Second-half comeback for Bucknell gives Lehigh men’s basketball fifth straight loss

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Lehigh men’s basketball suffered a 77-61 loss to Bucknell Sunday afternoon at Stabler Arena to close out the weekend series. The Mountain Hawks fell to 1-5, while the Bison improved to 2-4, with their only wins coming against Lehigh.

With four straight losses, the Mountain Hawks aren’t happy with the way they have been playing. To switch things up, they started two upperclassmen and three underclassmen.

Junior forward Nic Lynch, who has been the team’s most consistent player this season, converted Lehigh’s first four points, but Bucknell hit four straight shots before the Mountain Hawks defense could stop their hot shooting.

The Mountain Hawks started narrowing on Bucknell’s lead when sophomore guard Evan Taylor hit a couple of crucial shots to keep them in the game. Taylor had 15 points and was the team’s leading scorer, followed by Lynch, who had 12.

Taylor was one of those underclassmen who got the start. He said one of the biggest difference-makers for him these past couple of games have been making the simple plays.

“The biggest difference for me was staying focused, staying in the moment, and having fun the last couple of games to get that run,” Taylor said.

There were 10 lead changes in the first half, but after a Lynch layup to put the Mountain Hawks up 28-27, Lehigh remained on top for the rest of the half. Their largest lead of the first-half came off of a Jake Betlow jumper to put them ahead by six, but Bucknell ended the half on a 5-0 run to cut Lehigh’s deficit to 37-36 at the half.

Bucknell came out of halftime ready to play. They took the lead off of a John Meeks jumper with 19:32 to play and took control of Lehigh the rest of the game. They outscored the Mountain Hawks 41-27 in the second half to lead them to their second straight win. Meek led both teams with 31 points.

A key role in helping Lehigh’s lead at the half was their shooting percentage. They shot 52 percent from the field in the first half but struggled to find the back of the net in the second half and ended the day shooting just 39.7 percent. Their poor shooting performance in the second half led to their fourth straight loss.

Head coach Brett Reed said one of the adjustments they need to make before next week’s game is to put a performance together for 40 minutes.

“We’ve had some great extended periods of time, but we have not been able to keep our consistency,” Reed said. “Ultimately, the biggest adjustments I would like to see us make is to continue to take steps forward. Whatever part of the game we work on, for instance, rebounding, which has been a struggle for us coming out of Navy. If we do a better job, let’s just make sure we don’t regress in that area.”

The Mountain Hawks will look to snap their five-game losing streak when they head to Holy Cross on Jan 23.

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