First-half struggles prove too much to overcome; Lehigh loses to Colgate

Courtesy of LehighSports.com

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh men’s basketball team couldn’t get much going on Monday evening in Stabler Arena as Colgate jumped out to a 25-point halftime lead, proving too much for the Mountain Hawks to overcome in an 84-62 final. Senior Lance Tejada led the offense with 16 points, while freshman Jeameril Wilson tied a career-high 11 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting. Freshman Joe Foley filled up the stat sheet with six points, three assists, two rebounds, a block and steal.

“Tonight was a really disappointing game,” said Lehigh head coach Brett Reed. “To have 21 turnovers, we were throwing it away with unforced turnovers early in the game. We were so sloppy and so out of sorts. Colgate came in with good energy. (Rapolas) Ivanauskas is a really good player. He scored on the interior and scored on the perimeter. (Will) Rayman was driving hard. Those two guys were really the story of the first half. We weren’t able to get any stops, and certainly coming up so empty on all of our offensive possessions, it sucked all the wind out of our sails.”

Tejada finished 6-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-8 from three-point range. Junior Jordan Cohen added eight points while classmate Pat Andree had seven points and nine rebounds. Ivanauskas led Colgate with 33 points on 11-of-18 shooting, while adding 10 rebounds and five assists.

“The perspective that I would try to apply is, I would see this growing up with my dad and my dad’s teams,” said Reed. “There would be one game when you could just do no wrong, then there was another game at another point in the season when you could do no right. Sometimes that happens in the game of basketball. I want the best for these guys and I want to see the beset version of themselves on the floor every single night. What we’re building here is more than just the results that come from the scoreboard. It is the attention to detail, it is the small fundamentals and it is the commitment to all the little things that make up the foundation of our program. Unfortunately, there was a little bit of slippage tonight, where those fundamentals weren’t on display as consistently as we need.”

A Tejada three-pointer pulled Lehigh within 13-10 with 14:13 left in the first half, but Colgate responded by scoring 20 of the next 26 points, as a Jack Ferguson trey gave the Raiders a 33-16 advantage with 8:15 on the clock.

A Cohen trey pulled Lehigh within 39-23 with 3:09 remaining in the stanza, but the Raiders ended the half on an 11-2 run to take a 50-25 halftime advantage.

The Raiders extended their lead early in the second, leading 65-33 just over five minutes in. Lehigh responded with a 13-2 run, which included threes from Andree and Tejada, and ended with a Wilson layup to pull within 67-46 with 10:34 remaining.

A few minutes later, two Wilson free throws got Lehigh within 20 at 70-50, but that’s as close as it would come.

For the game, the Mountain Hawks shot 48.0 percent from the field (24-of-50), but had 15 fewer field goal attempts than Colgate due in large part to the turnover margin (21 for Lehigh to eight for the Raiders). The Raiders finished at 46.2 percent (30-of-65). Rebounds were even at 33 apiece.

Lehigh remains home to host Navy on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. as the second game of a doubleheader with the Lehigh women. Saturday is Diversity and Inclusion Day presented by Lehigh University’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.

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