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Weekend Wrapup: Home Cookin' for Grapplers and Lady Hawks

The big news for Lehigh Athletics this weekend was two big home wins for the wrestlers and women's basketball teams - and a tough, shorthanded effort at West Point by the men's basketball team that fell just short.

The wrestlers made short work of two EIWA foes on Saturday: winning seven of ten matches against Army (27-12) before drilling Franklin & Marshall (29-18) to cruise to a perfect 8-0 against EIWA foes and an amazing 22-1 overall dual record. Only one dual remains before the EIWA championships and NCAA nationals in March.

I mentioned in my preview that Lehigh would need big performances at 133 (with No. 15-ranked Matt Fisk) and at 165 (with No. 14-ranked Mike Galante) in order to beat Army, and they delivered with Fisk's pin of Michael McCarthy and Galante's major decision over Mike Gorman for bonus points. Not to be lost, though, in the weekend's bouts were two wins by freshman 157 lb Sean Bilodeau (one for bouns points against Army) and sophomore heavyweight Zach Rey (with bonus points against Franklin & Marshall).

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The Lady Hawks enacted revenge for their fall-from-ahead loss at West Point this year. The Lehigh women's baskebtall team kept their 12-game home winning streak intact with a 66-57 win over Army in front of more than 1,500 fans. Freshman C Alexa Williams was the story of the game, nailing 13 of 16 free throws on Valentine's day to give her 17 points and 4 rebounds on the evening. She joined sophomore G Erica Prosser (17 points) and junior G Alex Ross (17 points) with double-digits scoring, while senior G Tricia Smith got a scrappy 8 points and 8 rebounds.

The 19-6 Lady Hawks (Real Time RPI: 77) are enjoying a historic season that seems set to continue this Wednesday against struggling 5-20 Colgate (Real Time RPI: 337). Even on the road, the goal has to be for the Lady Hawks just to keep everything rolling - and to keep up the unselfish play that has gotten them here.

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They're already calling the Lehigh men's triple-overtime loss to Army an "epic affair", where four Mountain Hawk basketball players were on the court for more than 40 minutes. It was the wrong time for a marathon, as three Lehigh players didn't even make the trip to West Point due to injury, giving Brett Reed an eight man bench - and with the extra stanzas and three players eventually fouling out, Lehigh almost didn't have enough players to finish the game.

Junior G Dave Buchburger's 3-point shot (15 points, 11 rebounds) put Lehigh in the first overtime, but both overtime sessions were thrillingly close. Lehigh ran out to a 7 point lead in the first overtime, but Army battled back and tied it up twice. At the end of both overtime periods there were chances to win the game - but both shots were missed. Ultimately, with junior G Marquis Hall (25 points, 9 rebounds) and junior F Zahir Carrington (17 points, 10 rebounds) fouling out, Army would win the war of attrition despite some real quality play off of Lehigh's bench from freshman F Jordan Hamilton (8 points, 4 rebounds in 22 minutes).

A home game in the first round of Patriot League may be on the line this Wednesday as 14-10 Lehigh (Real Time RPI: 206) tries to enact revenge against 9-15 Colgate (Real Time RPI: 287) at Stabler Arena this weekend. It would be the perfect time to make up for their ugly 58-45 loss up in Hamilton last month: a win would but them in line for the No. 4 seed in the tournament, with an eye for the No. 3-overall seed with some luck (and some Navy losses).

The men's and women's basketball games will be on Lehghsports.com this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

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