Lehigh has quietly put together four consecutive wins, including two on the road over Lafayette (87-72) and Bucknell (80-65). The Mountain Hawks are averaging 76.6 points per game on 50.7% shooting from the field and 43.0% from beyond the arc at home this season, which is good enough to take advantage of a pedestrian Holy Cross defense that is allowing 72.1 points per game on 47.9% shooting from the floor and 38.2% from three-point territory away from home.
Lehigh has led the Patriot League in scoring in four of the last six seasons and is currently ranked 29th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (176-of-455; .387). In fact, the Mountain Hawks feature three of the best three-point shooters in the Patriot League in Kyle Leufroy (47.5%), Jesse Chuku (46.7%) and Austin Price (44.8%). That output will only improve against a terrible Holy Cross perimeter defense that is allowing league foes to make 39.3% of their three-pointers this season.
Holy Cross also possesses a woeful offense that is 7.8 points per game worse than average (65.0 point per game against teams that would combine to allow 72.8 points per game). The Crusaders are also 2-9 SU on the road where they are averaging just 61.1 points per game on 40.2% shooting from the field. Over its last five games, Holy Cross is averaging just 61.0 points per game on 39.6% shooting from the floor and 24.2% from three-point territory.
Lehigh’s recent surge has been due, in part, to freshman Kyle Leufroy, who was recently named Patriot League Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this season. The Mountain Hawks have also improved their play at the defensive end of the court where they are limiting opponents to a mere 65.4 points over the last five games. I also like the fact that Lehigh is shooting 73.0% from the foul line (300-of-411), which leads the Patriot League and is 61st in the nation.
Lehigh is 139-53 (.724) at Stabler Arena since the start of the 2002-03 season, including 71-34 (.676) vs. Patriot League foes. The Mountain Hawks have also played a challenging schedule this season: four teams off NCAA tournament appearances, eight who advanced to a national postseason tournament & six coming off 20 or more wins. Lay the points with one of the hottest teams in the league as Oskeim Sports’ free sports pick for Monday, February 15.
Oskeim Sports’ Free Sports Pick: Lehigh (-12) (-106)