The Lehigh Mountain Hawks scored 57 points in the first half to capture a 25 point lead entering half time.
The Boston University Terriers cut the lead to a single digit with 5:13 remaining in the game, but the deficit proved to be too much, as the Lehigh defeated the BU, 94-78, at Stabler Arena on Saturday afternoon.
“I really loved the way the guys fought through that,” head coach Joe Jones said. “It was as tough of a situation as we’ve had, being down that many on the road, and I just thought our guys fought and didn’t give up.
“When you’re going through this, it’s hard not to give in,” Jones said. “And tonight, we didn’t give in, and that’s a step towards the right direction.”
After allowing the largest lead of the afternoon, 71-43, with 13:59 remaining in regulation, the Terriers (9-12, 2-6 Patriot League) went on a 28-9 run in the next eight minutes to cut the double-digit deficit to nine points.
Led by redshirt freshman guard Alex Vilarino’s 18 second-half points, the Terriers relentlessly attacked the paint, scoring 41 of their 46 second-half points from either the free throw line or inside the paint.
“We just tried to go and attack, and that’s what he does the best,” Jones said. “He was able to get into the paint and make plays in the second half. I was proud of the way he went after.”
Lehigh (13-6, 6-2 Patriot League) shot 79.3 percent from the field and 63.6 percent in the first half. Junior guard scored career-high 32 points, including 20 in the first half off a perfect 8-of-8 shooting from the field.
Four Mountain Hawks reached double figures by half time, including sophomore center James Karnik, who contributed career-high 21 points for the afternoon.
“I know the guys are out there trying,” Jones said. “They’re out there trying to do what we ask them to do. … I don’t feel they’re just saying, ‘No, I’m not doing this,’ or fighting with me about the things that we’re trying to do. We’re just not there yet. We’re not getting it done.”
Sophomore guard Javante McCoy and junior forward Tyler Scanlon added 15 and 16 points, respectively, for BU. Freshman Jonas Harper didn’t miss a shot and finished with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field.
Despite having lost five of their last six games, Jones said the attitude around the team has stayed positive. Going forward, he said his plan is to continue adjusting the necessary changes to make the team more successful, which at the moment is to get defensive stops.
“We’ve never really gone through something like this before, and we’ve just got to fight through it together,” Jones said. “It’s not when things are going well, and you win six in a row—you’re good with everybody then. I’ve gotta be good, and I’ve gotta be even better, when things aren’t going well.”
“If I can teach our guys that, that’ll be a great lesson to learn because they’re going to go through harder things than going through a losing streak at BU.”