Posted: January 17, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Senior Jose Olivero scored 20 points and Lehigh was able to overcome a 28-point outburst from Jon Simon, as the Mountain Hawks won their sixth consecutive Patriot League game at Stabler Arena with a 60-59 victory over Colgate on Wednesday evening. Senior Kyle Neptune added 11 points, as the Mountain Hawks remain tied for second place in the league at 3-1 and 8-12 overall. The Raiders fall to 6-11 overall and 1-3 in league action.
“This was a good win for us tonight,” head coach Billy Taylor said afterwards. “Every one of these (league) games is going to be a struggle; it’s going to be a battle, so we knew it would be tough tonight.” He added, “Give credit to Colgate because they made shots, but we were able to do enough to get this win and gain some momentum heading into the weekend against Lafayette.”
Lehigh shot 48 percent from the field on the evening, but just 11-of-18 from the free throw line. Sophomore Phil Anderson added 10 points for the Brown and White, while freshman Marquis Hall hit for eight points, handed out five assists and grabbed five rebounds. Simon sank a game-high 28 points for the Raiders, including eight three-pointers, while Kendall Chones scored 12.
Both teams struggled out of the gate with the first points of the game not being scored until 18:25 remained in the first half as Anderson hit a lay up. Lehigh would then heat up, running out to a 15-2 lead at the 13:36 mark, keyed by five points from Olivero. Colgate hung around though and was able to get the deficit under double figures when Kendall Chones sank a jumper with 9:13 remaining in the half. A three-pointer by Jon Simon with 6:47 remaining made it a three-point game, as Lehigh was up 20-17.
Following two jumpers from Olivero and a dunk by freshman Zahir Carrington, the Mountain Hawks found themselves in front by nine with 3:39 left in the half. A pair of free throws by Olivero would push the lead to ten with 2:30 left, but a jumper from Chones and a free throw by Todd Checovich made it a seven point game, with Lehigh in front 30-23 heading into the halftime break. Olivero sank 15 of his points in the opening half, with no other Mountain Hawk hitting for more than five points. Kendall Chones scored 11 points for the Raiders, who shot just 36 percent in the opening 20 minutes. Lehigh sank 46 percent of its attempts and grabbed 16 rebounds.
In the second half, Lehigh was again able to extend its lead to double digits, going ahead by 13 with 15:24 remaining on a jumper from Hall. Colgate got the lead under double digits and down to six on a three by Kyle Chones at the 11:05 mark, but Lehigh quickly went on an 8-0 run keyed by a pair of three’s from Neptune and Hall, which made the score 52-38 in favor of the home team with 9:24 to go.
Colgate refused to go away though and made Lehigh earn its third league victory, cutting it to a three-point game with two seconds to go on yet another three from Simon. Olivero sank one free throw to put Lehigh in front by four, and Simon nailed a three from near mid-court at the buzzer to make the final margin a single point.
The Mountain Hawks return to action on Saturday afternoon when archrival Lafayette visits Stabler Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:35 pm. Lower level tickets are all sold, however limited middle level chairbacks are still available for the doubleheader and can be purchased in advance by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by visiting lehighsports.com, or at the Stabler Arena box office starting at 4:00 pm on game day.
On Thursday, January 18, fans are invited to meet Lehigh head coach Billy Taylor, as well as select student-athletes at the monthly Lehigh basketball luncheon. The event will take place at Starters Restaurant on Route 378 in Bethlehem and will begin at 12:00 p.m., running until 1:00. Coach Taylor, along with the student-athletes in attendance will field questions from fans and alumni. Cost of the all-you-can-eat buffet is $11. The event will also be streamed on Lehigh’s website at lehighsports.com later that afternoon, for those who cannot make it to Starters.