Posted: November 25, 2006
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After falling behind by as many as 22 points, Lehigh staged a furious comeback, cutting the deficit to just six, but in the end, the Mountain Hawks could not complete the comeback and fell 83-75 to the Harvard Crimson at Lavietes Pavilion. Senior Jose Olivero led Lehigh (2-5) with 15 points, while classmate Jason Mgebroff added 13 for Lehigh. Harvard was led by senior Brian Cusworth’s 20 tallies, as the Crimson improve to 2-3.
Lehigh scored an amazing 53 points in the second half, and shot 41 percent on the afternoon. Sophomore Phil Anderson added a career-high 11 points off the bench, while freshman Zahir Carrington scored ten points and grabbed eight boards. The Mountain Hawks hit 11 of 12 free throws and turned the ball over just five times in the second half.
“In that second half, you really saw what we are capable of,” head coach Billy Taylor explained afterwards. “I really liked our energy, enthusiasm and passion, particularly on the defensive end and on the backboards. If we can play that way for a full 40 minutes, we can really become a good basketball team.”
Lehigh went a span of 3:22 in the first half without scoring a point, and Harvard took advantage, going on an 8-0 run that propelled the Crimson into a double digit lead. Lehigh struggled from the field in the opening half, shooting only 36 percent, while the home team connected on a blistering 51.6% en route to a 41-22 halftime lead. Lehigh was out rebounded 20-10 in the opening 20 minutes and hit on only one of six three-point attempts. Olivero led the Brown and White with seven points, all coming in the final five minutes, while freshman Marquis Hall added five tallies.
Harvard was led by Drew Housman’s ten points, while Cusworth added eight on three-of-five shooting. The Crimson found themselves up by 22 with 1:31 to go in the half, which was their largest lead, and were aided by 15 points off of nine LU turnovers, and a 20-8 advantage in the points in the paint category.
In the second half, Lehigh looked like an entirely different team as the Mountain Hawks went on a 21-8 run over the first 5:42 to cut the deficit to just six points with 14:53 remaining. Harvard would regain its composure and get the lead back up to 17 however with 9:56 to go. After a series of substitutions and pressure defense by Lehigh, the Mountain Hawks again cut the lead to single digits, getting as close as six with 2:57 to go. From there though, Lehigh could not seem to get over the hump, and the Crimson, who struggled mightily from the free throw line in the second half, made enough shots at the charity stripe to come away with their second win of the season.
Lehigh returns to action on Monday evening when the Mountain Hawks travel to Indiana to take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Tip-off from the Joyce Center is set for 7:30 and all of the action can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM as well as lehighsports.com. Matt Kerr will provide the commentary.