In a rematch of the 2016 Patriot League Championship, the Lehigh men’s basketball team outscored Holy Cross 42-24 in the second half to cruise to a 68-51 rout over the Crusaders on Saturday afternoon at Stabler Arena.
It was just 10 months ago when the Mountain Hawks (10-7, 4-2 Patriot) watched Holy Cross celebrate a Patriot League title and a berth to the NCAA Tournament on their own floor. Nine of the 14 total players on the team were on the roster for the heartbreaking loss that ended their 2015-16 season.
After the Mountain Hawks jumped out to a 18-10 lead, the game started to evoke shades of last year’s first half of the Patriot League title where Lehigh was held to a season-low 14 points. Like last spring, the Mountain Hawks were stumped by the 1-3-1 zone of Holy Cross. Their offense became stagnant and for the final 12 minutes of the first half, Lehigh committed seven turnovers and only converted on two field goals as the Crusaders took a 27-26 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Mountain Hawks gave Holy Cross a taste of its own medicine as they countered with a zone of their own. Lehigh shifted into a 2-3 zone and the Holy Cross offense was stifled.
The Crusaders went the first nine minutes of the second half without a point. During that stretch, seniors Tim Kempton and Austin Price provided a spark offensively for Lehigh as they combined for 14 points to anchor the Mountain Hawks’ 18-3 run to take a 44-30 lead.
With just under four minutes to play, Price pushed Lehigh’s lead to 17 at 62-45 with a 3-pointer from the top of key. The lead proved to be insurmountable for Holy Cross as Lehigh would close out a 68-51 win for their fourth Patriot League victory of the year.
Kempton had another dominant performance with 23 points and 17 rebounds. Price chipped in 13 points while junior point guard Kahron Ross dished out seven assists in the win.
Lehigh will return to the court Wednesday night when the Mountain Hawks travel to Navy. The game will tip off at 7 p.m.