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Username Post: American U. Tonight        (Topic#6783)
Posts: 133

Reg: 07-30-06
01-12-08 10:12 AM - Post#40994    

The second season (PL play) gets underway tonight at Stabler when the Eagles of American U. come calling. Fourteen league games will determine seating for the PL Tournament scheduled to be played March 5, 9, and 14. Our 7-7 OOC record is history. Nice, but so what. The next seven weeks is what it is all about. A top half finish in the eight-team league standings (1 thru 4) would secure home court for round one of the PL Tournament. And, with a 6-1 record at home this year (27-9 overall since the start of the 2002-03 season), a winning record (top-half finish) should become our immediate aim. Sure, a trip to the NCAAs later in March is the team's ultimate goal, but first things first, chalk up the W's beginning with one tonight.

AU comes into the game knowing full well the history of this match up. Their starters (1 senior and 4 juniors) have all experienced five straight losses to Lehigh - the last two (home and away) by two points each on Olivero and Anderson heroics. They'll be gunning for us for sure. Leading the way will be their guard duo of Carr and Mercer who never seem to come out of the game, averaging 38 and 33 minutes/night, respectively. Each has hit double digits in 12 of their 15 games and do not fear competition (Carr with 16 vs. Georgetown and 26 vs. Dayton....while Mercer tallied 17 vs. Georgetown and 18 vs. Maryland). Together, they average slightly over 30 points per game, with Carr the three point threat (57-129) shooting a niffy .442 from long range. The other three on the court at any one time (probably Lay, Simon, and Gilmore or Guibunda) are not particularly big (6'5" to 6'9") and chip in 6-7 points and 2-4 rebounds apiece each game.

Lehigh enters the game holding slight advantages over American in each: Points Scored, FG%, 3PtFG%, Assists, Blocked Shots, Rebounds, and Turnovers.

Lehigh is hitting .401 on their 3 point attempts (30th ranked nationally), yet attempting only 14.8 per game. Should Keefer and Buchberge keep up their torrid pace, expect that number to increase - especially in games where we might be "out-manned" beneath the basket. That, however, shouldn't be the case tonight, as I look for Carrington and White to more than hold their own against Lay and Simon.

Lehigh's 12.8 Turnovers a game is tops in the PL and ranked 28th nationally. Another strong showing here and solid defense (59 pts per game at home this year, 39% FG defense, and 35% 3pt FG defense) should secure the win. Lehigh is 4-0 this year when holding the competition to 59 points or less. We're also 5-1 when leading at the half. Let's hope we come out of the blocks as we have in the last few games and jump to an early lead and defend our home court.

After tonight there'll be four way ties for first and last place in the PL. Bucknell got the early start on us all, downing Navy last night 85-77. The more things change the more they stay the same. Congrats to the Bison on a big second half comeback. As you might expect, Lehigh's next opponent is Navy on Wednesday, Jan. 16.

Posts: 133

Reg: 07-30-06
01-13-08 10:08 AM - Post#41043    
    In response to LU65

Rude Awakening....the words used by Coach Reed in a radio interview that followed last night's slaughter at the hands of AU.

Court-side observations:
1. The Mercer/Carr duo is every bit as advertised. The two Junior guards drainied 40 points in a combined 75 minutes of play. They went 8 for 12 from behind the arc and 8 for 9 from the Free Throw Line. When they weren't hitting threes, they were dishing out assists (9 combined) and safeguarding the ball (3 combined turnovers). Might be the best guard tandem in the League.

2. AU took the game to us! They came out flying and never let up, pushing the lead to 22 at one point in the second half and blanketing us with tight man-to-man coverage on our every possession. It appeared that we thought showing up for our home opener was all we had to do to secure a win. Down 2-10 at the first Media Timeout (15:43 remaining in the first half), any advantage Stabler might have offered was gone. The crowd of 1300+ (not bad really, since classes not in session) was quickly taken out of the game.

3. AU's was the more experienced squad. It seemed like they had "been there before." True enough; they had. Looking the lineups and playing times recored last night, I see for AU: 1 Senior (13%), 7 Juniors (86%), and 1 Freshman (1%). Lehigh posted: 1 Senior (16.5%), 2 Juniors (17.5%), 5 Sophomores (51%), and 1 Freshman (15%). We're young and it showed last night.

4. A good old fashion a - - chewing. That's what it took and the team got it from Coach Reed with 7:52 remaining in the game. Those near the bench (probably family and friends of the players) got an ear-full, I'm sure. Oh yeah, we outscored AU 20-17 over he final 7:52. We played like they had been playing for the previous 32+ minutes.

5. Player highlights:
Marquis Hall - comes out of his shell and scoring funk in the second half - but one half of play too late. One three-pointer in the first half just won't do it. The team needs to see more penetrating drives to the basket and your steady hand on the free throw line (3 for 4 last night).
Rob Keefer - previous posts suggest this freshman may hold the key to this team's success. Last night, with what must have been a family cheering section behind him, Rob showed he's more than a 3 pt. shooter canning 12 points (many drives into the lane) in 30 minutes of playing time.
Dave Buchberger - given a seat when the starting lineups were announced, after starting the previous six or so games. Ineffective (feelings hurt - let's hope not) going 0-4 last night in 15 minutes of playing time.
Bryan White - Padded his league-leading rebound total with 11 boards - just wish more had come on the offensive glass (1 of his 11 last night). Steady, spirited performer with 8 points in 33 minutes.
Zahir Carrington - Committed just three fouls last night and spent 30 minutes on the floor in scoring 11. Could have been many more had just some of his put-backs fallen (a frustrating 2-9 in the lane).

That's it. One down and 13 to go in the season that leads up to the winner take-all PL Playoff (March 5-14). After
one in the books, here's where we stand:

Patriot League

First Place Tie @ 1-0

Last Place Tie @ 0-1
Holy Cross

Next Up: @ Navy, Wednesday, Jan. 16.

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