With six games left on the schedule, the Lehigh men’s basketball team will rely on its leaders in the upcoming Patriot League showdown against Bucknell University Feb. 8 at Stabler Arena.
“We have always put a lot of emphasis on these guys who have had experience,” head coach Brett Reed said. “Tim Kempton has played a lot of games, Austin Price has played a lot of games for us, Kahron Ross has played a lot of games for us, and these are the guys who we expect to handle pressure situations and to be able to perform.”
Bucknell (18-6, 10-1 Patriot) sits atop the Patriot League standings and has won its last six games following a loss to Lehigh on its home court in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, on Jan. 11. In that stretch, the Bison have outscored their opponents 483-381.
In the last matchup against Bucknell, Lehigh was able to beat the Patriot League leader by holding the Bison to a 44.6 field goal percentage. Kempton was the leading scorer for the Mountain Hawks in that battle, scoring 20 points to go along with eight rebounds.
Lehigh has gone 4-3 since topping Bucknell and is looking to ride the momentum of its most recent win against American University. Senior Tim Kempton ended the game with 15 points while junior Kahron Ross led the team in the victory recording 19 points, five assists and two steals.
“We are just taking it one game at a time, you know?” Ross said. “When we dropped two straight, I was telling the guys, ‘It’s no time to put your head down, just approach the next game and put everything behind you,’ and today we did that and got the win. We got Bucknell next at home, so it should be a good one.”
The Mountain Hawks will now take their next steps in order to prepare for the game against Bucknell. Reed said Sunday will be an off-day for the players to rest up and think about what worked well for them in the win.
“On Monday and Tuesday it’s back to the formula of winning basketball,” Reed said. “Playing good defense, working together, being in our right spots, playing aggressively, assertively and being disruptive. Then on offense simply sharing the basketball, making the simple play, playing with a great deal of teamwork and discipline on what we are trying to accomplish.”
The team hopes to transfer the formula they used last time against Bucknell, by sharing the basketball and finding the open player. The Mountain Hawks shot 50 percent from the field and 58.8 percent from behind the 3-point line in that matchup and are looking to repeat that number in the game this Wednesday.
The game will tip-off at 7 p.m. at Stabler Arena. With the Patriot League Tournament approaching, Lehigh aims to finish its season strong in hopes of running the table and earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“I don’t think there is any added pressure,” Ross said. “We are going to approach the game like any other and hopefully we will get the win. We just have to stick to the fundamentals, play with a sense of urgency, have energy and make sure we are communicating because Bucknell is a really good team, and if we are not ready they will punch us in the mouth.”
The Mountain Hawks will defend their home court after most recently falling 76-59 to Boston University at home. Despite this loss, they are still 7-2 at home this season.