Posted: November 19, 2006
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Senior Jose Olivero scored 21 points and junior Bryan White added 15 points and seven rebounds as Lehigh won its second consecutive game with a 72-63 win over Sacred Heart on Sunday afternoon at Stabler Arena. Senior Kyle Neptune added ten points and eight rebounds for the Brown and White who improve to 2-3 overall, while Luke Granato scored a team-best 16 tallies for the Pioneers, who fall to 1-3 overall.
Lehigh shot 51 percent on the afternoon, marking the third time third time this season that the Mountain Hawks connected on 50 percent or better from the field. Lehigh’s defense also played one of its best games of the season, holding the Pioneers to just 33 percent shooting on field goals. Freshman Marquis Hall handed out a career-best seven assists for the Brown and White, and scored six points, while senior Jason Mgebroff scored seven points and pulled down nine rebounds.
“To be able to win a close game like this after dropping a few out in Oregon is big for us,” commented head coach Billy Taylor afterwards. “I told the guys though that we can’t get satisfied just because we won a few games. We have to win on the road now and that starts on Wednesday (at Quinnipiac).”
Both teams started out cold on Sunday as Lehigh had only three points in the first 5:32 of the contest. A lay up by Jarrid Frye put the Pioneers in front 7-3 with 13:39 remaining in the half, while a jumper by Drew Shubik made the score 11-6 in favor of Sacred Heart at the 9:55 mark. The game’s first tie of the day came when Hall buried a jumper with 8:57 left in the half and Lehigh took its first lead when White hit a jumper off of an assist from Hall and after a free throw by White with 7:33 left, the Mountain Hawks went ahead 14-11. Granato came right down however and sank a three to tie the score at 14.
The two teams went back and forth for the rest of the half with Hall and Frye trading threes in the last 21 seconds to tie the game for the seventh time and send the teams into halftime tied at 28. Lehigh shot just 39 percent in the half, while Sacred Heart also hit 39 percent. Olivero led the Mountain Hawks with ten, while Granato sank 13 first-half tallies.
Lehigh came out strong to start the second, scoring the first ten points, as Mgebroff hit a jumper, Olivero hit two free throws and a jumper and White and Neptune both had buckets as the Mountain Hawks went up 38-28 at the 15:30 mark. Lehigh’s lead would hover around the six-point mark until Sacred Heart started to apply pressure, which caused a number of Mountain Hawk turnovers and trimmed the lead down to just two with 6:18 remaining.
A pair of free throws by Tavio Hobson would make it a one-point game with 4:51 remaining, but Lehigh kept its composure and on the strength of back-to-back jumpers by Hall and White went back out in front by five. The lead would grow to eight with 1:11 to go on a three-point play by Mgebroff and after sophomore Matt Szalachowski sank a pair at the line Lehigh was comfortably in front by ten and on its way to another win.
Lehigh will be back in action on Wednesday afternoon when the Mountain Hawks travel to Hamden, Connecticut to take on the Bobcats of Quinnipiac. Game time is set for 1:00 and all of the action can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM as well as around the world on lehighsports.com.