Sophomore guard Miles Simelton prepares to dodge past a Boston University defender at Stabler Arena on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. Simelton decided to transfer after two years with the program. (Chris Barry/B&W Photo)

Lehigh men’s basketball prepares for big game against last year’s Patriot League Champions American University


As the Patriot League men’s basketball tournament draws near, the Mountain Hawks will look to redeem themselves against the defending Patriot League Champion, American University.

In their previous matchup, the Mountain Hawks lost a close 62-59 game on an Eagles’ buzzer-beater.  Although the loss was disappointing, Coach Brett Reed believes it was the beginning of a hot streak of momentum that the team has built up moving forward.

He said it was a positive step despite not ending up how he would have hoped.

“It was a loss that demonstrated an improvement,” Reed said.

Sophomore guard/forward John Ross Glover agreed with Reed’s sentiment.

“American was the first time we really came out and played well for 40 minutes,” he said.

Since the last game against American, Lehigh has won six of its last seven games. The last two games were especially exciting for the Hawks, scoring over 100 points to beat Army and then fighting to win a close six-point game against Loyola University (Maryland).  The Mountain Hawks were able to jump from ninth place in early January to third after Saturday’s win against Loyola.

Senior guard and captain Corey Schaefer said that considering how well practices have been going, he is excited for the rematch with American and believes the team is ready for a win. Schaefer and Reed both believe that the team’s willingness to play unselfish basketball has been one of the biggest contributing factors in the team’s recent winning streak. Glover also noted that team is tougher now than it has been in the past, a quality that may give it an extra edge.

This unselfishness is reflected in the number of assists Lehigh is putting up, most notably with 29 assists on 35 made field goals in the recent game against Army. According to Reed, the Mountains Hawks have really learned to help each other and set up the offense to get high quality shots, a skill that will bode well in playing tough teams like American.

Unity is significant for the team, as neither the players nor coach can identify one single key player as the catalyst for the team’s recent success. Reed said that the Mountain Hawks play as a unit and a number of people have stepped up to really make winning a full-team effort.

Sophomore forward/center Tim Kempton and freshman guard Kahron Ross have been consistent top contributors throughout the season, but players just entering the scene from the bench, like sophomore guard Miles Simelton, have also stepped in and made a big splash.  Reed strongly believes that everyone is doing their part and people are really contributing in their areas of strength.

Reed said that the Mountain Hawks are up against a tightly jumbled Patriot League in the final stretch of Patriot League play. Although the Mountain Hawks are in third place right now, they are only one game away from first place. All games matter at this point. No team can be disregarded because any game could be a hinge for the Patriot League Tournament seedings, Reed said.

For the upcoming game against American, Lehigh will have the crowd and the court on its side. Reed said this is a great time to compete for visibility and show not only American, but also the rest of the country some Lehigh spirit.

The game is at home in Stabler Arena on Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. and will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.

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