Lehigh junior guard Lance Tejada shoots the ball in Lehigh’s game against Bucknell at Stabler Arena on Monday. The Mountain Hawks defeated the Bisons 92-89. (Kate Morrell/B&W Staff)

Lehigh men’s basketball brings home 92-89 upset win over league leader Bucknell

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One second remained on the clock.

Lehigh was up 92-89.

Bucknell University star Zach Thomas rose up from deep, but clanked the 3-pointer off the side of the rim.

The Mountain Hawks breathed a sigh of relief as the nationally-televised audience erupted into applause.

In a rematch of last year’s Patriot League Championship game, the Lehigh men’s basketball team (11-13, 6-7 PL) snapped Bucknell’s (17-9, 11-2 PL) 10-game winning streak with a 92-89 overtime victory at Stabler Arena on Monday.

Five Mountain Hawks put up double digit points, including sophomore guard Jordan Cohen with a career-high of 21 points. Cohen shot 6-for-9 from the field, including a perfect 1-for-1 from the 3-point range and 8-for-9 from the charity stripe.

Returning from a head injury last Saturday at Navy, junior guard Lance Tejada said he felt 100 percent after taking the week off.

Despite sitting out the past two games, Tejada scored 17 points, shooting 5-for-8 from the field. Tejada was plagued by early foul trouble but became the catalyst in overtime with two critical 3-pointers.

“You work so hard in the offseason, it’s kind of like second nature,” Tejada said. “It’s just about having the confidence within to take those shots and make them.”

Sophomore forward Pat Andree led with 24 points. Andree had nine rebounds and finished the game shooting 7-for-10 from the field, including 5-for-6 from long distance and 5-6 free throws.

Lehigh sophomore forward Pat Andree shoots a free throw in Lehigh’s matchup against Bucknell at Stabler Arena on Monday. The Mountain Hawks’ victory broke the Bisons’ 10-game winning streak. (Kate Morrell/B&W Staff)

Andree said going into the game, the Mountain Hawks asked themselves what they wanted out of the season. They knew the outcome of tonight’s game would have important implications for the remainder of the year.

“We’ve been struggling, and not just this game, but last game too. Being able to beat Boston (University) and Bucknell shows that we can beat anybody in the league if we play at our best,” Andree said. “That’s the only way you want it going into February and March.”

While Andree led in scoring, freshman center James Karnik led the team in rebounds with 11 and senior guard Kahron Ross chipped in five steals.

After the Bisons took a 40-38 lead heading into halftime, the seesaw of lead changes began. The Mountains Hawks came out of the half on a 7-0 run to take a 45-42 lead after Bucknell scored the first points out of the break.

Almost as quickly as the Bisons claimed the lead, Lehigh stole it back.

Then, the Bisons took it back.

And then Lehigh took it back.

It looked as if Bucknell was on the verge of a game-clinching run as the Bison took a 69-61 lead late in the game, but Lehigh showed resiliency.

The Mountain Hawks answered with a pair of Cohen free throws, a jumper from Tejada and a layup from Karnik to bring the score within 69-67.

Bucknell kept its lead until Karnik’s third dunk of the game put Lehigh up 75-74 with less than a minute on the clock.

A pair of free throws from the Bisons landed Bucknell a point above Lehigh, but a Tejada free throw sent the game into overtime with 76-76 on the scoreboard.

A Tejada three gave Lehigh a 79-76 advantage to start off overtime. Despite seven free throws and two threes from Bucknell, Lehigh never gave up its lead, and the Mountain Hawks carried their momentum through to a 92-89 win.

“It was a great game,” coach Brett Reed said. “Bucknell has been a very great team, and fortunately for us, we’ve had some terrific, terrific battles with them over the years. As two of the teams that have been near the top of the league consistently, this one didn’t disappoint either.”

Reed said his players have been stepping up recently – keeping their energy and intensity levels high – and supporting each other. He said the team has come together, allowing the Mountain Hawks to withstand disappointing losses and fuel exciting wins.

For the game, Lehigh shot 29-for-65 from the field, including 11-for-21 from the 3-point range. This is the team’s fourth game in a row shooting better than 50 percent from 3-point range and the seventh consecutive game making double digit threes.

“I think it just shows the potential that we have moving forward that maybe we haven’t utilized yet this season,” Andree said. “I think February has always been a good season for Lehigh basketball, so we’re starting to get back into it, keeping our momentum going.”

Lehigh moves on to play American University Saturday on the road and looks to carry the momentum it gained from back-to-back wins against the top two teams in the league.

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