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Lehigh tops men’s basketball
C.J. McCollum's huge second half powers Mountain Hawks
The Quinnipiac’s men’s basketball team fell short against a strong opponent on Tuesday night as they lost their third-straight game, falling to Lehigh University by a score of 77-66.
Quinnipiac (2-4) did a good job defending McCollum in the first half, limiting him to just five points, but in the second half he came out more assertive and took the game over.
“I don’t think they changed anything defensively against me,” McCollum said. “I just think I was able to get loose a few times and get aggressive after involving my teammates a lot in the first half.”
McCollum wasn’t alone though as senior Gabe Knutson added 17 points and eight rebounds, both above his season averages of 15.6 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game.
Garvey Young led Quinnipiac with 16 points and hit all 10 of his free throws. Ike Azotam had a double-double with 13 points and a game high 13 rebounds, Zaid Hearst added 11 points, and Shaq Shannon contributed seven assists off the bench.
The game was relatively close as Quinnipiac shot 40 percent from the field and outrebounded Lehigh 40-32. The difference in the game was free throw shooting and the 3-point line.
Both Quinnipiac and Lehigh made the same amount of free throws, 19, but Quinnipiac made that many on six more attempts than it took Lehigh (5-2). Quinnipiac ended the game shooting 63 percent from the free throw line, but Quinnipiac coach Tom Moore thinks they left a few key free throws out there.
“We shot free throws very well in the Virgin Islands, and we’re improving,” Moore said. “But we missed a bunch of clutch free throws today that could have helped us build a lead.”
Moore realizes the team doesn’t have a high ceiling when it comes to free throw shooting saying that if they finish fifth or sixth in the Northeast Conference in free throw shooting he would be pleased.
Lehigh shot 40 percent from the 3-point line, making eight threes, four from McCollum in the second half. The Bobcats shot just 27 percent from beyond the arc, hitting just three, creating a major difference in the outcome.
Dave Johnson has been struggling with patella tendonitis, which limited him to 26 minutes, and made him a non-factor in the loss. Moore believes the tendonitis might be with him for a while but hopes the long break between games will help him.
“Dave played terrific in the Virgin Islands, and withstood a lot of pressure from Iona’s guards, Uconn’s guards, and George Mason’s guards,” Moore said. “He’s dealing with patella tendonitis and we need him at full strength to help our team with ball movement.”
Quinnipiac takes the floor again on Dec. 5 against non-conference opponent, Colgate, at the TD Bank Sports Center.