WEST POINT – Army (10-12, 3-4 PL) cut a 22-point first-half deficit to five in the second half, but Lehigh (16-5, 6-1 PL) scored an 85-76 victory Sunday afternoon at Christl Arena. The Mountain Hawks made 13 of its first 16 shots and shot 62.1 percent during the first half.
Army outscored the Mountain Hawks in the second half, 45-38. The Black Knights’ defense limited the Mounta Hawks to 44.4 percent shooting in the second half, including 28.6 percent showing from three-point range.
Freshman Kyle Toth led the Black Knights with a career-high 20 points, including four three-pointers. It was his fourth straight game in double figures. Senior Ella Ellis scored 14 points, nine of them on three-pointers. Plebe Kyle Wilson added 12 points, his sixth straight game in double figures, and a team-high five assists. Freshman Larry Toomey scored 11 points and led the team with seven rebounds. Freshman Dylan Cox grabbed six rebounds and handed out four assists.
All five Lehigh starters scored in double figures led by Mackey McKnights’ 21 points. Gabe Knutson added 18 points, while Anthony D’Orazio posted a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Holden Greiner scored 11 points, and B.J. Bailey added 10 markers. McKnight and D’Orazio each added five assists.
A putback by Cartavious Kincade trimmed Lehigh’s early lead to 8-7 with 15:58 left in the first half, but the Mountain Hawks scored the next eight points to take a 16-7 advantage. A basket by Kevin Ferguson stopped a two-minute, 17-second scoreless drought for the Black Knights, and a bucket by Wilson trimmed the deficit to five points at 16-11.
Lehigh used the three-point line to pull away, knocking down five straight three-pointers as part of a 15-4 run that put the Mountain Hawks on top 31-15 with 10:34 left. D’Orazio made three during that stretch, including the final two. Army scored the final six points of the half to go into the locker room down 47-31.
Wilson led the Black Knights with nine points in the first half, while Toomey added seven markers in the opening stanza. Three Lehigh players reached double figures in the first half. McKnight and D’Orazio each had 13, while Knutson contributed 10 points.
Lehigh scored four of the first six points to start the second half, but a 14-5 run that featured two three-pointers by Ellis, one by Toth and three-point play by Kincade pulled the Black Knights back within nine at 53-44.
The Mountain Hawks answered, however, scoring the next seven points to rebuild a 16-point lead at 63-47 with 12:21 showing on the clock. Army refused to go quietly, scoring the next nine points go pull back within seven on an Ellis three-pointer with 9:52 left. The Mountain Hawks buil their lead back to nine, but four straight points, including a basket by Jordan Springer, made it 68-63 with 6:53 remaining.
Lehigh’s lead hovered between six and eight points before Toth nailed his third three-pointer with 1:59 left to make it a five-point game at 74-69. B.J. Bailey stopped Army’s momentum with a tough jumper, and McKnight hit two free throws to push the Mountain Hawks’ lead back to nine points.
Army was able to get the lead back down to five points with 48 seconds left, but the Mountain Hawks scored the final nine points to take the 85-76 win.
The Black Knights start the second half of their Patriot League schedule on Saturday, February 9th versus Bucknell. Tip-off at Christl Arena is set for 4 p.m.