TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — A disappointing loss two days earlier and cross-country trip could have set up Lehigh’s players another big fall, particularly facing a Pac-12 team on the road.
Instead, the Mountain Hawks responded with their second big road win of the season.
Kahron Ross had 15 points and 14 assists, Austin Price added 18 points and Lehigh withstood four last-second shots to outlast Arizona State 84-81 in triple overtime Saturday night.
“I was really pleased with the determination and toughness of our players,” Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. “There were a lot of times where we could have folded. Traveling across the country and playing two days ago, it would have been easy to make excuses but our guys really rallied together.”
Coming off a 15-point loss to Quinnipiac on Thursday, Lehigh (5-5) played with energy and poise, controlling the first half. The Mountain Hawks pushed the lead 14 points in the second before Arizona State (6-5) rallied to force overtime.
Though there were some hold-your-breath moments, Lehigh pulled it out.
Ross played a big role, hitting a jumper with 9 seconds left in the second overtime. Justin Goldsborough played a big part, too, finishing with 10 points, 13 rebounds and superb defense on last-second shot attempts by Arizona State at the end of regulation and each overtime.
Jonathan Gilling had the last one after Brandon Alston hit 1 of 2 free throws, but his 3-pointer was off the mark, giving the Mountain Hawks their second solid road victory after beating DePaul on Nov. 26.
“These are the games you love to play, these are the games you love to battle, these are the games you love to win,” said Lehigh’s Tim Kempton, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out early in the second overtime. “It’s great to see your hard work pay off and see it translate to a victory like this.”
Arizona State rallied after a disjointed start, but couldn’t finish it off to lose for the third time in four games.
Savon Goodman had 24 points and Chance Murray added 17, but missed three potential game-winning shots. Arizona State had 19 turnovers and shot 15 of 29 on free throws to see its 14-game home winning streak end.
“It seems like there are things that we’ve gone over and over and over, but there’s a difficult time transferring it to the game,” Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said.
Lehigh bounced back from its trouncing by Quinnipiac on Thursday by frustrating the Sun Devils on their home floor early.
The Mountain Hawks rotated well defensively to help to create some of Arizona State’s 13 first-half turnovers and shot confidently, making 6 of 13 from 3-point range to build 32-24 lead.
Lehigh kept up the pressure to start the second half, going up 50-36 on Kempton’s three-point play on a pick-and-roll midway through.
“One of the most important things I wanted to see was the competitive drive and the competitive spirit,” Reed said. “As we established ourselves early in the game, I thought we had that.”
Arizona State finally fought back after that.
Triggered by their pressing defense, the Sun Devils scored 11 straight points, pulling within 50-47 on Gilling’s second 3-pointer of the run.
Lehigh pushed the lead back up to seven, only to struggle with Arizona State’s havoc-creating full-court press.
After tying the game in the final minute, Arizona State had a shot to win it at the end of regulation, but Murray’s jumper came up short. Murray also missed on drives to close out the first two overtimes.
“We felt like we should have won that game. We feel like we should win every game at home,” Goodman said. “But give them credit. They’re a good team, they’re well-coached.”
Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks were much better on the glass after being dominated by Quinnipiac, outrebounding Arizona State 48-44. Quinnipiac had a 53-30 advantage on Thursday, including 27 offensive rebounds.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils played two three-overtime games previously: Against Texas A&M in 1998 and UCLA in 1981, both wins. … Arizona State 6 of 20 from 3-point range.
Lehigh: Plays at University of Maryland-Baltimore County on Dec. 28.
Arizona State hosts Detroit on Tuesday.
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