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Patriot Semifinals Recap

March 11, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

Patriot League Semifinals Recap

Recap by Steve Sheridan

No. 1 Lehigh 60, No. 4 Bucknell 45
For the first time ever, the Lehigh Mountain Hawks will play in and host the Patriot League Championship game after the team’s 60-45 victory over Bucknell on Sunday evening.

The Mountain Hawks spotted the Bison a 6-0 advantage to start the game, but then went on a crushing 23-2 run over the next 9:34 to take a commanding 23-8 lead that would never be seriously threatened for the remainder of the game. The Bison, coming off a 62 percent shooting night game against Holy Cross on Saturday, hit only six field goals in the first half on the way to a 32 percent shooting night. Lehigh, meanwhile, missed its first eight shots but responded to hit 22-of-33 shots the rest of the way, ending the night at 54 percent from the floor. The Bison, in losing in the semifinals for the third consecutive year, scored the fewest points in a game this season at the worst time. The team was never able to get within eight points in the second half as the Mountain Hawk lead was consistently in double figures throughout.

Reserve Kevin Tempest was the surprise leader for the Mountain Hawks, tallying 12 points and four steals, while Jose Olivero put together another solid game with 12 points of his own. These performances took the load off of Austen Rowland and Jason Mgebroff, who scored nine and 10 points, respectively, as the entire team got into the scoring act as they game went on.

For the Bison, Kevin Bettencourt and Charles Lee both scored a team-high 10 points, but Bettencourt hit only 3-of-12 shots from the field and Lee sank just three of his nine attempts. The duo received little help from their teammates, with Chris McNaughton being held to seven points and seven rebounds, as the team in general was held in check by some impressive Mountain Hawk defense.

Lehigh, meanwhile, rediscovered its shooting touch that had betrayed them the past few weeks, shooting at or better than 50 percent from the field, from beyond the arc and from the free throw line.

No. 2 American 65, No. 6 Colgate 55
Jernavis Draughn had a big game for American with 16 points and eight rebounds to lead the Eagles to a 65-55 victory over Colgate, securing a spot in the league championship game on Saturday.

The game was even for the first 20 minutes, as the two teams entered the halftime break even at 25 apiece. Howard Blue scored 12 points in the first half for the Raiders, but the senior would be a non-factor in the second half, not registering a single point in the second 20 minutes of play. The Eagles, meanwhile, came out flying to begin the second half, storming to a 12-0 run over the first 4:41 of the second half. Colgate was able to chip away at the lead, getting it down to three points with 8:14 to go, but American again responded with an 8-0 run that gave them a lead that could not be overcome by the poor-shooting Raiders. Colgate hit just one of eight shots in the final 2:47 of the game.

Colgate shot just 35 percent from the field, despite a 41 percent mark from beyond the arc, as the team simply couldn’t hit enough clutch shots coming down the stretch. Alvin Reed led the Raiders with 18 points, but as mentioned above Blue did nothing for Colgate in the second half, while fellow co-captain Mark Linebaugh was never able to get anything going, hitting just 2-of-11 shots for nine points in his final game in a Raider uniform. Andrew Zidar also had an untimely quiet game for Colgate, notching just five points and four rebounds as he battled both Draughn and foul trouble.

Draughn was helped out in the scoring department by Andres Rodriguez, who had 15 points and five assists, and Raimondas Petrauskas, who had 11 points and was one of three Eagles to corral six rebounds. American won the game on the boards, completely dominating Colgate to the tune of a 43-19 rebounding edge and continually getting second- and third-chance opportunities on the offensive end. Especially down the stretch, American was able to take extra time off the clock by taking down most of the rebounds, which combined with the Eagles’ 47 percent shooting as a team, proved to be too potent a combination for Emmett Davis’ squad to handle.

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