The clock struck midnight on Lehigh’s Cinderella run on Sunday night as the Mountain Hawks lost to the Xavier Musketeers 70-58 in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
But even with the loss, Lehigh fans on Twitter were still expressing pride in their team and its historic run, defeating the storied Duke Blue Devils on Friday, becoming on the sixth 15th-seeded team to win its opening game against a two seed.
Mountain Hawks fans were expected to greet the team on its return to campus before 3 a.m. today at Taylor Gym.
Lehigh got off to a hot shooting start and jumped out to a 33-18 lead in the first half. But Mountain Hawks’ leading scorer C.J. McCollum got into foul trouble with about 8 minutes left in the first half. With Lehigh’s best player on the bench, Xavier got hot and finished the half on a 13-2 run.
The half ended with Lehigh clinging to a 37-33 lead. Xavier’s hot streak continued in the second half as the Musketeers opened by scoring the first 7 points. Lehigh, meanwhile, took more than seven minutes to score its first basket of the half.
The Mountain Hawks scratched back to tie the game at 50 and again at 52, but the hot shooting of Xavier star guard Tu Holloway and the inside play of 7-foot-tall center Kenny Frease was too much.