WEST POINT, N.Y. - Senior John Adams hit a three-pointer with 11 seconds left in overtime to give the Lehigh men’s basketball team a 74-72 win at Army Saturday. With the victory, the Mountain Hawks set a school record with their 23rd win of the season while tying a school-mark 11 Patriot League victories. The second-seeded Mountain Hawks will now get set to host #7 Colgate Wednesday night in the Patriot League Quarterfinals.
“It was not an easy contest by any means,” said Lehigh head coach Brett Reed. “Army came in with the right mindset and we had some mental lapses with some turnovers and poor defensive execution. At the end of the day, I’m glad that even though we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be, our second half energy gave us some opportunities to score, and togetherness ended up being a big key for us.”
Junior C.J. McCollum paced Lehigh with a game-high 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting while adding six rebounds and five assists, including the pass to Adams for the game-winning three. Junior Gabe Knutson added 17 points while Adams finished with 11.
Trailing by one, the teams went back and forth the entire second half. With the score tied 60-60 towards the end of regulation, McCollum hit a jumper to put Lehigh out in front with 1:16 remaining. Army responded with a layup to tie the score, but McCollum hit a pair of free throws to put the Mountain Hawks back up by two with 43 seconds to go.
Army’s Ella Ellis was fouled and hit both free throws to even the score. Then, with another chance for heroics, McCollum missed a three at the end of regulation.
The Black Knights applied the pressure in overtime, forcing Lehigh to respond. Down 69-67, the Mountain Hawks scored four straight on a pair of dunks from Knutson and Adams to give them a 71-69 lead with 2:50 left. Josh Herbeck hit a three to put Army back ahead by one with 2:13 to go. The teams exchanged turnovers before McCollum found Adams on the left wing for the game-winning three.
Still time on the clock, Army’s Maxwell Lenox was fouled driving to the basket, but missed both free throws as Lehigh secured the rebound for the victory.
Lehigh started the game with an early 5-3 lead, but the Black Knights went on a 9-0 run to make it 12-5 with 15:29 left. The Mountain Hawks responded with a 7-0 run of their own, five of those points coming from Adams, as Lehigh evened the score at 12 with 11:54 to go while holding Army without a basket for four minutes.
The teams went back and forth as Army pulled back ahead 22-16, but Lehigh responded with a 10-2 run - five each from McCollum and Knutson - to take a 26-24 lead with 3:24 left in the half.
McCollum continued to catch fire, scoring Lehigh’s final six points, but Lehigh trailed 31-30 at the half after the Mountain Hawks went scoreless for the final 1:30 and Army connected on a three at the buzzer.
The Mountain Hawks shot 52 percent in the first half including 43 percent from three while Army shot 43 percent and 27 percent from behind the arc. Both teams had 15 rebounds while the Black Knights held a small edge on the offensive glass, 5-2. Lehigh turned the ball over nine times while forcing five Army turnovers.
Lehigh stormed out of the gates in the second half, going on a 10-2 run in the first four minutes to take a 40-33 lead. Prior to a Jordan Hamilton three at the 16:14 mark, McCollum and Knutson had accounted for Lehigh’s previous 21 points.
Army ended the run with a three en route to an 11-3 run as the Black Knights jumped back out front 44-43, but it wasn’t for long as a McCollum jumper and Holden Greiner three gave the Mountain Hawks a 48-44 lead with 10:40 left.
The teams continued to exchange runs as Army took a 51-50 lead with 7:32 to go. Then four minutes later, it was still close with the teams knotted up at 57-57 with 3:20 left.
After a pair of made free throws, the Black Knights took a 59-57 lead, but Knutson converted on a three-point play at the other end to put Lehigh ahead 60-59 with 1:50 remaining, eventually setting up Adams’ heroics.
Lehigh shot 49 percent for the game (29-of-59) while Army finished at 45 percent (26-of-58). The Mountain Hawks shot 38 percent from long range (8-of-21) to the Black Knights’ 35 percent (9-of-26). Lehigh won the battle of the boards, 38-29.
Lehigh will host Colgate in the Patriot League Quarterfinals next Wednesday (Feb. 29) at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased on Lehighsports.com, over the phone (610-758-4263) or in-person at Stabler Arena, Monday-through-Friday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $6 for students/children/seniors.