After a layup by senior forward Dominic Parolin, the Lehigh’s men’s basketball team held a 21-14 lead on Wednesday night against Army, which they built meticulously over a time of nearly 12 minutes.
Over the next 12, it would fall apart.
Lehigh took 10 more shots from the field in the first half and missed all of them. After only making one basket in 13 minutes and 42 seconds, the Mountain Hawks fell behind Army on the way to a 68-57 loss at Stabler Arena.
The only basket Lehigh (7-15, 4-7 Patriot) made in the nearly 14 minutes without a field goal was when junior guard Tyler Whitney-Sidney finished on a driving layup with 17:06 remaining in the second half.
Whitney-Sidney finished with 12 points and entered the game second on the team in scoring behind junior guard Keith Higgins, who hasn’t played since Jan. 6 due to injury.
Army (7-17, 3-8 Patriot) defended the interior well enough to force Whitney-Sidney, who makes shots primarily from driving layups, to shoot 3-pointers. Whitney-Sidney missed all five of his attempts.
“I’m the best driver in the league,” Whitney-Sidney said. “They were just trying to take that away from me.”
The long run without scoring allowed Army to carry a 27-23 lead into the half. As Lehigh’s offense continued to struggle, they built that lead out to 15 with over 11 minutes remaining in the game.
The Mountain Hawks as a whole only went 4-25 from three-point range throughout the game. No player on Lehigh made more than one 3-pointer.
Lehigh coach Brett Reed said that while he knows his team has the ability to shoot well from distance, they did not capitalize against Army.
“We’ve had a few games this year where, to be honest with you, we’ve really struggled to knock down shots and make shots outside the paint,” Reed said. “What we tried to do tonight was increase our defensive pressure to see if we could get any turnovers and fast break opportunities.”
The turnover numbers between the two teams were rather equal throughout the game. A couple were forced by Lehigh in the second half, including one by first-year guard Nasir Whitlock, which led to a fastbreak, allowing them to get a growing Army lead back down to 10.
Lehigh would get the lead down to 10 twice in the second half, but on both occasions, would give up points on the next possession.
“We’d get a couple stops and then give up a lot of points,” Whitlock said.
Army was led in scoring by junior guard TJ Small, who finished with 15. The Black Knights’ two leading scorers, the first-year duo of guard Ryan Curry and forward Josh Scovens, both finished with 11.
The leading scorer for the Mountain Hawks was Parolin, who finished with 13. Whitney-Sidney was the only other Lehigh player to finish in double-digits.
While Reed commended the defense’s effort to limit Army to 27 in the first half, he admitted the offensive woes were too much to overcome.
“We had a lot of open shots,” Reed said. “We didn’t make any of them.”
Lehigh men’s basketball will play next on Feb. 10 at Stabler Arena against Lafayette.