Lehigh Drops Tight 75-69 Final at Lafayette

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02/28/2021 | 6 p.m.

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EASTON, PA. – Lafayette led the game for more than 36 minutes on Saturday but the Lehigh men’s basketball team stayed around, giving themselves a chance until the end in a 75-69 loss on the road. Less than eight minutes behind 12, the Mountain Hawks scored nine hits in a row to get into the final media timeout within three minutes. Lehigh had the ball down two in the last minute but couldn’t even pull or take the lead.

“It was a highly competitive game,” said Lehigh head coach Brett Reed. “I found our activity on the 3-point line to be pretty strong. We did a lot of shots and did a pretty good job in that area. The first half felt like the ricochet from our guards was a bit sore Spot, who gave them a few extra possessions and converted Lafayette. “

Sophomore Evan Taylor was a huge ray of hope as he hit 15 career-high rebounds and now has 74 in his last seven games. He just missed a double-double again and ended with nine points in the afternoon.

“Evan did a great job and brought us a tremendous amount of energy,” said Reed. “He played really hard. He played hard to keep the 3-point line and defend his opponent straight away. His efforts on the glass to end defensive possession have been very impressive.”

Senior Marques Wilson and Junior Nic Lynch each scored 22 points to lead Lehigh’s offensive. Lynch was 9 out of 10 from the field and 3 out of 3 from the free throw line, while Wilson joined 9 out of 18 field goals. Sophomore Reed Fenton and newcomer Dominic Parolin added eight points each. Lehigh’s 69 points came from just five players.

Lafayette took an early 6-2 lead, but the Mountain Hawks even moved by eight and then ten. A Taylor free throw gave Lehigh the first (and only) lead of the game 11-10, but a Tyrone Perry 3-pointer 12:27 in the first half gave the Leopards a 13-11 advantage.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Wilson and Fenton have the Mountain Hawks 2.

Lafayette 10 – Lehigh 8 | 15:43 1H

WATCH: https://t.co/yrVMVAdyRp pic.twitter.com/5bY3Zyhwxg

– Lehigh M. Basketball (@LehighMBB) February 27, 2021

Lafayette’s lead reached up to nine, but the Mountain Hawks answered consistently. That included a 6-2 increase at the end of half, which moved 36:32 after 20 minutes.

At the start of the second round, Wilson was nine points behind on a personal 7-0 run and moved within 47:45 minutes at 14:25. The Leopards were leading 50:48 and running 14-4 to open their biggest lead, 64:52, 7:48 in the second half.

Marques Wilson with 7⃣straight points for Lehigh.

Lafayette 47 – Lehigh 45 | 14:17 2H

WATCH: https://t.co/yrVMVAdyRp pic.twitter.com/bTts9v2il9

– Lehigh M. Basketball (@LehighMBB) February 27, 2021

Just when it looked like Lafayette was pulling out, Lehigh had an answer; Lynch’s 3-pointer in his first career triggered a 9-0 run to pull the Mountain Hawks 4-9 within 64-61. The Mountain Hawks came down the track twice in two minutes, but a Lynch 3-pointer 48 seconds ahead was off. Lafayette hit enough free throws to end the 75-69 final.

The great man from DEEEPPPP! The first three seasons of Nic Lynch bring him 22 points and thus tie his season high.

WATCH: https://t.co/yrVMVAdyRp pic.twitter.com/iAFDsUQkbV

– Lehigh M. Basketball (@LehighMBB) February 27, 2021

For the game, Lehigh shot 42.6 percent out of the field (26 out of 61), of which 26.3 percent out of the 3-point range (5 out of 19). Lafayette finished the race with 45.9 percent (28 out of 61) and 32.0 percent from a distance (8 out of 25). The Mountain Hawks had a 37-34 lead on rebounds.

Lehigh and Lafayette will now go to the Stabler Arena and compete against each other for the fourth time this season in the regular season finale for both sides on Sunday at 6 p.m. The Mountain Hawks can still land somewhere between seeds # 7 and # 10 in the upcoming Patriot League tournament, which begins with the first round on Wednesday.

Sunday is also Senior Night as Lehigh will honor his only senior, Marques Wilson.

“Marques has been a really effective player for us,” said Reed. “He’s a competitor. In the course of his career he has given us a significant catalyst boost at various stages, even if he wasn’t someone who consistently held the ball. His focus and his desire to stick with it is combined with his competitiveness set a positive example for his teammates and what we’re trying to do. “

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