Patriot top seed Lehigh boasts league's top player
High-scoring freshman CJ McCollum is the Patriot League's player of the year after leading Lehigh to a regular-season title and the top seed in the conference tournament.
McCollum also won top rookie honors in voting by league coaches announced Monday, the first time a Patriot League freshman swept both awards.
McCollum finished third in the Patriot League in scoring at 18.8 points a game and averaged more than 23 in conference play. Lehigh will host Army in a first-round game when the league tournament opens Wednesday.
``He continued to get better as the season progressed. Often it's difficult to expect that kind of production from a freshman,'' Lehigh coach Brett Reed said about his star. ``He has done fantastic things for our program.''
Lafayette's Fran O'Hanlon won coach of the year honors after leading his squad to a third-place finish. Lafayette will host a league tournament game for the first time since 2000, when the Leopards meet Colgate in the first round.
Other opening-round games Wednesday at campus sites include fifth-seeded Navy at fourth-seeded American; and seventh-seeded Holy Cross at second-seeded seed Bucknell.
Bison guard Bryan Cohen took top defensive player honors. Bucknell doesn't have a double-figure scorer, but relies on defense and features six players who average at least 7.2 points.
``I've never heard of a team without a double-figure scorer,'' Bucknell coach Dave Paulsen said. ``We know that our margin for error is very slim.''