The Lehigh men’s basketball team defeated Bucknell 78-62 at Stabler Arena on Feb. 22.
The Mountain Hawks jumped out to an early lead in the first half, and never looked back throughout the night. A balanced scoring attack allowed Lehigh’s offense to shoot over 50% from the field, but it was their defense that gave them a substantial advantage.
During the first half of play, the Mountain Hawks limited Bucknell’s offense to 32.6% shooting and only one three-point shot. At the break, Lehigh led 36-23.
Senior guard Evan Taylor said their cohesiveness on the floor and attention to detail allowed them to see success on the defensive end.
“We’re just executing,” Taylor said. “We’re doing a great job of playing with one another and then anticipating plays.”
Throughout the second half, Bucknell fought to get back into the game. The Bison went on a 9-3 run with 12 minutes remaining in the second half that cut Lehigh’s lead down to eight. However, each time the Bison made a dent in the Mountain Hawks’ lead, Lehigh responded with a timely score of their own.
The Lehigh offense converted high percentage shots throughout the game, especially because of sophomore guard Tyler-Whitney Sidney’s play.
Whitney-Sidney finished with a game-high 20 points, making seven of his 11 shots. Whitney-Sidney made all but one of his buckets right under the basket. His play forced Bucknell into committing fouls against him, and he responded by making all five of his free throw attempts.
Whitney-Sidney said his approach coming into the game was to attack the defense when the opportunity presented itself as opposed to forcing certain shots.
“I kind of let the game come to me,” Whitney-Sidney said. “My biggest thing is just coming out giving what the defense gave me, and they were just pressing up on me, so I’m like ‘Alright, I’m just going to drive to the rim.’”
The Mountain Hawks finished the game shooting a season high 54.4% from the field, putting up 42 second half points.
Head coach Brett Reed credited the team’s particularly strong defensive effort, enabling them to come out with the win. He commended his players for being able to regain focus after giving up points.
“I thought our defensive intensity and focus was at a very high level for multiple possessions,” Reed said. “There were many examples of us just diving on the floor for a loose ball and playing with utmost energy.”
Sitting in third place in the Patriot League standings, Lehigh will travel to Boston University on Feb. 25 to close out the regular season.
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