Chris Bengel (@clbengel)
Even with a pure scorer like C.J. McCollum, Lehigh still manages to spread the ball around and that was clearly evident in the Mountain Hawks’ 81-63 win over the Fordham Rams on Tuesday evening at Stabler Arena.
With all five Lehigh starters in double figures, junior guard Mackey McKnight led the way with 21 points (7-of-11 shooting, 1-of-5 from three) and five assists. It was the Mountain Hawks’ second consecutive double-digit win after a 102-62 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday.
Senior forward Gabe Knutson added 18 points while McCollum (13), forward Holden Greiner (13), and junior guard Anthony D’Orazio (10) were impressive for the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh shot 50-percent (29-for-58) as a team and went 17-for-19 from the free-throw line.
At several points during the game, Lehigh held a lead of at least 20 points. However, Fordham did come out strong in the second half.
A three-point shot by sophomore guard Bryan Smith and a two-point jumper by freshman guard Jermaine Myers opened the second half and cut the Mountain Hawks lead to 44-29.
The Rams started the second half on a 9-4 run which was led by five points from Smith. They cut the lead to 48-33 and forced the Mountain Hawks to call a time-out.
Lehigh responded with a layup from Knutson and a three-pointer from McKnight which extended the Mountain Hawks lead to 53-35 with 13:58 remaining in the second stanza.
With Lehigh leading 62-40, Fordham suddenly responded and went on a 17-6 run to close the gap to 68-57 with 4:34 remaining in the second half.
However the Mountain Hawks outscored the Rams 13-6 during the final four minutes to ice the victory.
It proved to be a game of runs and the same held true in the opening half.
The Mountain Hawks started off the game on a 10-2 run which was highlighted by seven points from McCollum. Ironically, that was McCollum’s point total for the entire first half.
Lehigh led Fordham 44-24 at halftime and ended the first stanza on a 12-4 burst. Lehigh senior forward Holden Greiner scored 13 first half points (on 5-of-7 shooting). Greiner also shot 2-for-3 from beyond the three-point line.
D’Orazio nearly eclipsed his season high in points (7) in the first half. The Camden native also added three assists and a rebound.
Lehigh will look ahead to Saturday afternoon when they travel to St. Francis (PA) to face the Red Flash in a 2 p.m. tip-off.