Posted: February 10, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Behind a combined 50-point performance from its starting backcourt, Lehigh defeated Army 75-64 on Saturday evening at Stabler Arena. Senior Jose Olivero led the way with 30 points, while freshman Marquis Hall added 20 as the Mountain Hawks improve to 9-2 in home games this season and 11-14 overall. At 6-4 in league play, Lehigh maintains sole possession of third place in the Patriot League. The Black Knights fall to 13-12 overall and 3-7 in league action.
Olivero hit six-of-11 shots from the field and 15-of-19 from the free throw line. Hall sank nine-of-15 shots and also recorded two steals and two assists. Junior Bryan White posted his second consecutive double-digit rebound game with 12, and the Florida native also scored seven points. Lehigh shot 49 percent from the field, including 47 percent from three, and as a team the Mountain Hawks sank 26 of 37 free throws.
Army was led on offense by junior Jarell Brown, who scored 23 points, but hit on only 7-of-21 shots from the field. Matt Bell added 11 points and six assists, while Doug Williams pulled down a team-best six boards.
“It was nice to see our guys come out tonight and exhibit the energy and focus that we were missing on Wednesday (versus Navy),” commented head coach Billy Taylor after the game. “It’s important that we defend our home court and tonight we did that. I thought the energy that Bryan White gave us was tremendous, and Jose and Marquis continue to lead us, not only on the offensive end, but with their floor play.” He added, “Now we go on the road for two consecutive games, so it does not get any easier from here.”
Lehigh jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the first 5:54 on the strength of six points from Hall. The Knights answered with a 14-5 run of their own to make the score 16-14 at the 9:31 mark. The Mountain Hawks came right back however, with seven straight points, to go in front 23-14 at the 6:57 mark. After Army sliced the Lehigh lead to four with 2:51 to go in the half, Olivero sank a pair at the line and freshman Zahir Carrington sent the crowd into a frenzy with an incredible catch and slam dunk off of an alley oop pass from Hall. That made the score 33-25 with 55 ticks left, and after the teams exchanged free throws, the Mountain Hawks took a 34-26 lead into the halftime break.
Hall led the Brown and White with 12 first half tallies, while Olivero added ten, six of which came at the charity stripe. As a team Lehigh shot 46 percent in the opening 20 minutes and out rebounded their opponent 16-14. In addition, the Mountain Hawks sank 13-of-16 shots at the free throw line and handed out seven assists on ten field goals.
Army was led by Brown’s eight points, while Bell added seven as the Black Knights shot 37 percent from the floor for the half. Both teams took very good care of the basketball as Lehigh turned it over only four times, while Army committed just six turnovers.
A jumper by Hall extended the Lehigh lead to ten with 18:49 remaining, but Army cut it to a five-point ballgame with 16:11 to go when Josh Miller sank a three-pointer. Lehigh again pushed its lead to double digits when White hit a jumper, and following a three by Olivero the score was 55-43 with 12:21 to go. Army refused to go away however, making it a three-point game with 8:31 to go when Kenny Brewer connected on a jumper. Lehigh was able to keep the Black Knights in check however, and got its lead up to nine with a quick 6-0 run capped by a three from Olivero at the 6:44 clip. From there, Lehigh kept its lead and was able to avenge its earlier season loss to the Black Knights.
Lehigh returns to action on Wednesday evening in Hamilton, New York when the Mountain Hawks take on the Raiders of Colgate at Cotterell Court. Tip-off is set for 7:00 and all of the action will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM, as well as lehighsports.com.