The Lehigh men’s basketball team could not overcome an incosistent first half, falling to Bucknell 72-56 on Jan. 18.
The Mountain Hawks went down early, as Bucknell’s offense gave Lehigh headaches all night long, though an improved second half defense disrupted the rhythm of Bucknell’s guards.
“Bucknell is always a pretty tough place to play,” junior guard Marquis Wilson said. “As the game went along, guys got more comfortable. The game slowed down in the second half and we started to play harder. We started to get stops on defense and it helped our offense.”
Offensively, senior guard Jordan Cohen was all over the floor, controlling the pace of the game throughout the night.
Sophomore forward Jeameril Wilson also had a strong performance, with a team-high 16 points. Wilson shot two of three from three-point range.
Lehigh played without junior guard James Karnick, who missed his fourth consecutive game due to injury.
The second half comeback was sparked by freshman guard Andrei Arion, who provided a big boost to the Mountain Hawks with his energy and play-making.
“The way Bucknell was playing, they were forcing us to play off dribble penetration,” Lehigh head coach Brett Reed said. “Andrei (Arion) is a type of player that gets a lot of paint touches. We were looking to play with greater space. The decision to put Andrei in was in order to take advantage of that. He ended up getting multiple paint touches.”
The game got as close as 53-48 with a little under six minutes remaining.
After a few back-and-forth plays, Arian spurned a chance to cut the Bucknell lead down to four points with under four minutes to go after missing a pair of free throws.
Bucknell then immediately extended their lead to 61-50 with three minutes left in regulation, hitting back-to-back baskets, including a three-point field goal by guard Jimmy Sotos.
Wilson fought until the final buzzer, scoring seven points in the final two minutes of the game before Lehigh ultimately came up short.
The Mountain Hawks will look to bounce back on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at Holy Cross for a 7 p.m. Patriot League game.