The Lehigh men’s basketball team suffered a 69-58 loss to Boston University in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament to cap off the 2021 season.
Despite leading by as many as 18 with 3:54 in the second half, the Mountain Hawks never quit and cut the deficit to nine off of a Marques Wilson three-pointer, but there was not enough gas left in the tank to come back.
“This was a game where it was really hard to score in the half-court,” said head coach Brett Reed. “We tried to increase the tempo by getting multiple sides of the floor, and when we were able to push the tempo in transition, it allowed us to get some points on the board, which was critical. I give our guys a tip to the cap just because they continue to try to fight and recover. Unfortunately, we just hit too many phases where we struggled.”
The Mountain Hawks opened up the scoring with four straight points and looked to be a strong force in the first couple of minutes, but the Terriers responded with a 5-0 run.
Both teams struggled to get things going, with Lehigh turning it over nine times and the Terriers turning it over six in the first half. The Mountain Hawks finished the night with 15 turnovers, while Boston University followed with 14.
The Terriers got a little momentum going after a Javantae McCoy three-pointer put the Terriers up 12-11 with 13:09 to go in the first half, and they remained on top for the rest of the game.
Boston University ended the first-half, scoring six points in two minutes to put them up 31-23 at halftime.
Lehigh never seemed to find their offensive rhythm throughout the whole game. In the first half, they shot 33.3 percent from the field, while Boston University shot 50 percent from the field. In the second half, they found the net a little more, shooting 40 percent, but the Terriers 60 percent was too much for the Mountain Hawks defense to handle.
Boston University came out of the second half ready to play. A Sukhmail Mathon jumper put them up with 17:22 left put them up 15 points, which was their biggest lead of the game at the time, and they continued to be a force.
Walter Whyte led Boston University with 19 points, while Marques Wilson led Lehigh with 19 points, followed by Jeameril Wilson who notched a season-high 17 points.
Jakob Alamudun cut the deficit to 10 off of a jumper, but The Terriers responded with two huge dunks that sparked some momentum that gave them an 8-0 run.
Alamudun finished the night off with eight points, but he did some things that won’t show up in the stats.
“I think he played hard and physical, which is something that we needed,” Reed said. “He was inserted into the game, and he can be very aggressive on his catches, and tonight, it ended up working out well for him. I thought his energy gave us some nice spirit. “
While tonight’s loss marked the cap of the 2021 season, Reed said he’s happy his team was able to feel some sense of normalcy throughout this COVID-19 season.
“We didn’t get the outcome that we were looking for from a record standpoint,” Reed said. “ I think we were able to see some growth from our team. ….To some respect, having the ability to be able to play basketball, I hope was a little bit of a source of joy for our guys. It’s a time period where everybody has been affected—families, communities, the country has been affected by so many different things, the fact they can do something they enjoyed and had an opportunity to break isolation and come together and be a part of a team when it seems like everybody is so separated in 2020 and 2021, that can hopefully be a great source of community and passion and pride. ”