Posted: January 2, 2008
NEW YORK – Senior captain Bryan White scored a career-high 23 points, but it wasn’t enough as Lehigh fell to Columbia 74-64 on Wednesday evening at Levien Gym. Ivy League Preseason Player of the Year John Baumann netted a game-high 27 points for the Lions who improve to 6-7 with the win, while the Mountain Hawks fall to 6-7 in their final non-league road contest of the season.
“I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to make some of the adjustments that we had talked about during the course of the game,” Lehigh head coach Brett Reed said afterwards. “We showed our youth tonight and with such a young team you’re going to go through stretches like that.” He added, “Bryan White played an outstanding game for us, I can’t say enough about the effort he put forth this evening.”
Lehigh shot 40 percent from the field for the game, and just 24 percent from three-point range, while the Lions sank 53 percent of their shots and 40 percent from downtown. Junior captain Matt Szalachowski added 14 points for Lehigh, while sophomore Zahir Carrington added eight. Lehigh pulled down 31 rebounds to Columbia’s 29, led by sophomore Dave Buchberger’s five, while Carrington and White both ripped down four.
A balanced Lehigh offense was the story of the first half as the Mountain Hawks led 34-31 at intermission on the strength of nine different players getting in the scoring column, led by White’s 11 points. Szalachowski added seven points, as the Brown and White shot 48 percent from the field and out rebounded the Lions 15-12. White also handed out three first half assists and recorded two steals in 17 minutes of action, while Marquis Hall, who struggled with his shot going, handed out two helpers.
Columbia was led by the one-two punch of Baumann and Ben Nwachukwu who combined for 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Baumann netted 15 first half tallies, including three three-pointers, while Nwachukwu scored eight, as no other Columbia player scored more than three points in the half. The Lions shot 50 percent from the field and handed out ten assists led by K.J. Matsui’s three. Both teams took good care of the ball, turning it over five times apiece, while there were only a total of six free throws, five of which were taken by Lehigh.
A three-pointer by K.J. Matsui tied the score at 36 with 19:20 to go in the game, and Columbia took its first lead of the second half when Nwachukwu, who finished with 17 points, hit a short jumper at the 14:56 clip. The Lions extended their lead to seven with 11:45 to go when Nwachukwu scored yet again, but Lehigh cut the deficit to just two on a jumper from Szalachowski. The Mountain Hawks were unable to get any closer however, and when Baumann sank a step-back three-pointer with White’s hand in his face, the Lions found themselves up 64-54 with 1:34 left on the clock and they never looked back.
Lehigh will be back in action on Sunday afternoon as the Mountain Hawks close out the non-league portion of their schedule against the Tigers of Princeton. Tip-off is set for 1:00 at Stabler Arena and tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by logging onto Lehighsports.com or at the arena box office prior to tip-off on Sunday.