McCollum, Lehigh roll over SHU men
Updated 8:21 pm, Sunday, November 25, 2012
FAIRFIELD -- C.J. McCollum never let them see him sweat.
The Lehigh basketball team didn't even really need their star guard to shed a drop in cruising over Sacred Heart 91-77 Sunday afternoon in front of 636 fans -- including a handful of NBA scouts -- at the Pitt Center.
McCollum, a project top-20 pick in next June's NBA Draft, scored a game-high 26 points with four assists in 30 minutes for the Mountain Hawks (3-2), breaking the Patriot League career scoring record in the process against the Pioneers (2-3).
"I'm not knocking him with this by saying he wasn't a guy that was killing himself to get a lot done," SHU coach Dave Bike said. "He had total control of the game today I think."
More InformationGame glance PLAYER OF THE GMAE: Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum lived up to the hype with a game-high 26 points, including five 3-pointers. KEY TO THE GAME: The Mountain Hawks poured in 49 first-half points and then enjoyed 30-point leads twice in the second half while shooting 50.8 percent for the game. UP NEXT: Thursday at Brown, 7 p.m. -- WILLIAM S. PAXTON
The 6-foot-3 McCollum -- an Associated Press preseason All-America -- was the fifth leading scoring in the nation last season, but SHU came into the game one better with senior guard Shane Gibson having finished fourth. Even though Gibson would score 18 points in the meeting, McCollum quickly dispatched any individual contests between the guards when it came to dominating play against SHU's man defense.
McCollum made his first three shots, including two 3-pointers, and finished the opening half with 16 points and two assists to held the Mountain Hawks grab a 49-33 lead. Gibson finished the half with seven points and three turnovers.
"They are a very good team," Gibson said. "(Coming in) we were thinking slow down C.J. as much as possible, and not just slow him down, but try to contain him and limit everyone else's scoring. They have a good team all-around we found out."
In addition to McCollum, 6-foot-9 Gabe Knutson scored 11 of his 18 points in the first half. Holden Greiner (17) and Stefan Cyrkalj (14) also reached double figures in Lehigh's highest offensive output of the season. SHU had four players in double figures, with Steve Glowiak and Louis Montes each adding 13 and Justin Swidowski pitched in with 10.
"They hurt us with their offense," Bike said. "We kept saying throught the game McCollum is a real good player, but if he didn't score they were still ahead for a lot of the game."
With Lehigh leading by as many as 30 points twice in the second half, McCollum played just 13 minutes and watched the final 7:29 from the bench.
Before he sat, though, McCollum became the Patriot League's all-time leading scoring, setting the mark with a jumper at 12:53 to give him 2,226 career points to pass Holy Cross' Rob Feaster (2,224).
"I wanted to make sure I scored at a high clip and was efficient every year and I think I have done that over the years and it's just a credit to my teammates," said McCollum, who sits at 2,228 career points after the win.
In games against Connecticut schools this season, McCollum has already scored 61 points, with 35 coming last week against Fairfield in the Preseason NIT. The Mountain Hawks play at Quinnipiac Tuesday before returning home.
NOTE: Junior guard Evan Kelley reinjured his knee cap in practice this week and did not play Sunday. The Norwalk graduate is having the knee evaluated, but could be out for an extended period. Junior forward Chris Evans (knee), from Stamford, also remains out and has yet to play this season.
email@example.com; http://twitter.com/wspaxton; http://blog.ctnews.com/paxton/
LEHIGH 91, SACRED HEART 77
D'Orazio 2-8 0-0 4, McCollum 8-14 5-7 26, McKnight 2-5 4-4 8, Greiner 6-9 2-2 17, Knutson 8-12 2-4 18, Carter 0-0 0-0 0, Goodman 0-1 0-0 0, Schaefer 1-3 0-0 2, Cvrkalj 5-7 0-0 14, Staggers 0-0 0-0 0, Goldsborough 0-1 0-0 0, Baltimore 0-3 2-2 2. Totals 32-63 15-19 91.
SACRED HEART (2-3)
Gaetano 1-4 0-0 3, Montes 4-11 5-8 13, Akinpetide 3-7 2-3 8, Gibson 6-15 3-3 18, Greenbacker 2-2 0-0 6, Swidowski 4-5 1-1 10, Cramer 1-1 0-0 2, Abdel Latif 0-0 0-0 0, Glowiak 5-10 0-0 13, Tate 1-1 1-2 3, Falzon 0-5 1-2 1. Totals 27-61 13-19 77.
Halftime--Lehigh 49-33. 3-Point Goals--Lehigh 12-22 (McCollum 5-7, Cvrkalj 4-6, Greiner 3-4, McKnight 0-1, Schaefer 0-1, D'Orazio 0-3), Sacred Heart 10-23 (Glowiak 3-5, Gibson 3-8, Greenbacker 2-2, Swidowski 1-2, Gaetano 1-3, Falzon 0-1, Montes 0-2). Fouled Out--Swidowski. Rebounds--Lehigh 36 (Greiner 7), Sacred Heart 33 (Swidowski 10). Assists--Lehigh 17 (McKnight 6), Sacred Heart 10 (Gaetano 6). Total Fouls--Lehigh 16, Sacred Heart 19. Technical--Gibson. A--636.