Posted: February 7, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Down 17 points with 13:14 remaining, Lehigh staged a furious rally and got to within three, but the Mountain Hawks could not complete the comeback, as the Brown and White fell to Navy 70-65 on Wednesday evening at Stabler Arena, snapping the Mountain Hawks seven-game home winning streak in league games. Senior Jose Olivero scored a game-high 24 points for Lehigh, who falls to 10-15 overall and 5-4 in league play, while the Mids improve to 12-12 overall and 2-7 in league action.
“This is a very disappointing loss for us,” said head coach Billy Taylor afterwards. “For whatever reason we didn’t come with the effort and energy that we needed and that is disappointing. We have to understand that there are no off-nights in league play.” He added, “I don’t know if we were overconfident coming in, but we need to get this fixed before Saturday (against Army).”
Following a three-pointer by Kaleo Kina, the Mids found themselves up by a score of 55-38 with 13:14 to go. Lehigh responded however with a 17-5 run, keyed by two three-pointers from Olivero, which brought the Brown and White to within five at the 8:39 mark. A pretty feed from freshman Marquis Hall to classmate Zahir Carrington led to a dunk, and brought the Mountain Hawks to within four at 61-57 with 8:11 remaining. Three minutes passed with neither team scoring a point, until junior Bryan White sank a free throw to make the score 61-58 with 5:05 left. Unfortunately, that was as close as Lehigh would get, as the Mountain Hawks lost to the Mids for just the second time ever under Taylor.
White scored 18 points and ripped down a career-high 15 rebounds, while Hall added 13 points and five assists. Navy was led on offense by Trey Stanton’s 16 tallies, which came on 6-of-10 shooting, while Kina added 16. Lehigh shot just 35 percent on the evening and turned the ball over 15 times, while the Mids shot 56 percent, including a sizzling 57 percent from three-point range.
Navy came out on fire, hitting 58 percent of its shots in the first half, including 50 percent (7-14) from three-point range, en route to a 39-28 halftime lead. Trey Stanton led the Midshipmen with nine points, while Sprink added seven. Lehigh, which shot just 30 percent from the field, was led by White’s nine points on three-of-five shooting, while Olivero added seven. Lehigh out rebounded the Mids 18-12, but turned the ball over nine times and had just two assists.
Two three-pointers by Lehigh in the first 1:29 made the score 6-0 in the early going, but that lead would be short lived, as the Mids used their pin-point shooting to go in front 13-12 at the 11:58 mark on a three from Bobby Fenske. Sprink sank a pair of free throws with 8:22 to go, which made the score 23-19 in favor of the visitors, and Corey Johnson followed with a jumper, while Sprink sank a three of his own, pushing the Navy lead to nine with 6:44 remaining.
Lehigh’s deficit would grow to 11 with 4:19 left when Bryce Brigham hit yet another three for Navy, and the Mountain Hawks were unable to get any closer for the remainder of the half. Olivero hit a pair from the line to make it a nine-point game, but Johnson came right back down and hit a lay up to make the score 39-28 at the break.
Lehigh returns to action on Saturday evening when the Mountain Hawks play host to the Black Knights of Army at Stabler Arena on Kids Night. Activities for youngsters will begin prior to the women’s game, which is scheduled to tip at 5:05. Tip off for the men’s game is set for 7:35 and tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by logging onto lehighsports.com or prior to the game at the arena box office.