Loyola Completes Late Comeback To Beat Lehigh 62-60
Baltimore, Md – In a pivotal matchup for seeding in the top half of the Patriot League, the Greyhounds provided a late run of efficient offense to hold off Lehigh and finish a 62-60 comeback. This was not the prettiest of games for either team on offense. Both teams struggled to get into any flow and the defenses played at a high level. It was a typical hard fought conference game towards the end of conference play. The scrappy and gritty play was a sight to see for two squads battling for the four spot in the Patriot League. Back to back conference player of the year Tim Kempton Jr. (6’10 245) struggled on both ends of the floor. The senior big man ended up fouling out in only 18 minutes of play. This was a huge factor in Lehigh’s struggles on the night. Junior point guard Andre Walker (6’0 170) broke out of his recent scoring slump and also scored a late layup with 27 seconds left, that proved to be the eventual game winner. Kahron Ross had two misses in the final twelve seconds that would have tied the game for Lehigh.
Lehigh (12-10, 6-5) could not rely on their pro prospect Tim Kempton in this game. Kempton could not use his low post scoring prowess or pick and pop versatility to provide any offense for Lehigh. This really limited them on the night. A couple of players that did step up for the Mountain Hawks were guards Kyle Leufroy (6’3 195) and Jordan Cohen (6’1 185). Leufroy, a powerfully built sophomore guard, used his body and aggressiveness to get in the lane and finish. He takes on contact well and is a solid below the rim finisher. Leufroy could have been more assertive on the night. He rarely had the ball in the final nine minutes, to the point where it was quite questionable. He was very efficient, scoring 6-9 field goals and seemed to get in scoring positions at will. Leufroy finished with 17 points and three rebounds. Cohen, a freshman guard, played solid defense on Walker early and was a spark on offense as well. Cohen did most of his damage in the first half scoring ten points. He gave high effort on defense and was a big factor in Lehigh holding a 30-29 halftime lead. He is a versatile defender and has potential to be a big contributor in the future once his playmaking skills improve. Cohen finished with 14 points, five rebounds and two assists.
For Loyola once again the story was the play of Andre Walker. He was in a bit of a struggle recently but this may be the game he needed to break out of it. Walker is a deadly three-point shooter and also has a solid isolation game to break down defenders on the perimeter. Walker struggled from three on the night going just 2-7, but contributed in other ways. The feisty guard led the entire game with nine rebounds and also made plays for his teammates garnering six assists. It has become clear that if Loyola will be successful and want to have a chance to make a run in the conference tournament, it will need Walker to score and set the offense. Walker finished with 19 points.
The other big contributors for Loyola were junior Cam Gregory (6’8 214) and senior Jarred Jones (6’6 205). Gregory is a high-energy post player. His skills are not the most refined in the post, but he makes it work with his relentlessness. Gregory finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Jones was a little out of touch on offense at times. He missed several mid range jumpers he normally knocks down and struggled with his decision making at times. He is still a threat on offense that opponents have to respect. Jones ended with 14 points, four rebounds and two assists.
In a game that was vital for positioning in the Patriot League the home team prevailed. This is huge in this conference because in the post season the higher seeded teams host the tournament games. This win for Loyola should be one to build on. For Lehigh this loss could be a crossroad for the rest of their season.
Up next for Lehigh is @ American on Saturday
Up next for Loyola is home vs Army on Saturday