It was difficult to decipher which individual performance was most impressive on Thursday night as junior guard Andre Wolford tied the school record with nine three-pointers for a career-high 27 points and sophomore Keith Braxton became just the sixth player in the NCAA since 2010 to record 20 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists in the same game. All that added up to what Saint Francis head coach Rob Krimmel called the best performance of the season as the Red Flash (6-5) rolled Lehigh (5-6) 84-70 in its final non-conference game of the season.
“I thought it was our best performance of the season,” said Krimmel. “We started fast but then allowed them back into the game. Our team showed good focus to stick together and close out the final 15 minutes strong. I think we are starting to find our identity as we head into conference play next week.”
Behind the hot shooting of Wolford, Saint Francis stormed out to a 25-11 lead with 9:30 in the first half. The Mountain Hawks chipped away at the lead and eventually went ahead 44-42 on a layup by James Karnik with 14:12 remaining in the game. The Red Flash responded with a pivotal 11-0 run to retake control of the game. Braxton started the spurt with two free throws before juniors Jamaal King and Scott Meredith connected on three-pointers on back-to-back possessions. Braxton capped the run with an old-fashioned three-point play as Saint Francis wouldn’t look back the rest of the way.
Inside the Box Score
Saint Francis shot 45.3% (29-64) for the game, while Lehigh finished at 40.8% (29-71).
Saint Francis made 12-of-30 (40.0%) three-pointers, its fourth game this season with 10 or more trifectas. Lehigh made just 5-of-26 threes (19.2%).
Saint Francis was 14-of-17 (82.4%) from the foul line while the Mountain Hawks were 7-of-9 (77.8%).
Lehigh edged Saint Francis in rebounding, 40-38.
Saint Francis led for 36:34, while Lehigh held the lead for just :47 seconds.
Wolford tied the 29 year-old record held by John Hilvert, who made nine threes twice during the 1988-89 season. He has made at least three three-pointers in eight straight games.
Braxton hit the 20-point mark for the fourth time this season and the ninth time of his career. His 16 rebounds were a season-high and the second highest total of his career and his eight assists set a new career-high.
King added 16 points, 13 of which came in the second half.
Sophomore Deivydas Kuzavas added nine points and a career-high three blocks.
Saint Francis finishes non-conference play 6-5, just its third time over .500 in the last 14 seasons and the first since 2014-15. Three of SFU’s five losses were to teams ranked in the AP Top 25.
The Red Flash have scored 80 or more points in seven of the last nine ballgames.
The Red Flash will enjoy time with their families over Christmas break before opening conference play at Central Connecticut State on Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m.