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Syracuse vs. Lehigh Preview: Scouting the Mountain Hawks

Syracuse tips off the season against Lehigh tonight. We take a deeper look into the Orange's first opponent of the season.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Lehigh is coming off a 16-14 season but return its top six scorers from last year. The Mountain Hawks are the favorite to win the Patriot League and to return to the NCAA Tournament, but will be challenged by Bucknell.

Joe Lunardi currently has Lehigh as a No. 15 seed against a No. 2 seeded Villanova team in Providence, with Syracuse being among the first four teams out of the tournament. Coincidentally, Lehigh lost to Villanova in its season opener in 2014-2015.

Keys to the Game

It will be Syracuse's onus to limit Tim Kempton -- Lehigh's top returning scorer and last year's Patriot League Player of the year -- inside. The big man averaged 15.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game last year. It will be important to keep he along with Justin Goldsborough and Jesse Chuku (No, that's not even how you spell Paschal's last name) off the glass.

Lehigh also returns its top assist man, Kahron Ross, who won Rookie of the Year in the Patriot League last season. ESPN Radio in Syracuse just hosted Gerry McNamara on air on Wednesday. McNamara stated that Ross is an undersized guard with tremendous quickness. He compared Ross to T.J. Ford -- Ford was a savvy guard for Texas that Syracuse and McNamara beat on its way to the 2003 National Championship.

Lehigh was a weak three-point shooting team a season ago so this bodes well for the Orange. It will be important to key on Austin Price, Lehigh's best shooter. Also on Lehigh's roster is Central New York native Caleb Sedore. Sedore attended Pulaski High School, so it will be a homecoming of sorts for the freshman big man.


This will be Michael Gbinije's second time playing Lehigh in his career. Gbinije appeared in the last 50.4 seconds of the 2012 NCAA Tournament when Lehigh took down Duke on C.J. McCollum's 30 points. With Tyler Thornton fouled out, Coach K elected to go offense-defense with Gbinije, utilizing Gbinije's fouls on the defensive end. Just in case you wanted to remember that great moment in college basketball history, we went ahead and put the video in below. Thanks us later.