After an exciting contest with Villanova University in the season opener, Lehigh has further proven that they could compete with a team from a major conference after Wednesday’s outcome.
In a huge surprise, the Mountain Hawks have defeated the DePaul University Blue Demons 86-74.
The victory marks both Lehigh’s first win and DePaul’s first loss. The Hawks improve to 1-4 after a very encouraging road win. Meanwhile, DePaul falls to 1-2 and is now one of only two teams out of 10 in the mighty Big East that are not undefeated so far.
The Hawks had a scorching first half. After a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Miles Simelton to put the Hawks in front 5-2, the lead was never squandered. The team continued to sink threes, with them being made in the first half by junior forward Jesse Chuku, sophomore guard Austin Price, senior forward Stefan Cvrkalj and senior guard Corey Schaefer (three times). They headed to the half ahead 41-30 and a remarkable 7-11 shooting threes.
The Hawks never allowed the game to get close in the second half as in that time, six players were able to contribute five or more points.
A well-rounded team performance contributed to a strong and consistent performance from start to finish. Seven players logged 20 or more minutes, so Coach Brett Reed is distributing playing time to many deserving young men.
However, the player who was story of the game was Schaefer, who led the team with 17 points, nine of which were from beyond the arc. This was especially remarkable because of his slow start to the season. He scored more points in this game than he had in the previous four games combined.
Sophomore center Tim Kempton continued to show how great of a player he could be this year. With 16 points and 11 rebounds, Kempton now has four double-doubles in five games.
Coming off of the bench, Price scored 14 despite playing just 12 minutes. With 19 against Rider University and 24 against Villanova, he has proven he can be dangerous when he is shooting well. Also off of the bench, junior Justin Goldsborough was the fourth player to score in double figures for the Hawks with 10 points.
Lehigh was able to hang on despite 24 points from DePaul junior forward Myke Henry, who had a standout performance after transferring to Coach Oliver Purnell’s program from University of Illinois.
The Hawks look forward to two home games in Stabler Arena after the successful Chicago trip. On Nov. 30, they will play Penn State Mont Alto and on Dec. 3, St. Francis University (PA.) awaits. After two strong performances in two tries, the Hawks will have another chance to compete with a team from a power conference when they play on the road against Arizona State University on Dec. 20.