The Lehigh Mountain Hawks took advantage of a couple Navy Midshipmen mistakes and had success at the free throw line in the final minute to post a 72-65 victory in Patriot League basketball Wednesday night in Bethlehem, Pa.
With the win, the Mountain Hawks (14-14, 7-8) maintain a spot among the top six teams in the conference, which would be good for a first-round bye in next month’s conference tournament.
With the loss, the Midshipmen (9-17, 4-11) remained among the bottom four teams.
Lehigh was ahead by one with 45 seconds left, but cashed in a Navy turnover on two free throws by guard Corey Schaefer to make it a three-point game with 29.7 seconds left.
When Navy guard Zach Fong missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, Lehigh guard Mackey McKnight rebounded and made two free throws with 19.0 seconds left.
Lehigh then made a final defensive play when forward Jesse Chuku blocked Navy guard Brandon Venturini’s 3-point attempt, and McKnight finished the scoring with two more free throws with 4.6 seconds remaining.
Lehigh, which won its 10th in the series, put five players in double figures, topped by Schaefer’s 15 points.
Sophomore forward/center Will Kelly scored a career-high 19 points to lead Navy.
Navy was down 31-29 with about four minutes left in the first half before going on a 12-0 run that produced the only double-digit difference of the game, 41-31.
But Lehigh guard Mackey McKnight’s 3-pointer just before the buzzer made it a seven-point game at intermission, and Lehigh then opened the second half by scoring the first five points of the period.
It was never more than a four-point difference after than until the final seconds.
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