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Carrington and Hall Silence Critics, Pulverize Army

For the men's basketball team, it was good times again this weekend at Stabler Arena. Faced with the prospect of an 0-3 start, junior G Marquis Hall responded to criticism from the Allentown Morning Call (and, to a lesser extent, on this blog) by exploding for 8 assists, 20 points (with an inpressive 60% shooting percentage) in a 77-57 demolition of Army.

Lehigh never trailed in this game, jumping to a 9-0 lead and never letting the game get to within seven points the rest of the way. That aspect was really encouraging, especially considering the way that the Mountain Hawks had let the games against American and Navy get away from them late. Junior F Zahir Carrington, who got his second Patriot League Player of the Week award, continued his incredible play, nabbing 8 rebounds and scoring 18 points - hitting double digit scoring for the seventh straight game. Sophomore G Rob Keefer also added 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting to help reverse Lehigh's three-game skid.

In the official release and in the wrapup from the Brown & White, Lehigh used the last two Patriot League tournament losses to Army at Stabler as motivation:

Hall spoke about breaking out of his recent shooting slump following the game. “I’ve been dissecting my game with Coach Reed, watching a lot of film, trying to get some shots up and get my rhythm back and tonight I was able to do that.” He continued, “We know Army has beaten us on our home floor a few times, and I don’t want to talk about that right now, but we know we have to defend our home court and it felt great to get that first league win here tonight.”

Carrington said since Army has eliminated Lehigh from the Patriot League tournament at Stabler Arena the past two seasons, it certainly had an effect on the Hawks.

"It definitely motivated us; it gave us an extra boost," Carrington said. "We wanted to take care of business on our home court and beat those guys this time."

Good times - but it may be a good time to remember that one win against a 4-13 Army team does not a championship make.

That said, it was important for the 11-6 Mountain Hawks (Real Time RPI: 233) to get some positive momentum into tonight's game at 5-11 Colgate (Real Time RPI: 273) in cold Hamilton, NY. Before this one is chalked up automatically in the win column, it's worth remembering that this team came very close to knocking off Harvard at Cotterell Court - yes, the same Harvard team that dominated Boston College this year, and more recently gave Lafayette all they could handle at home, too.

Here's hoping that the men's team can keep the good times rolling tonight at 7:00 PM. The broadcast can be heard on lehighsports.com, or on AM 1230 and 1320 in the Lehigh Valley.

******

The Eagles (and, no, I don't mean American U.) weren't the only local team to lose in the final minutes on Sunday. The women's basketball team, playing at Christl arena in West Point, NY, mostly withstood a furious Army rally - but ultimately fell 54-52 on a last-second layup with 2.3 seconds remaining. While the final play will be on the Lady Hawks' minds this week, it might be another stat - 21 turnovers - that head coach Sue Troyan might be emphasizing to her squad.

Sophomore G Erica Prosser had her "usual" 22 point, 7 assist, 6 rebound effort - I think any women's basketball team in America would be ecstatic with production like that - to go with junior G Alex Ross' 10 points and senior G Tricia Smith's six rebounds. While the loss is frustrating, losing to a tough Army team on the road on a last-second layup is nothing to feel sorry about. I have a feeling that Army is going to be really tough the rest of the way, too.

The team has been playing better than any team in recent memory, and according to the Brown & White, the Lady Hawks are well aware of that:

"I've been really happy with our record," Sullivan said. "It's the best since I've been here and we have the opportunity to improve a lot. We haven't peaked yet. It's exciting.

"We have a chance to be really good. We are capable to position ourselves in a high seed in the league tournament and we're put in a good position to win the championships."

That's not the only press the Lady Hawks have been receiving - the Morning Call also ran an article on the personal story of junior F Courtney Molinaro, a Penn State transfer who recently lost her mother:

Courtney Molinaro was trying to catch some extra Zs. She wanted to be ready for the team's double sessions the following day, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008.

When her dad called her around 10:30 the night before, Molinaro figured he just wanted to chat, and decided to let the call go to her voice mail.

''He called again immediately,'' the Lehigh University junior recalled. ''I knew something was wrong.''

Tonight, 12-5 Lehigh (Real Time RPI: 107) will host 4-12 Colgate (Real Time RPI: 338) at Stabler Arena in a classic "tweener game" before "the (mini) Rivalry" this weekend against "that school in Easton". It will take place at 7:00 PM, and (as always) will be broadcast on lehighsports.com.

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