of the period but turnovers got the better of the visiting squad as Lehigh scored back-to-back baskets off Fordham miscues to take a 48-29 lead 2:45 into the half.
Lehigh would get the lead to as many as 22, 62-40, with 9:18 left when the Rams started to chip away at the Mountain Hawks' advantage, cutting it to 15 three times over the next four minutes, the final time at 68-53 with 5:29 remaining on a Smith jumper.
The Smith basket was the first of eight straight Fordham points as the Rams pulled to within nine, 68-59, on a Branden Frazier basket in the lane with 3:55 on the clock.
But the Lehigh offense awakened following Frazier's bucket, scoring the next nine points to get its lead back to 18, 77-59, with 2:19 left and the closest the Rams would get the rest of the way was 17.
The Rams started off slowly, trailing 10-2 4:42 into the game and were down by nine, 25-16, with 6:40 left when the Mountain Hawks used a 12-6 spurt to take a 37-22 lead with 3:53 remaining.
Fordham again trailed by 15, 39-24 with 1:50 on the clock when Lehigh closed out the period with five unanswered points to take the 42-22 lead at the intermission.
Frazier added nine points and he tied his career-high with eight assists for the Rams while Travion Leonard scored seven points to go with five rebounds and Ryan Rhoomes recorded six points and six boards.
The Rams return to action on Saturday night, December 7, as they St. John's University at Madison Square Garden at 7:00 p.m. as part of the 2012 MSG Holiday Festival.