Patriot League Upset: Colgate Knocks off Lehigh Behind Big First Half
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The Colgate Raiders were on a three-game losing streak coming into today, head coach Matt Lanegel had never beaten Lehigh and they were trying to knock off a Mountain Hawks team that hadn't lost on the road in Patriot League action yet this season.
None of it mattered to the Raiders, though, as they came up with a big 64-60 victory.
Colgate dominated the first half of the game and were up 41-25 at halftime. Lehigh refused to go away, though, making an 18-0 run at one point in the second half and eventually tying the game at 56. However, Colgate went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final minute and Lehigh went on a nearly three-minute skid without a single point.
Colgate's Murphy Burnatowski led all scorers with 19 points (and chipped in with five rebounds), while teammate Pat Moore added 17. Gabe Knutson and Anthony D'Orazio led Lehigh with 17 points each, and Holden Greiner posted 12 points, eight rebounds and three steals for the Mountain Hawks.
Colgate started off hot, jumping to an early 22-4 lead that was fueled by a 16-0 run. Lehigh had to take three timeouts before the 11-minute mark. The timeouts weren't helping, as the Mountain Hawks turned it over coming out of the first timeout and never scored out of a single one of those clock stoppages.
Knutson was doing the only work for Lehigh through the first four-and-a-half minutes. Nobody else took a shot from the floor during that stretch, while Knutson went 2-for-5, accounting for all four points.
The Raiders were taking advantage of John Brandenburg's 6'11" frame early on. He and Burnatowksi each had four points early, with the latter contributing a big steal and a dunk to help capture momentum.
Moore exploded with eight points out of Lehigh's first timeout, six coming on two three-point shots.
Outside of Knutson, the rest of the Lehigh team was 0-for-7 from the floor through the first 10 minutes of the game.
Mackey McKnight finally ended the Mountain Hawks drought when he drove to the rim and drew a foul, hitting both free throw attempts. Lehigh was able to make it competitive over the next couple minutes until the under-eight timeout, when it trailed 28-12.
However, the Raiders once again started knocking down shots and built their lead to 38-18 with under four minutes remaining in the first half.
Lehigh closed the gap slightly and trailed 41-25 at intermission. Colgate was attempting to hold for the last possession. At halftime, Moore led all scorers with 12 points. He was followed by Knutson's 11 and Burnatowski's nine.
The absence of C.J. McCollum was noticeable as the Mountain Hawks tallied just three assists in the first half. The Colgate bench also outscored Lehigh 11-0, and the Raiders outrebounded the Mountain Hawks 20 to 12.
Both teams went scoreless through the first two-plus minutes of the second half. Burnatowski then hit his second three of the game. Following a steal and dunk by Lehigh's D'Orazio, Moore knocked down another triple, extending the Colgate lead to 47-27.
Burnatowski remained hot in the second half. Through the first six minutes, he was 3-of-5 from the field with all three makes coming from beyond the arc.
The Mountain Hawks wouldn't go away, though. They scored 18 unanswered, fueled mainly by D'Orazio and Greiner. Greiner had two big steals and dunks during that run, while D'Orazio contributed six points.
Lehigh's big run finally concluded, and both teams continued to battle, with Colgate taking a 56-53 lead after an up-and-under move by Burnatowski. However, D'Orazio answered on the other end to tie the game at 56.
Brandon James gave Colgate a 58-56 lead after hitting two free throws. On the other end, Knutson missed a layup attempt and knocked it out of bounds while trying to corral the rebound—a call he wasn't pleased about.
James then cost the Raiders a possession when he committed an offensive foul. It wouldn't hurt Colgate, though, as Knutson missed a three and Greiner was rejected by Burnatowski.
Following a timeout with 41 seconds to go, Colgate got the ball in Burnatowski's hands. He tried a fallaway jumper and was short. McKnight took possession of the ball for Lehigh, drove down court, tried to make a move under the basket and stepped out of bounds.
Down by two points, Lehigh proceeded to foul. They first sent James to the line, who made both of his free throws. McKnight answered with a layup, and Lehigh had to foul once again. Sending the senior Mitch Rolls to the line.
He sank both of his free throws. McKnight once again got the ball with only 7.7 seconds to go. Using only 4.2 seconds of the clock, he got another layup to go. Rolls was once again fouled and iced the game by making both free throws.
Colgate improves to 10-17, 4-6 in the Patriot League and will travel to West Point to play Army on Wednesday, Feb. 20. Lehigh drops to 18-6, 8-2 in conference, and their four-game winning streak comes to an end.
They will take on the Bucknell Bison on Monday, Feb. 18—a game that will be on the CBS Sports Network—in a battle for first place in the Patriot League conference.
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