Lehigh men's basketball's senior forward Dominic Parolin drives past Boston University's sophomore forward Otto Landrum during a regular season game at Stabler Arena on Feb. 28. In their playoff matchup on Sunday, Lehigh won 84-79.

Lehigh men’s basketball advances to championship game after comeback win against Boston


Lehigh men’s basketball’s first-year guard Cam Gillus is used to performing in big games.

A year ago, he scored 20 points to win a District of Columbia title for Sidwell Friends School. Before the Patriot League semi-final matchup between Lehigh and Boston University on Sunday, Lehigh coach Brett Reed talked to Gillus about drawing on that previous success in big games.

It worked.

Gillus shot the roof off of Boston’s Case Gym, draining six 3s and scoring a career-high 30 points to wheel the Mountain Hawks to the Patriot League title game after defeating the Terriers 84-79 in overtime on Sunday afternoon. 

“He had his own personal run in the second half where he was sensational,” Reed said. “(He was) knocking down shots and playing with tremendous confidence.” 

That run came when Lehigh needed it most, trailing by 21 after Boston senior guard Miles Brewster hit the 11th 3-pointer for the Terriers with 24 seconds remaining in the first half. Gillus responded just before the buzzer to keep the deficit to 46-28 heading into the locker room.

Nearly every time the Mountain Hawks scored, it seemed like the Terriers responded from long range. First-year guard Kyrone Alexander and senior guard Anthony Morales each had more than one 3 as the Terriers shot 57% from beyond the arc in the first half. 

Once Gillus and his teammates sat down at halftime, he said the talking points centered on defense.

“We felt like they were a little too comfortable,” Gillus said. “(They were) getting 3s off, and we weren’t really pressuring them.”

The Mountain Hawks tightened their defense in the second half and allowed only 22 points in the final 20 minutes of regulation. While this was happening, Gillus got going on offense.

Trailing by 13 with 15:31 left, Gillus scored 10 points in five minutes to bring Lehigh to within four at 52-48. After the Hawks closed the gap to one, a Gillus steal led to junior guard Keith Higgins getting the foul shots needed for Lehigh to take a 55-54 lead with 7:25 left.

Boston responded with five quick points. But on the next two Lehigh possessions, Gillus responded with six. Fittingly, two Gillus free throws with 17 seconds left gave Lehigh a 70-69 lead.

Seeking a chance to win the game with a final basket, Brewster was tripped while running across the foul-line and set up for two free throws with just three seconds left. His first tied the game. The second missed, and Lehigh had new life heading into overtime.

In the extra frame, it was Lehigh junior guard Tyler Whitney-Sidney who took charge to finish the job.

With the game tied at 76 with 2:20 left, Whitney-Sidney converted on a close-range jump shot to put the Hawks up two. He did it again in the paint a little less than a minute later. And he converted on all four of his foul shots in the closing seconds. He scored his team’s final eight points of the game and finished with 21 overall.

Lehigh’s win ended Boston’s season. Morales led the Terriers with 27 points on 9 for 19 shooting. Alexander finished with 18 and Brewster had nine.

Lehigh, on the other hand, heads to Hamilton, New York, to take on three-time reigning champion Colgate on Wednesday night for the Patriot League Championship and a spot in March Madness. Both regular season games between the two clubs had Colgate winning by just three points.

Reed knows his team has been tested this season and in the tournament.

“This is not a fluke that they are in the championship game,” Reed said. “They play hard, they play well together, they’ve shown resilience, they’ve had many curveballs thrown to them like nobody’s business this year, and they’ve handled each of those adverse situations really well.”

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