Lehigh Erases 19-Point Deficit for Patriot League Opening Win at American, 63-61

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04.01.2022 | 19 o’clock

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WASHINGTON, DC – After trailing 30:11 in the first half, the Lehigh men’s basketball team responded by beating the Americans 46:19 in the next 18:47 to take an eight-point lead, when the Mountain Hawks defeated the Eagles with 63 -61 on Saturday in the opener of the Patriot League for both sides. Junior Evan Taylor led the offensive with a career high of 25 points, 16 of them in the second half when he started the new year with a bang. The comeback win is Lehigh’s biggest since he also came back from 19 points on February 2, 2019 at Army West Point.

Taylor shot 10 of 16 out of the field, adding six rebounds and two assists with just one turnover. As a team, the Mountain Hawks – who defeated the Americans for the 11th time in their last 12 attempts – had only four ball losses in the second half and ended the game at 12 to hit a season low.

“Not only was it a goal, but also think of Evans defense,” said Lehigh head coach Brett Reed. “His defensive presence was really strong. People had to overtake him when they got those opportunities. He also helped us with six boards and took care of the ball. It was a really complete game for Evan.”

“I’m very happy he brought it,” Reed continued. “He’s a warrior. He brought that up tonight and hit the tune so guys can feel confident. ”

How good was Evan Taylor today? See for yourself.

Here are all 🔟 @ Evant2415 field goals from his career with 2,5 points at American today 💪 pic.twitter.com/L8v9v6Sutd

– Lehigh M. Basketball (@LehighMBB) Jan 2, 2022 First year Keith Higgins Jr. scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half, while Senior Nic Lynch also scored double digits – adding 12 (nine in the first half). In the first year, Tyler Whitney-Sidney was a spark off the bench, not only scoring four points and two rebounds in 17 minutes, but also playing a strong defense and ending with a game high plus / minus +16.

With the win, Lehigh improved for the fifth time in the last six seasons to 1-0 in the Patriot League.

A back and forth beginning resulted in Lehigh actually opening a 10-9 lead after a lynch layup after a little over five minutes with 7:10 in the first half.

“We just deflated ourselves,” said Reed. “Think about the number of layups we gave up. There’s something to it [Princeton] Offensive (that the American runs). If you haven’t seen it when you’re guarding it against the scout team, it’s a little different than trying to guard it live here. Once we got used to the rhythm, I figured we could make a few adjustments and lock our positioning so we wouldn’t give up as many layups. I was still very disappointed because we had worked on it. There is no reason for us to give up these opportunities. “

The Mountain Hawks had an impressive upswing and were able to quickly make up the deficit in 36 seconds with a pair of Taylor 3-pointers. Then, after an American free throw, Lynch knocked one over from behind to reach Lehigh within 31-20 with 4:33 in the first half.

ET QUICKLY reduces a 19-point deficit to 13 with two 3-pointers in 35 seconds.

Watch it on ESPN + https://t.co/d9yMye3zAJ pic.twitter.com/FowHYoai17

– Lehigh M. Basketball (@LehighMBB) Jan 1, 2022 Lehigh kept scratching, reaching a half-single digit 35-26.

The Mountain Hawks scored 16 of the first 21 points in the second half, taking their first lead since the early days. Whitney-Sidney scored Lehigh’s first four points while Taylor scored five points in just over a minute and led to 40 points with a 3-pointer in Lynch Evening. A jumper from Higgins Jr. followed to make it 42-40 Lehigh with 1:30 p.m. on the clock.

. @ Niclynch44 for three AGAIN and we’re all tied up! 19 points behind in the first half are gone.

Watch it on ESPN + https://t.co/d9yMye3zAJ pic.twitter.com/U1YnfN8xvZ

– Lehigh M. Basketball (@LehighMBB) Jan 1, 2022 Teams swapped leads in the ensuing minutes until Taylor made a 7-0 personal run to convert a one-point lead to an 8-point lead at 57 : 49 to transform with 8: 23 left.

. @ Evant2415 up to 14 points in the second half and a career high of 23 points for the game, and the Mountain Hawks are leading by six!

Watch it on ESPN + https://t.co/d9yMye3zAJ pic.twitter.com/Q4ejluOqns

– Lehigh M. Basketball (@LehighMBB) Jan 1, 2022 After a Higgins Jr. 3-pointer gave Lehigh a 60-53 lead with 6:42 remaining, neither team scored for nearly three minutes and the Mountain Hawks ended until the next 6:13 goalless. But Lehigh’s defense continued their strong game, and the second Dominic Parolin found Senior Jeameril Wilson for the quick break-dunk to break the press, giving the Mountain Hawks a 62-58 lead, less than 30 seconds behind made the way to the 63-61 final.

What a big block from Dominic Parolin! Mountain Hawks hope to end this one at the last minute.

Watch it on ESPN + https://t.co/d9yMye3zAJ pic.twitter.com/vU5smAd4k9

– Lehigh M. Basketball (@LehighMBB) January 1, 2022

Mountain Hawks’ D has been banned to save victory this afternoon! pic.twitter.com/bKGARVwPRG

– Lehigh M. Basketball (@LehighMBB) Jan 2, 2022 For the game, Lehigh shot 45.5 percent out of the field (25 out of 55), including 23.8 percent out of the 3-point range (5 out of 21). American finished behind the arc (3-of-8) at 50.0 percent (26-out of 52) and 37.5 percent. The Mountain Hawks had an advantage of 32:29 on rebounds.

“Evan took us on his shoulders in the second half,” said Reed. “Keith played great. Tyler gave us wonderful minutes. I can go on and on.

“Our boys answered the call,” Reed continued. “It’s not easy. Many teams can make a brave effort to come back a little. But they can’t always ring the bell like we did here today.”

The Mountain Hawks will return home at 7 p.m. Tuesday to see Colgate. To buy tickets, please click here.

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We caught up with the star of the game, @ Evant2415, after today’s @ PatriotLeague opening American win and career with 25 points! pic.twitter.com/1wHsb38YSF

– Lehigh M. Basketball (@LehighMBB) January 1, 2022

That’s what @CoachReed said after today’s opening win of the @PatriotLeague! pic.twitter.com/kPjsDjnus8

– Lehigh M. Basketball (@LehighMBB) January 1, 2022

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