Lehigh men's basketball junior guard Tyler Whitney-Sidney drives past Colgate defenders during the Patriot League title game in Hamilton, New York on March 13. Colgate won 74-55. (Courtesy of Hannah Ally/Lehigh Sports)

Colgate blows away Lehigh men’s basketball to win the Patriot League


HAMILTON, N.Y. – Colgate won their fourth consecutive Patriot League men’s basketball title on Wednesday by attacking an undersized and shorthanded Lehigh frontcourt over and over again.

The Raiders outscored the Mountain Hawks with their points from the paint or free throw line alone as they comfortably defeated the Mountain Hawks 74-55 at Cotterell Court. 

The Mountain Hawks were without all-conference senior center Dominic Parolin, who suffered an injury during the team’s semi-final win on March 10 against Boston University. 

Parolin’s injury forced Lehigh to play forwards who typically would not see minutes in playoff games including sophomore forward Henri Adiassa, who played 11 minutes tonight, more than the amount he played in the last 20 games combined.

“I think Dom would have helped us tremendously,” Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. “He’s our primary interior defender and someone that we really counted on.”

The interior defense without Parolin struggled in the first half as Colgate shot 59% from the field. 

The scoring came primarily from either long, drawn-out possessions that used Colgate senior center Jeff Woodward’s height advantage to create mismatches or from quick fast break layups, which utilized sophomore guard Braeden Smith’s dribble moves and speed.

By the time the teams went into the locker room, Colgate held a commanding 46-25 lead.

“We struggled keeping Colgate out of the paint,” Reed said. “They scored at too high of a clip.”

That accuracy that Colgate shot with was characterized by the performance of sophomore guard Brady Cummins, who shot 8 for 9 from the field. Cummins led all Colgate scorers with 19 points. 

Colgate was able to keep Lehigh out of reach for the entire rest of the game as they built up a lead which was as large as 30 points with 3:44 remaining in the second half before Lehigh finished the game with 11 unanswered points.

Seven of those eleven were scored by first-year guard Nasir Whitlock, who finished with 17 points as the only Lehigh player in double figures. Nevertheless, the run came too late as Lehigh were down 30 at that point.

“We had really shared the basketball for a good portion of the season,” Reed said. “But tonight, whether it’s Colgate’s pressure or just our inability to make shots broke us down as well.”

Colgate shot 50% from the field in the second half and while they struggled from beyond the arc by shooting only 21%, it was an area Lehigh struggled in even more. Lehigh shot 5 for 28 on 3s with three of those being made by Whitlock. 

The win allowed Colgate to secure the Patriot League’s automatic entry into March Madness. No team other than Colgate has represented the conference in the NCAA Tournament since 2018. 

Lehigh’s season came to a close following the loss. The Mountain Hawks recovered from a rough start after going 0-8 against Division I opponents up until Dec. 30. After falling to 4-7 in the conference, Lehigh won seven of their last nine games to make it to the title game. 

“When you look back at what we faced and what we were able to accomplish, there’s going to be some solace,” Reed said. “There were just a lot of positive things that we can take from this year.”

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