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Username Post: AU is 1st up in PL Play        (Topic#8395)
Posts: 133

Reg: 07-30-06
01-09-09 06:32 PM - Post#56248    

Game Notes are up! e...

The season finally gets underway tomorrow at Bender Arena in the nation's capital as our Mountain Hawks (10-4) take on the Eagles of American University (8-6). Don't be too quick to judge the OOC records. The Eagles played a far tougher schedule of games (SOS 160 vs. LU's 340) and are on a three game roll, whereas Lehigh dropped it's last game in disappointing fashion to a 3-8 Princeton Tiger team. Want more to worry about? How about.....(1) comparing results vs. common opponents (AU defeated St. Francis {PA} by 21, we barely managed a 5 point win; AU beat Columbia by 12, we did nearly the same winning by 14; and AU got by Stony Brook by 3 - a team we loss to by 21); (2) the fact that AU is the defending league champs; (3) starts five seniors; (4) will be well-rested (last game on Monday); (5) boasts the league's #2 scorer in Garrison Carr (18.5ppg); and (5) will be looking to defend its home court at any cost.

What can we do to walk away with a win? Four things come to mind.

One, stop Carr. The guy is a .383 shooter (51 for 133) from long range and can be counted on to takes 1/2 of the teams' attempts from beyond the arc (to date, AU has hoisted up 266 bombs). But, here's the catch. In AU's six losses, Garrison Carr is a combined 6-50 (.120) from long range; in his team's wins, he's a "lights-out" 45-83 (.542). Or as they say, "As Carr goes, so goes AU."

Two, maintain rebounding superiority. We are, after all #1 in that category in the PL @ 41.4 rpg and actually doing better in the last five contests @ 45.0 rpg. Our starting five out-rebound AU's starting five by 6.0 rpg.

Three, be quick to realize if Marcus Hall is "having one of those days." That can go either way. When he's "on,"
get him the ball. When he's not, make him the natural assist leader he is and put the ball in the hands of our top three 3-point shooters: Phil Anderson (.553), Michael Ojo (.486), and Rob Keefer (.367).

Four, feed Zahir Carrington and hope he gets on an early roll. When he does, LU normally comes away with a win. Too often, however, it's been a waiting game with Zahir with mixed w/l results.

PL All-Access has the game.

Good luck, guys!

Posts: 133

Reg: 07-30-06
01-13-09 05:52 PM - Post#56444    
    In response to LU65

The good news: The Mountain Hawks, who entered the game at 10-4 and sporting one of the nation's weakest OOC Strength of Schedules(SOS 344), took the Patriot League pre-season favorite and returning champions, American University (8-6 with a SOS of 144) into overtime on their home court. The bad news: we loss in OT.

In another opening day match-up, the 3-11 Bucknell Bison (toughest SOS in OOC Play of all PL entries at 91), traveled to Navy (11-4, SOS 332) and dropped a hard fought game to Middies 71-67.

So much for OOC Strength of Schedules(SOS) when it comes to PL regular season play. It's anyone's game!

In other opening day match-ups, Colgate (5-9, SOS 309) took no prisoners as they rolled over the home-standing dazed Cadets of Army (4-11, SOS 343) by a score of 64-42; while the Crusaders of Holy Cross (6-10, SOS 230) won an 81-67 shoot out over the Leopards of Lafayette (4-11, SOS 294).

In the LU/AU game, the Mountain Hawks once again jumped out to an early lead (10-2) only to give back points later in the opening stanza and were outscored 17-5 in the opening 8:47 of the second half. With 11:13 to go, AU was up by 9 with Gilmore and Mercer doing most of the damage. In fact, the Hawks (thanks once again to the aggressive defensive play of David Buckberger) held Garrison Carr, the league's leading point getter, in check for most of the game. He finished with 12 on 4 for 13 (2 for 7 from deep) shooting. Back to Derrick was his spinning drive on Marquis Hall with less than 8 minutes to go that, in my mind, sealed our fate. The three point play upped the AU lead to 10, 58-48. That said, somehow the Mountain Hawks dug deep, forced a turnover or two and turned back the Eagles on a couple of late game possessions. Couple that with Marquis Hall's 4th three pointer of the game with 24 seconds left and we would go into OT tied at 64. The anti-climatic OT belonged to AU, hands down, 12-2.

Could we have won the game? Sure. We had our chances but they didn't fall. What I'll remember most will be Zahir Carrington's .444 shooting (10 misses out of the 18 shots he took from inside 7 feet). That's the "other side" of the somewhat respectable stat sheet that report 19 points on 8 of 18 shooting. Another image hard to erase will be Michael Ojo's 0-5 from the field and Prentice Small's driving layup that didn't find the basket. Then, of course, there's the on-again/off-again play of our captain point guard, Marcus Hall. Before nailing his two late game heroic threes, he was 0 for 6 from in close and 2 for 4 from beyond the arc. Want more? The Eagles went to the line 18 more times and outscored us from the charity stripe 24-14. Yes, we could have won the game, but didn't and now must regroup for Navy (1-0) on Wednesday night at home.
Our friends in Lewisburg must be thinking the same, as The Bison (0-1) head south for the second time in 4 days to face the Eagels of AU (1-0) on Wednesday night. Nothing, I'm sure, would be finer that four 1-1 teams come midnight Wednesday.

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