Jan. 12, 2011
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Lehigh ended the game on a 15-2 run over the last three minutes of the contest to hand the Navy men's basketball team a 71-63 setback on Wednesday night. The loss drops Navy's record to 5-13 overall and 0-2 in the Patriot League, while Lehigh, last year's Patriot League champion, improved to 10-7 overall and 1-1 in league play.
Navy has now lost six games by eight points or less and is just 1-6 in games decided by eight or fewer points.
"I thought we did a wonderful job on C.J. McCollum, but the attention we gave him hurt us some on the backboard. I thought our defense was pretty solid all night, but when you don't make shots, it makes it tough on you," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "Our team is battling. I feel for our guys some. The ball is just not going in the basket and it's a tough thing to overcome sometimes. We are playing very hard and the guys are doing everything we are asking them to do. That being said, we were up five with three minutes left and we struggled to score at the end. That was the game."
After McCollum, the league's reigning Patriot League Player of the Year, scored 18 points in the first half to five the Mountain Hawks a 34-31 halftime advantage, the Midshipmen clamped down on the Lehigh superstar. He scored just five points in the second half, but his three-point play with 1:59 left tied the game at 61 and kick-started the game-deciding Lehigh run.
The Mids had a 61-56 lead following a long three-pointer by Jordan Sugars (Jr. / Winchester, Va.) with 3:25 to play, but missed their final seven shots from the field in scoring just two points down the stretch. Lehigh, meanwhile, got a pair of huge three-pointers in the last 1:30 from Michael Ojo, who finished 2-of-13 from the field, and Holden Greiner to aid the Mountain Hawks' spurt.
"When you are not making shots, it's difficult to hold on. We had good looks. We just have to knock them down," said Lange.
The contest featured seven ties and 12 lead changes, with eight of the lead changes and six ties coming in the second half.
Navy fell behind early 11-5, and every time the Mids would cut into the lead, Lehigh would go on a mini-spurt to push the lead back to six. Navy would finally retake the lead at 31-30 on a James Loupos (Skillman, N.J.) lay-up with 1:39 to play, before Lehigh regained the lead for a 34-31 halftime advantage.
Navy came out firing in the first moments of the second half, grabbing a three-point lead on back-to-back threes from Sugars and J.J. Avila (Fr. / McAllen, Texas) and the Mids would hold anywhere from a one to four-point advantage for a majority of the second half, before grabbing its largest lead (61-56) with 3:25 left to play.
The Mids shot an icy 19-of-59 (.322) from the field, but went 7-of-19 (.368) from three-point range and 18-of-28 (.643) from the free throw line. Navy was just 3-of-18 (.167) from inside the three-point line in the second half and finished the half 8-of-29 (.276) from the field. Navy made six of its first 13 shots in the frame, but went just 2-of-16 in the final 10 minutes. Navy was guilty of 19 turnovers and was outrebounded, 56-39.
Lehigh shot 25-of-71 (.352) from the field, 4-of-20 (.250) from three-point range and 17-of-19 (.895) from the free throw line. Lehigh was credited with 22 turnovers.
Sugars led Navy with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-5 from beyond the three-point line. The four three-pointers give him 125 for his career, moving him into 10th place on the school's career three-pointers made list. He also surpassed 800 career points in the contest, now with 803 points.
Avila posted his second career double-double with a 13-point, 12-rebound, three-assist, three-steal performance. Avila went 3-of-6 from beyond the three-point line.
Isaiah Roberts (Fr. / Pennsauken, N.J.) joined the pair in double figures with 10 points, making 6-of-8 free throw attempts. O.J. Avworo (Sr. / Houston, Texas) and Loupos had nine points each.
McCollum led Lehigh with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while sophomore classmate Gabe Knutson had 18 points and 14 rebounds.
The Mids will remain on the road on Saturday facing Lafayette in Easton, Pa., at 1:00 pm. The game will be aired on the radio dial on WNAV (1430 AM) and SIRIUS Satellite Radio (Ch. 152) with Pete MEdhurst calling the game. The contest will also be streamed online at www.navysports.com as part of the Patriot League All-Access package.
# GO NAVY #