Posted: February 10, 2004
Lewisburg, PA – Lehigh dropped a heartbreaking 64-63 defeat to Bucknell at Sojka Pavilion on Tuesday evening. Senior Ra Tiah drove the length of the floor and threw up a desperation shot at the buzzer, but it fell short and the Mountain Hawks did as well. With the loss, Lehigh falls to 14-8, 7-2 in the Patriot League and Bucknell improves to 10-12, 6-3 in the league.
Lehigh placed three players in double figures led by freshman Jason Mgebroff, who scored all 15 of his points in the second half, senior Austen Rowland netted 14 points and Tiah tossed in ten. The Mountain Hawks had a tough go at it in the first half, hitting only 33 percent from the field and fell behind by as many as 12, at 34-22 with 1:01 remaining in the half. The Bison would take a 34-25 lead into the locker rooms, led by Kevin Bettencourt’s 10 points on seven of nine shooting from the free throw line. Tiah hit all ten of his points in the first half, connecting on two three pointers, and both of his charity stripe tosses.
The second half was a heated battle, as tensions flared, but Lehigh continually cut into the lead, and was able to finally tie it up at 54 with 5:14 remaining. From there on out, it was a back and forth affair, as no team went ahead by more than three points. The Mountain Hawks appeared to have secured the victory when Mgebroff connected on two free throws with 1:49 remaining to put Lehigh ahead 60-57. However, a Rowland foul sent the Bison to the line and Charles Lee sank both shots to make it a one-point affair with 1:11 to go.
With the Mountain Hawks up 63-61 with :25 seconds remaining, an intentional foul was called on Lehigh junior Nick Monserez and Lee went back to the line, sank both tosses and tied the game. Bucknell got the ball back and Bettencourt drove to the basket, was fouled and hit one of two, to put the home team up 64-63 with seven seconds remaining. Tiah then raced down the court and threw up his shot, but it fell short, and Lehigh came up on the short end.
Rowland was obviously frustrated, but hung his head high at the end. “We did a heck of a job fighting back. We put ourselves in position to win, but couldn’t get it done.” Head Coach Billy Taylor was also frustrated, but was pleased with how the Mountain Hawks fought back. “The first half, we settled for too many jump shots.” Taylor continues, “In the second half, we wanted to get Jason some looks inside and we had some success with that.”
Lehigh returns to action on Friday when the Mountain Hawks host American at Stabler Arena. Tip-off is set for 8:00. Tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME, or on Lehigh’s website.