Sotos scores last-second game-winner at Lehigh

Justin Schaumberger, Staff Writer

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Subheadline: Bison take sole possession of first place in Patriot League

It is every young kid’s dream to win a basketball game for their team with a last-second shot. On Jan. 19 that dream became a reality for Jimmy Sotos ’21, as his layup banked in with 1.2 seconds left to give the Bison an 85-83 win over Lehigh in Bethlehem. The victory put the Orange and Blue into sole possession of first place in the Patriot League.

The game was a back and forth affair with 20 lead changes and neither team leading by more than six points until the final minutes. It was a 10-0 run by the Bison that put them in the driver’s seat, leading 82-76 with 36 seconds remaining. Lehigh cut the lead to two on a three-pointer with 11 seconds left and managed to steal the subsequent inbound pass and convert a layup to tie the game.

The ball was then inbounded to Sotos with 6.7 seconds on the clock, who drove the length of the court and converted a tough layup over a Lehigh defender to put the Orange and Blue on top for good. Lehigh’s last second half-court heave was disrupted by Kimbal Mackenzie ’19.

“We’ve worked on that situation many times in practice. I got the ball up the court and it was essentially three-on-three. Fortunately, I was able to convert the layup and get us the win,” Sotos said.

Mackenzie led the Bison in scoring with 25 points, while Bruce Moore ’20 chipped in a career-high 19 points. Sotos, Nate Sestina ’19, and Paul Newman ’21 also finished in double figures with ten points each. Sotos also was a key distributor for the Bison, tallying five assists.

The Bison were able to overcome the hot three-point shooting of Lehigh, who finished the game with 14 made threes on 60.9 percent shooting. But the Orange and Blue dominated the glass throughout the game, outrebounding Lehigh 41-29 led by Moore’s team-high eight rebounds.

Despite giving up 83 points, the Bison were able to lock in defensively during key moments of the game, recording seven steals. They held the Mountain Hawks scoreless over a 4-minute stretch in the second half.

“The reason we’ve been able to score so much is because of our defense. We’ve been able to get stops and force turnovers which allows us to run and play in transition,” Sotos said when asked about the Bison’s recent offensive success. “We’re at our best when we’re running and playing freely, and our defense has allowed us to do that thus far.”

On Jan. 23, the men took on Loyola in a close game at Sojka Pavilion. With just 5.8 seconds remaining, Sotos played the hero again, converting on three free throws to secure the 71-68 win. With this win, the team improved to 12-7 on the season and 6-1 in the Patriot League.

 

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