Lehigh routs Robert Morris in NIT Season Tip-Off
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Lehigh sailed past Robert Morris on Monday night, 89-60, and will face Pitt on Tuesday in the NIT Season Tip-Off at Petersen Events Center with a spot in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden on the line.
Robert Morris (0-2) trailed almost the entire game against Lehigh (1-1), which memorably knocked off Duke in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season.
Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum, who withdrew from the NBA Draft in April to come back for his senior year, led with 19 points. Four other Lehigh players scored in double figures.
Junior forward Mike McFadden led Robert Morris with 13 points and 13 rebounds, and junior forward Vaughn Morgan and senior guard Velton Jones each finished with 12 points.
The Colonials scored first and had an 8-7 lead four minutes into the first half.
Lehigh called a timeout and responded with a steal and a layup by McCollum. A 3-pointer by Holden Greiner built the lead to four points.
Despite outrebounding Lehigh and shooting 41 percent, Robert Morris trailed, 17-10, approaching the midway point of the first half. The Colonials' six turnovers had turned into seven points for Lehigh, and the Mountain Hawks turned it on shortly thereafter.
Robert Morris' Morgan hit a free throw to get within six, but that was as close as the Colonials would come the rest of the half.
Lehigh went on a 16-5 run to lead by 17 points with four minutes to go in the half, and led, 38-23, at the break.
Robert Morris' shooting percentage dropped to 32 percent by halftime, including a 1-of-10 performance from 3-point range.
The Mountain Hawks, picked to win the Patriot League in the conference preseason poll, were coming off a 99-77 loss at No. 19 Baylor to open the season.
Robert Morris dropped its first contest of the season against Rider, 79-54, on Friday. The Colonials will face Fordham in the early game Tuesday.
This is the first appearance for Robert Morris and Lehigh in this tournament, formerly the Preseason NIT. Lehigh is seeded fifth in the 16-team event, in between No. 4 Pitt and No. 6 Robert Morris.
The Mountain Hawks are 5-3 all-time against Pitt. All eight games took place between 1912 and 1920.
Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7980 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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