Lehigh’s Late Rally Falls Short in Patriot League Loss to Army West Point

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1/2/2023 | 2:00 PM

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Jan 02 (Mon) / 2:00 PM



WEST POINT, NY – The Lehigh men’s basketball squad trailed by as many as 21 points on two separate occasions before a second-half surge that came up short in an 80-78 loss to Army West Point in the Patriot League opener on Friday evening.

The Mountain Hawks (5-7, 0-1 PL) suffer their sixth loss on the road and drop the first meeting between the two programs for this season, as the Black Knights (7-7, 1-0) improve to 5- 1 inside Christl Arena and earn their first win in Patriot League action.

“Army shot the ball very well and made us pay,” stated head coach Dr. Brett Reed. “Even on contested shots, when they were hot, they ended up making those shots and giving themselves a big lead.”

Lehigh took a 5-4 lead with 18:34 in the first half before Army went on an 8-0 run and extended its advantage to 12-5. After a three-pointer by senior Evan Taylor to make the score 12-8, the Black Knight scored 10 unanswered to extend their lead to 22-8. Army hit its largest lead of 21 points, 39-18, with 5:39 remaining in the half and would head into halftime possessing a 48-32 lead over Lehigh.

Lehigh continued to chip away at the Army lead in the second half and got the deficit to single digits off sophomore Keith Higgins Jr.’s three-pointer with 12:50 remaining in the game. As the Black Knights were ahead by six points, Lehigh went on an 8-0 run take its first lead since early in the first half, 71-69. The Mountain Hawks and Army would go basket-for-basket down the stretch, with junior Dominic Parolin converting on a layup and drawing a foul for a three-point play.

GET OUTTA HERE!!! Adiassa makes a block and Taylor chases down
a block on back-to-back plays! #PLTop3 #GoLehigh

Watch on @PatriotLeagueTV @ESPN :https://t.co/eNi5C08CG8 pic.twitter.com/GfKNdiPSCq

— Lehigh M. Basketball (@LehighMBB) December 31, 2022

The Black Knights’ Chris Mann drained a three-pointer with 22 seconds to go to give Army the 80-78 advantage. Lehigh had an opportunity to win the game on a desperation three-pointer but was unable to get the shot to fall as Lehigh suffered an 80-78 loss.

Higgins Jr. led the Mountain Hawks in scoring and steals with a career-high 28 points and three steals to go with three rebounds. He shot 10-of-16 from the field and was 6-fo-9 beyond the three-point line. This is the eighth game this season Higgins Jr. has reached double-digits and his second 20-point performance of the year.

HIGGINS JR WITH A TREY!! His sixth three-pointer of the game gets Lehigh within single digits. Lehigh trails Army 63-55 with 10:58 remaining.

Watch on @PatriotLeagueTV and @ESPN: https://t.co/eNi5C08CG8 pic.twitter.com/uLq1OL32K8

— Lehigh M. Basketball (@LehighMBB) December 31, 2022

Parolin tied his career-best of 15 points, scoring 11 of those points in the second half, to go with a team-high nine rebounds and one steal. Sophomore Tyler Whitney-Sidney finished the night with 14 points and lead the Mountain Hawks with five assists while grabbing five boards and two steals while Taylor rounded out double-figure scorers with 10 points. Taylor also contributed three assists, two rebounds and a blocked shot. Senior Reed Fenton contributed eight points, a rebound and a steal for the Brown and White.

Lehigh was narrowly outrebounded, 31-29, with the Mountain Hawks grabbing eight offensive boards to Army’s four. The Brown and White shot 47.5 percent (29-for-61) from the floor and 43.5 percent (10-for-23) from long distance while the Black Knights shot 54.9 percent (28-for-51) and 52.4 percent (11- for-21) from behind the three-point line.

“We ended our night with nine steals, producing points of turnovers with activity and energy on the defensive side of the ball in the second half,” Reed continued. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get the look and the shot opportunity we were looking for in that late situation.”

Army was forced into 10 miscues that Lehigh turned into 17 points, while the Mountain Hawks committed seven turnovers that the Black Knights gathered four points off.

The Mountain Hawks will kick off the new year with a Patriot League contest with Colgate on Monday, Jan. 2. Tip-off is set for 2 pm inside Stabler Arena, which is a change from the originally scheduled time of 7 pm Tickets can be purchased at LehighTickets.com or at Stabler Arena on Monday prior to tip-off.

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