March 6, 2016
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Holy Cross and Lehigh posted dominant wins in the semifinals of the Patriot League Men’s Basketball Tournament on Sunday to move on to the championship contest on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
The #9 seed Crusaders made history as the lowest seed to make it to the championship by rolling to a 60-38 win at #4 Army West Point in the first semifinal, while #2 Lehigh built a big early lead and cruised to a 78-62 win at home against #6 American in the second matchup.
Holy Cross makes it to the title game for the first time since 2009 and 11th overall, one ahead of Bucknell for the most in Patriot League history. The Crusaders have five Patriot League titles to their credit, leading all schools in League annals.
Lehigh moves on to the championship for the fourth time, all coming since 2004 and the past three since 2010. The Mountain Hawks have won their previous three trips to the League title game.
The teams are meeting in the League Championship for the first time. Holy Cross has won the previous six League Tournament matchups which all came in the quarterfinals or semifinals, with the most recent in the 2014 quarterfinals. Lehigh won both meetings during the regular season, beating Holy Cross 87-66 on the road on Jan. 16 and 64-59 at home on Feb. 15.
For more information, visit Patriot League Men’s Basketball Tournament Central and Tournament Bracket.
Semifinal:: #9 Holy Cross 60 at #4 Army West Point 38
*Holy Cross opened on a 10-0 run and never looked back for a 60-38 victory at Army West Point in the semifinals of the Patriot League Men’s Basketball Tournament on Sunday at Christl Arena.
*The #9 seed Crusaders (13-19) are the lowest seed to make the Patriot League title game, the first lower seed to win three games in the tournament and also the first to win three road games in the League tourney.
*Holy Cross makes it to the Patriot League title game for a League-record 11th time, and will try to add on to its League record five championship titles.
*The Crusaders took the big early led and went ahead by as many as 12 points in the first half before settling on a 34-26 advantage at the break.
*After Army West Point opened the second half with a three-pointer, Holy Cross took over with a 17-2 run to pull away for good with a 51-31 advantage with 10:23 to play.
*The Crusaders kept the Black Knights to just the two points over a span of 9:59 during the run.
*The lead held at 18 points or more the rest of the way as Holy Cross cruised to the 60-38 win.
*The Crusaders have won three road games in the League Tournament after going 0-9 on the road during League play.
*Robert Champion led Holy Cross with 15 points while Malachi Alexander had 13 and Anthony Thompson scored 12 along with six assists.
*The Crusaders held Army to 12-of-53 shooting and 6-of-30 from three-point range in the game and forced 18 turnovers, and kept the Black Knights to 5-of-27 from the field and 1-of-15 from long range in the second half.
*Holy Cross improved to 11-4 in the semifinal round of the Patriot League Tournament, and 5-0 against Army in the postseason event.
*Kyle Wilson scored 12 points while Tanner Plomb had 11 for Army, which had a 46-33 rebounding advantage but was hurt by its offensive numbers.
*Army (19-13) has still never made it to the Patriot League title game, but now waits to see if it will continue its year in a postseason tournament.
Semifinal: at #2 Lehigh 78, #6 American 62
*#2 seed Lehigh opened on an 18-2 run and led by double digits the rest of the way to cruise to a 78-62 win over #6 American in a semifinal of the Patriot League Tournament on Sunday at Stabler Arena.
*The Mountain Hawks (17-14) advance to the Patriot League Championship for the fourth time overall, with all of the trips coming since 2004 and the last three since 2010.
*Lehigh also wins its 11th game in a row to extend one of the longest winning streaks in the nation.
*The Mountain Hawks led throughout, scoring the first five points and answering American’s first bucket with 13 consecutive points to build the 18-2 lead at the 13:18 mark of the first half.
*After American cut the margin to 20-8, Lehigh went on a 10-1 run to take a 30-9 lead and was up by at least 14 points for the rest of the first half in taking a 41-23 advantage at the break.
*American got within 14 points again at 49-35 with 15:01 left, but Lehigh answered with a 9-0 run and went ahead by as many as 25 points before the Eagles trimmed the final margin to 78-62.
*Austin Price led Lehigh with 18 points while making 7-of-11 shots from the field, while Tim Kempton had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Kahron Ross dished out nine assists.
*Lehigh had an outstanding shooting night at 29-of-51 from the field while holding American to a 23-of-59 clip.
*Jesse Reed led the Eagles with 19 points while Charlie Jones scored 11 and Delante Jones had 10, but American (12-19) was unable to make it back to a third-straight Patriot League title game.
*Lehigh improved to 4-2 in the Patriot League Tournament against American, winning a home semifinal against the Eagles for the third time after also posting wins in the round in 2010 and 2012.