First-year guard Joshua Ingram drives past a defender during Lehigh men's basketball's game against American on Jan. 20 at Stabler Arena. Ingram scored six points on two 3-pointers in the first half. (Holly Fasching/B&W Staff)

Lehigh men’s basketball battles through injuries to beat American


Playing without starting guards Keith Higgins and Jalin Sinclair, Lehigh men’s basketball utilized their depth to leave Stabler Arena on Saturday night with a 70-68 win over American.

The win was Lehigh’s (5-12, 2-4 Patriot) second in Patriot League play and showcased a Lehigh team that finished off a close victory, something that the Mountain Hawks had struggled with so far this season. Up to the start of this game, Lehigh were 1-9 in contests decided by a single-digit margin.

Lehigh achieved this result through converting 18 of their 20 attempts from the foul line and shooting 51.1% from the field, their second-best performance this season against a Division I opponent. 

Lehigh’s defense held American (10-9, 4-2 Patriot) to 41.9% from the field, less than their league-best average of 46.1%. 

This contest saw Lehigh concede their lowest number of points in a conference game this season, having averaged a league-worst 75.4 points against per game entering the matchup.

After three consecutive losses, Lehigh coach Brett Reed saw the win as a promising result for the team’s defense, especially given the injuries that limited their rotations.

“Our guys just played an intelligent brand of basketball,” Reed said. “They covered for each other when they needed to, they were in the right floor spots and they were determined to hold American as much as possible to one shot.”

On top of Higgins and Sinclair’s injuries, the Mountain Hawks also went without first-year guard Nasir Whitlock, who averaged 11 points per game across Lehigh’s last three games. 

The lack of depth in the backcourt did not prevent Lehigh’s junior guard Tyler Whitney-Sidney from stepping up, dropping a career-high 27 on 8-for-13 shooting and 10-for-10 from the foul line with his backcourt partners sitting out. 

“I do trust our guys, but also, they’re going to expect more from me,” Whitney-Sidney said. “I just tried to do my best for them.”

Lehigh’s lack of depth forced them to only play eight players against American. Every player, except senior forward Dominic Parolin, who is recovering from an injury sustained earlier in the season, played at least 18 minutes.

Senior guard Jayshen Saigal had not played in a game since Dec. 21, but played 20 minutes. Despite only making one basket, Reed commended how Saigal helped Lehigh effectively rotate on defense, which led to American missing shots.

That defense was hard to come by for Lehigh in their last game against American, where the Mountain Hawks gave up 64% from the field in a game that eventually culminated in a 75-66 loss for Lehigh.

Sophomore forward Bube Momah credited the team’s defensive improvements not to any particular adjustment, but instead to the team’s ability to believe in each other’s decision making.

“I think we just had more trust in each other this game,” Momah said.

Lehigh men’s basketball will play their next game against defending conference champions Colgate in Hamilton, New York, on Monday, Jan. 22.

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

Leave A Reply