What If?

by Bob Fisch

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 · Season 9
TMM-3499 · 718 words · 3 min read

Game #9-479: Lehigh Mountain Hawks at Lafayette Leopards

March 9, 2013 2:00 pm
Kirby Sports Center
Last year, my favorite baseball team, the Cleveland Indians, ran a season-long campaign in an attempt to get people into the ballpark called "What If." It was an attempt to promote the history of the team. The only problem is that when you think about teams with a rich tradition of success in major league baseball, you don't really think of the Cleveland Indians, particularly recently, when ownership traded away many of the team's top players for prospects, many of which have not yet panned out. This spawned a local comic to come up with his own parody of the commercial.

For some reason, I found myself asking that question while I was driving back from Easton, Pa. Saturday afternoon. Lafayette defeated Lehigh 82-69, in a game that ended the collegiate career of Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum. While all projections indicate that his career will continue in the NBA, his senior year of college ended in disappointment. I feel like "What If" only gets asked following a loss, or when something does not meet our expectations. We look at the events, and wonder if had something not happened, the outcome would be different. In looking back at this game, (and Lehigh's season), it's easy to ask the question "What if C.J. didn't get hurt?"

Or "What if he got hurt one month earlier, and was able to make a full recovery in time for the tournament?" It'd be easy to sit here and say that if C.J. played against Lafayette, Lehigh would be playing for the Patriot League Championship. Remember, even with C.J last year, Lehigh did not win the Patriot League Regular Season. They finished second, and had to go to Bucknell to win the championship. I won't disagree with anyone that C.J. is the best player on the Lehigh roster, and quite possibly in the Patriot League. But to say that Lehigh would have won had he been in the lineup today would not make sense at all. So many factors go into winning a game, and while one player makes a difference, I don't believe he can be the entire difference.

I will say that from a Lehigh standpoint, this season ends with a disappointing loss. The goal for this season, especially coming off of last year's NCAA Tournament run, was to repeat as Patriot League Champions and get back to the NCAA Tournament. The team was led by four seniors, Gabe Knutson, Holden Greiner, and B. J Bailey, in addition to C.J. However, those goals took a big hit on January 5th. I give the rest of the team credit for continuing to fight throughout the conference portion of the schedule. They were in first place following the first round of conference play, before a three-game losing streak knocked them out of first. Lafayette, led by 24 points from Tony Johnson, who continued his hot-streak, was the better team this day, and they got hot at the right time in their season. It would have been fun to watch the game had C.J. been healthy, but he wasn't, and for Lehigh, it ends in a loss, albeit it earlier than many had hoped.


LEHIGH 21-9 (10-4) -- M. McKnight 7-12 8-8 22; H. Greiner 7-15 0-0 16; B. Bailey 2-7 6-7 10; C. Schaefer 2-5 0-0 5; S. Cvrkalj 2-3 0-0 6; G. Knutson 2-3 6-12 10; A. D'Orazio 0-2 0-0 0; J. Goldsborough 0-0 0-0 0; C. Goodman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-47 20-27 69.
LAFAYETTE 19-14 (10-4) -- T. Johnson 8-16 6-7 24; B. Scott 1-3 10-10 12; J. Ptasinski 3-6 0-0 9; L. Giese 0-6 2-2 2; S. Hinrichs 5-11 7-7 18; D. Trist 5-6 3-4 13; A. Flannigan 1-3 0-0 2; L. Smith 0-2 0-0 0; Z. Rufer 1-1 0-0 2; J. Detmer 0-0 0-0 0; B. Murphy 0-0 0-0 0; N. Musters 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-54 28-30 82.

Three-point goals: LEH 5-16 (B. Bailey 0-4; H. Greiner 2-5; A. D'orazio 0-1; M. McKnight 0-2; S. Cvrkalj 2-2; C. Schaefer 1-2), LAF 6-22 (T. Johnson 2-4; L. Giese 0-4; L. Smith 0-1; J. Ptasinski 3-6; S. Hinrichs 1-4; A. Flannigan 0-1; B. Scott 0-2); Rebounds: LEH 21 (H. Greiner 6), LAF 30 (T. Johnson 8); Assists: LEH 6 (B. Bailey 2), LAF 14 (T. Johnson 5); Total Fouls -- LEH 22, LAF 19; Fouled Out: LEH-B. Bailey; LAF-None.