Holy cross

Holy Cross makes a late charge to beat the Mountain Hawks, 67-65

WORCESTER, Mass. – The Lehigh men’s basketball team led for 34:18 on Friday, but Holy Cross took its first lead with 5:01 to go, en route to handing the Mountain Hawks a tough 67-65 loss. at Hart Center. With the loss, Lehigh drops to 6-4 in Patriot League play. Senior Jemeril Wilson led the offense with 16 points and 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the season and fourth of his career. In one day, the Mountain Hawks shot 52.9 percent from 3-point range (9 of 17), they were just 33.3 percent from two (12 of 36).

“I thought our finish rate was really poor,” Lehigh head coach Brett Reed said. “I know there may have been some contact in our finishes, but going from 12 to 36 on two when we were doing perimeter jumps, ended up hurting us. We have to have a state of finishing spirit; we have to be able to put the ball in the basket when we make those hard attacks. [Holy Cross’] Caleb Kenney did a good job defensively and also on the glass but nevertheless there were still plenty of opportunities when I thought if we had our focus let’s put it easy on the glass and we did our finishes, now we’re talking about killing off some of their races.”

Wilson finished 6 of 12 from the floor, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range. First years Keith Higgins Jr. and Tyler Whitney-Sidney scored 13 and 11 points, respectively, while senior Nick Lynch had nine and junior Evan Taylor added eight.

Gerrale Gates posted a double-double to lead the Crusaders, totaling 19 points and 11 boards.

The 3-point shot fell for the Mountain Hawks in the first half. After back-to-back misses, Lehigh hit six of its next eight and seven of its next 10 to close out the half. The first trey came from Wilson to give Lehigh a 9-4 lead with 15:22 on the clock, then Lynch followed with a layup to give the Mountain Hawks an 11-4 advantage.

Holy Cross shot in 19-18 with 7:44 remaining, but an 8-0 Lehigh run – starting with a Lynch three and ending with a Taylor triple – gave the Mountain Hawks their biggest lead, 27- 18, with 5:59 to play. in the first half.

A trey from Higgins would put Lehigh ahead, 30-21, but the Crusaders outscored the Mountain Hawks 8-4 in the final 3:54 to shoot within 34-29 at halftime.

Holy Cross scored within two, 40-38, just over four minutes into the second half, but the Mountain Hawks responded with a 7-2 run after a defensive rebound from Wilson, a Quick exit led to a Whitney-Sidney layup. to make 47-40 with 1:05 p.m. on the clock.

Minutes later, Higgins knocked down his third 3-pointer (on three attempts) to give Lehigh a 50-42 lead with 9:35 remaining, but the Mountain Hawks scored just two in the 5:37 subsequent ones, which turned out to be costly. . Holy Cross rode an 11-2 run, capped off by a Gates jumper, to give the Crusaders their first lead at 53-52 with 5:01 remaining.

Holy Cross took the lead from there, except for two Whitney-Sidney free throws that put Lehigh back in front, 56-55. With the Crusaders advantage at two in the final minute, Taylor looked good for a corner three, but it wouldn’t go down. The margin reached six in the final seconds, but Lehigh made one last effort. Junior Jake Below converted a four-point play with 7.2 seconds on the clock, then after Gates made 1 of 2 free throws, Whitney-Sidney was fouled in the backcourt. He made the first then intentionally missed the second, which led to Wilson grabbing his 13th rebound of the day and he was fouled. However, the free throw that followed was out of place. He missed the second intentionally, but Crusaders secured the rebound and the win.

“As a team, when you have such a low finish rate (out of two) sometimes it’s an indicator that some guys are trying to do a little too much on their own,” Reed said. “We have been very good throughout this year when the ball is swung, moved and we have had quick and explosive opportunities where the defense moves a bit more. That is something we all have to recognize and come back to. the formula of playing together and sharing it at a very high level.”

For the game, the Mountain Hawks shot 39.6% from the floor (21 of 53), including 52.9% from 3-point range (9 of 17) – the third time in the last four games and the fourth times in the last six at 50% or better. Lehigh has knocked down 43 of 84 from behind the arc over the past four games. Holy Cross finished 40.7 percent from the field (24 of 59) and 40.0 percent from 3-point range. The Crusaders held a 42-33 advantage on the glass.

“I think Holy Cross played really hard,” Reed said. “They have athleticism, which we recognize. I thought another key to the game was that they established themselves early with a tenacity factor on offensive rebounds. We adjusted, but that came back and hurt us as we entered this deep and important race in Part Two.”

The Mountain Hawks return home next week for two games – hosting Navy on Wednesday, Feb. 2 and Boston University on Saturday, Feb. 5. Wednesday’s game will be Salute to Service presented by Weis Markets. To purchase tickets online, please click here.

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