CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
Lehigh and Canisius put on quite a show for those in attendance at the Koessler Athletic Center in Buffalo, N.Y., with Canisius using a late run to escape with a 98-89 victory.
Despite point guard Kahron Ross going to the bench early with foul issues, Lehigh jumped out to a 21-7 lead over Canisius. The Golden Griffins righted the ship, however, and it was just a 41-39 Mountain Hawk advantage at halftime.
After Lehigh took a 65-56 lead with 11:47 remaining, Canisius went on a 14-0 run in less than a three-minute span, taking its first lead since it was 32-30 at the 3:45 mark of the first half. Five different players scored during the run, with back-to-back 3-pointers by Phil Valenti and Kassius Robertson really igniting the home crowd.
It was tied up at 86-86 when Canisius grad student Malcolm McMillan finished a tough left-handed layup and drew the foul, completing a 3-point play. Jesse Chuku responded with a 3-pointer for Lehigh, which was answered by another triple from Valenti. Lehigh went to big man Tim Kempton with under a minute left, but the defending Patriot League Player of the Year was called for a charge--his fifth foul--and Canisius was able to pull away for the win.
Austin Price had a tremendous all-around game for Lehigh on the offensive end, putting up 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting (4-8 3PT), though he took a few long triples in the final seconds of the game. The 6-3 junior shooting guard also had five assists against one turnover.
As would be expected in a game that nearly reached triple digits, Price was not the only Mountain Hawk to have a big night. Senior forward Jesse Chuku had 19 points and nine rebounds, Kempton had 17 points and seven rebounds, and Ross had 14 points and seven assists.
Canisius was led yet again by McMillan, who scored 33 points in his Golden Griffins debut on Friday and followed that up with a 31-point outing against Lehigh. Through two games, the 6-1 CCSU transfer is shooting 59 percent from the floor (22-of-37), including 14-of-15 (93.3 percent).
Foul trouble plagued Lehigh, with five different Mountain Hawks picking up four-or-more fouls as the team was whistled 29 times in the 40-minute game. The two teams combined to shoot 66 foul shots; Canisius was 31-of-38 (81.6 percent) and Lehigh was 22-of-28 (78.6 percent). Lehigh had 19 assists on 27 buckets, but also committed 15 turnovers against Canisius' pressure defense.
Lehigh (0-2) vs. Yale (2-0) (Nov. 19, Stabler Arena)
Canisius (1-1) vs. Cornell (0-1) (Nov. 21, Koessler Athletic Center)