Posted: November 11, 2006
EUGENE, Ore. – Lehigh put on an offensive display that included five players in double figures, 63 percent shooting and over 40 points in each half, but it still was not enough as the Mountain Hawks fell to the Portland State Vikings 94-90 on Saturday afternoon in the Basketball Travelers Classic. Seniors Jose Olivero and Jason Mgebroff scored 22 and 20 points, respectively, while freshman Marquis Hall added 15 for the Brown and White who falls to 0-2 on the young season. Portland State, who improves to 1-1, was led by Juma Kamara’s 21 points.
Lehigh connected on 62.5 percent of its field goals on the afternoon, including a sizzling 63.6 percent in the opening half. The 62.5 percent overall clip was Lehigh’s highest since hitting on 66 percent in a win over archrival Lafayette a season ago. Senior Kyle Neptune added 11 points, while junior Bryan White scored 10 for the Mountain Hawks, who out rebounded their opponents by a 28-17 margin. Hall dished out a team best four assists, while Olivero ripped down seven rebounds to go along with two steals. Lehigh hit on 26 of 31 free throw attempts and four of eight from beyond the three-point line for the game.
Portland State sank 56 percent of its shots, including 14 of 22 from behind the three-point arc. Besides Kamara, four other Vikings hit the double figure mark, including Scott Morrison, Dupree Lucas and Paul Hafford, all with 14 tallies, and Kyle Coston with 11 points.
The game was tight throughout, with Lehigh grabbing a slim four-point lead at the 16 minute mark off of a tip-in by Mgebroff. A three-pointer by sophomore Greg Page would again push the lead to four for the Brown and White with 14:26 remaining in the opening half, but PSU quickly took the lead on two straight buckets. The Vikings would push their lead to five at the 10:07 mark on a three from Hafford, but Lehigh chipped away and tied the score at 28 on a layup by Neptune with 7:30 to go.
Lehigh’s largest deficit of the first half came with 22 seconds remaining when Julius Thomas converted a free throw after being fouled on a made basket. Two foul shots by Olivero would trim the Portland State lead to just seven however as the teams retired for halftime.
In the second half, Lehigh would close to within one on a pair of free throws by Mgebroff, a jumper by Hall and White’s lay up. The Mountain Hawks would then tie the game at 60 off of a jumper by Page with 15:02 left in the contest. Sophomore Phil Anderson would sink a pair at the line with 12:48 to go, which again tied the score, this time at 64, and 38 seconds later a three from Olivero knotted the game at 67, the eighth tie of the afternoon.
Lehigh took its first lead of the second half when Mgebroff sank a pair with 9:59 to go, and the Mountain Hawks would extend to a five-point advantage on back-to-back lay ups from Hall and Olivero. Over the next three-plus minutes the teams were tied three times, including at the 6:53 clip when Mgebroff scored in the paint on an assist from White. Down the stretch Lehigh found itself ahead by four after Olivero hit two from the charity stripe, but the Vikings refused to go away, reeling off six straight to go in front 86-85 with 3:12 to go. Neptune quickly gave Lehigh the lead back with a three pointer, but Morrison countered with a lay up to tie the score at 88 with just over 2:30 remaining.
Olivero’s jumper with 2:05 to go put the Brown and White in front 90-88, but two Lehigh turnovers coupled with strong shooting by Kamara and Morrison down the stretch propelled the Vikings into a 93-90 lead with 23 ticks to go. Lehigh had one final chance to score, but could not get the ball to drop, as several shots were off the mark.
Lehigh gets right back on the court on Sunday afternoon when the Mountain Hawks wrap up action in Oregon, taking on the Matadors of Cal-State Northridge. Tip-off is set for 3:30 eastern and all of the action will be carried live on 91.3 FM WLVR, as well as lehighsports.com with Jeff Tourial providing the commentary.