By Tom Housenick, The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.) –
GREENSBORO, N.C. — C.J. McCollum drove through a forest of trees and tried to finish.
He came up empty.
The Lehigh junior drove again and tried to find an open teammate, but threw it away.
With Sunday night’s NCAA Tournament game hanging in the balance, McCollum tried to do what he has done so many times in his three-year career.
He tried to will the Mountain Hawks to a win.
He couldn’t do it.
Neither could any of his teammates.
It wasn’t from a lack of effort.
Kenny Frease muscled his way to 25 points and 12 rebounds and Xavier used a huge run spanned the two halves en route to a 70-58 victory at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Xavier (23-12) gets No. 3-seeded Baylor in Friday’s Sweet 16 in Atlanta. Lehigh historic season ends at 27-8.
Lehigh had two droughts of more than seven minutes each without a field goal in the second half as Xavier’s athletic, help defense dominated.
The Mountain Hawks missed their first 10 shots of the second half, but still managed to tie the game at 50 with 10:32 left.
After a McCollum jumper tied the game again at 50, the Musketeers scored eight in a row to take control for good.
Lehigh had just one basket in the last 8 minutes, 8 seconds and made eight of its last 44 field-goal attempts.