Monday, November 22, 2010

Lehigh Athletics Game Notes for Cornell



BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Coming off a heartbreaking defeat in the final seconds at Monmouth, the Lehigh men’s basketball team looks to bounce back on Monday when it hosts defending Ivy League Champion and Sweet 16 participant Cornell. It marks the sixth time since 2000 - and first since 2005 - that the Mountain Hawks (1-2) will face a team coming off a Sweet 16 appearance.

This comes a day after the defending Ivy and Patriot League women’s basketball champions squared off inside Stabler Arena when the Mountain Hawks hosted Princeton.

Lehigh enters with a 1-2 record after dropping Friday’s road showdown at Monmouth. The Mountain Hawks gave up big runs early in each half, but fought back to no avail. Senior Michael Ojo led the way with a career-high 23 points in his season debut. He helped spark an 18-2 first-half run which turned an early 14-6 deficit into a 24-16 lead. Sophomore C.J. McCollum also impressed with 19 points, including 12 in the second half and one stretch in which he scored eight straight Mountain Hawk points.

Cornell comes in at 2-2 in the early going after defeating Albany and Delaware while falling to Seton Hall and St. Bonaventure. The Big Red did lose all three leading scorers to graduation; Chris Wroblewski is the top returnee after averaging 8.9 points per game last season.

Lehigh will face a team coming off a Sweet 16 appearance for the sixth time since 2000 and first since playing at Villanova on Nov. 27, 2005. This also marks the first at home. A No. 12 seed in last season’s NCAA Tournament, Cornell finished 2009-10 with a stellar 29-5 record, including convincing tournament wins over Temple and Wisconsin to advance to its first ever Sweet 16.

Lehigh and Cornell renew a longstanding rivalry which the Big Red lead, 12-8. The teams first met during the 1903-04 season, a 35-16 Cornell victory. Lehigh went on to win three more in a row before the Big Red won their first in the series during the 1920-21 season.

The teams played in 15 straight seasons from 1993-94 all the way until the 2007-08 campaign. Cornell has owned the all-time series of late, winning four of the last five matchups, but the Mountain Hawks did win the last game at home, 90-71 on Nov. 17, 2006.

The present day Big Red lost a number of key players to graduation, including leading scorers Ryan Wittman, Louis Dale and Jeff Foote, who combined to average more than 40 points last season. Wroblewski is the top returning scorer, and has been up to task this year, leading the team in scoring average (19.0) in the early going. Seniors Max Groebe and Aaron Osgood have impressed as well, averaging 11.0 and 10.5 points per game, respectively. Senior Adam Wire has been the key rebounding force, averaging 6.5 per contest.

It was Ojo who had a memorable debut for multiple reasons. He served as a big spark off the bench, scoring a career-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He also finished with seven rebounds, just one shy of a career-high. Ojo was also in the middle of controversial calls as he was called for a disputed technical foul midway through the second half before being whistled for the loose ball foul with only 1.1 seconds to go which sent Monmouth to the line for the game-winning free throw.

The Mountain Hawks hit the road on Friday to face defending Mid-American Regular Season Champion Kent State before returning home on Sunday to host Bryant University at 7 p.m. Tickets for all home games are now on sale and may be purchased on Lehighsports.com or by calling the ticket office at (610) 7LU-GAME.
Date:
November 22, 2010
Opponent:
Cornell Big Red
Tip-off:
7:00 PM
Arena/Capacity:
Stabler Arena/5,600
Location:
Bethlehem, Pa.
Lehigh’s Record:
1-2 overall, 0-0 Patriot League
Cornell’s Record:
2-2 overall, 0-0 Ivy League
Series:
Cornell leads, 12-8
Radio:
Live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 and Lehighsports.com with Matt Kerr and Greg Falkenbach ‘72. Pregame coverage gets underway at 6:30
Internet Video:
Lehighsports.com
Behind Enemy Lines:

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