Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information
Bethlehem, Pa. -- Zahir Carrington scored the winning basketball off an offensive rebound with three seconds remaining, as Lehigh rallied in the second half for a 65-64 non-league win over UAlbany on Monday, Dec. 8 at Stabler Center.
Lehigh (6-3) overcame a 15-point deficit in the final period by shooting 53.6 percent after halftime, including 7 of 12 from three-point range. Michael Ojo, a 6’5” sophomore who did all of his scoring in the second half with 12 points, canned a three-pointer to tie the contest at 60 apiece.
UAlbany (5-4) regained the lead when Will Harris, who had a career-high 21 points, hit a driving one-hander in the lane. Marquis Hall, who had 15 of his 23 points after the break, drilled a shot from well behind the top of the arc to put the Mountain Hawks back on top.
Tim Ambrose, the only other UAlbany player in double figures with 17 points, converted on the right baseline to give his team a 64-63 advantage with 41 seconds to play. However, the Great Danes failed to help themselves in the closing moments as Mike Johnson and Harris each missed front ends of one-and-one opportunities at the free throw line. After Rob Keefer missed a jumper, Carrington followed up the second of two chances to complete the comeback.
“We shot too many three’s and played into our opponents’ hands,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown, whose team shot less than 40 percent from the field for the fourth time in its last five outings. “We had trouble with (Marquis) Hall coming off ball screens and (Michael) Ojo started hitting three’s. It stings because if we had made some free throws we would have won the game.”
In the first half, the Great Danes broke an early tie with eight straight points and pushed out to a double-figure lead on Ambrose’s three-point field goal from the right wing. Lehigh later wiped out a 19-10 deficit with nine unanswered. Hall, a second-team All-Patriot League performer, canned a 3-pointer in that stretch and drew his team even with a pair of free throws.
With the contest still tied at 24 apiece, UAlbany went on a 10-3 run to end the period. Billy Allen, a redshirt freshman, drilled a three-point shot from right of the key to put his team ahead. Anthony Raffa added another long-range jumper and converted a fastbreak opportunity during that span. Both teams shooting percentages hovered just below 40 percent for the half.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” said Harris, who made 9 of 15 from the field and grabbed six rebounds. “We just didn’t hold the lead and they got hot. I am not sure about our transition defense, but we could have played better defense overall.”
The Great Danes made just 37.7 percent from the field on 23 of 61 attempts. The Mountain Hawks had dropped their previous two contests after winning five of six to start the season.