Mountain Hawks prey on AU
Men's Hoops still unable to contain Rowland
The AU Men's Basketball team suffered its second loss of the season to Patriot League contender Lehigh, an 86-65 romp in Bethlehem, Pa. on Friday night in front of 2,274 people.
AU (12-12, 6-4) now sits in fourth in the PL, three games out of first place with only four left to play. Lafayette (18-5, 9-1), Lehigh (15-8, 8-2) and Bucknell (11-12, 7-3) all won this weekend, and sit in first, second and third in the PL, respectively.
The Eagles played the Mountain Hawks even through the first half and early into the second. But tied 43-43 at 18:43 in the second half, Lehigh sprang a 13-0 run to take a commanding lead, one they never came close to giving back.
Lehigh guard Austen Rowland scored eight points in that three-minute stretch, part of his game-high 29. He also had nine assists. In the teams' first game, a 63-58 overtime Lehigh defeat of the Eagles at Bender Arena on Jan. 17, Rowland again led all scorers, putting up 20 points.
Another run, an 8-0 Lehigh spurt that ended with 3:33 left in the game, pushed the lead to 79-57, ending hopes of an AU comeback and likely of a regular season PL title. The loss marks the greatest margin of defeat the Eagles have suffered in-conference in the last two seasons.
Junior guard Jason Thomas led the Eagles with 16 points and made 4-of-5 three-pointers, while playing 29 minutes off the bench. Fellow Eagle guards, senior Andres Rodriguez and freshman Andre Ingram, scored 13 points apiece in the loss. Senior forward Jernavis Draughn led all players with 10 rebounds, and scored nine points.
Lehigh guard Adrian Blount was the game's second-leading scorer, tallying 18 points. Lehigh sank 13-of-19 three-pointers, or 68 percent of its attempts. The Mountain Hawks also out-rebounded the Eagles 37-21. Nine different Lehigh players had at least three rebounds.
AU led through much of the first half, and held its largest lead at 13-7 with 14:41 left in the first half. Lehigh took its first lead, a 32-31 advantage, with 4:05 to go in the half. AU tied the score once more, but never led again.
The Eagles play their last two home games of the season this coming weekend. Friday's match-up against fifth place Holy Cross (10-13, 4-6) begins at 8 p.m. and will be televised on PLTV. A win would be AU coach Jeff Jones' 200th career coaching victory.
AU faces Colgate Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., on Senior Day for the Eagles, and likely the last game in Bender Arena for Rodriguez and Draughn. AU closes out the regular season at Army on Feb. 26 and at Lafayette on Feb 28.