The men's and women's basketball teams opened up Patriot League play Friday, Dec. 30, 2016. The men won its opener 66-59 while the women lost 75-71.

Lehigh men’s basketball picks up first PL victory while women’s team drops PL opener

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The Lehigh men’s and women’s basketball teams opened up Patriot League play Friday night with battles against Army West Point. The men came away with a 66-59 victory on the road while women dropped their opener 75-71 at Stabler Arena.

On the men’s side, senior Tim Kempton anchored the Mountain Hawks (7-5, 1-0 Patriot) to victory with his seventh double-double of the year. The two-time Patriot League Player of the Year notched 20 points to go along with 14 rebounds. Junior point guard Kahron Ross added 10 points and seven assists while senior Austin Price and sophomore Kyle Leufroy chipped in 12 points apiece.

Lehigh failed to convert on several opportunities to score throughout the game. The Mountain Hawks entered the game as one of the top free throw shooting teams in the country but shot a season-worst 52 percent from the charity stripe, making 13 out of 25 attempts. In addition to that, they only connected on three 3-pointers on 15 attempts, which was also a season-low.

Lehigh overcame a poor shooting night by clamping down defensively. The Mountain Hawks held Army to a 35 percent shooting while forcing 15 turnovers. Lehigh led for 84.7 percent of the game.

On the women’s side, the Mountain Hawks (5-7, 0-1 Patriot) found themselves in an early 24-16 deficit in the second quarter. The team responded with a quick 8-0 run to tie the game, capped off with a jumper from junior guard Quinci Mann.

The rest of the way, both teams continuously traded baskets, which culminated into a 68-68 tie with 1:08 left in the game. Army took a 71-68 lead on a layup plus a foul, and Lehigh called timeout with 36 seconds left. Out of the timeout, Mann’s stepback three attempt fell short, and with time running out the Mountain Hawks were forced to foul. Army would connect on free throws and eventually come away with a 75-71 win.

Mann and junior Bernadette Devaney led the way with 13 points apiece. Freshman forward Cameryn Benz tallied 11 points, six rebounds and three assists off the bench in her Patriot League debut. The Mountain Hawks connected on 15 of their 16 free throw attempts in the defeat.

Both the men’s and women’s team will return to action Monday against Boston University for their first games of the new year. The men will be on the road while the women will host the Terriers at Stabler Arena.

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