Posted: February 28, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Senior Jose Olivero sank two free throws with four seconds remaining to put Lehigh in front of Army 46-45 in the quarterfinals of the 2007 Patriot League Tournament on Wednesday evening at Stabler Arena. The Black Knights then called a timeout and drew up a play in which Josh Miller drove the length of the court and put up a shot that clearly appeared to have come after the final buzzer, but the officials called the field goal good, and Lehigh fell 47-46. Olivero and classmate Jason Mgebroff scored 11 points apiece in their final games for the Mountain Hawks, who close out their 2007 season with a record of 12-19.
Junior Bryan White pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds for Lehigh, while freshman Marquis Hall scored nine points, dished out six assists and pulled down five rebounds on a night in which he was honored with the 2007 Patriot League Rookie of the Year award prior to the contest. Senior Kyle Neptune scored four points and pulled down five rebounds in his final appearance in the Brown and White, as Lehigh shot just 29 percent from the field for the game, but held the Black Knights to 35 percent shooting.
Army was led on offense by Cleveland Richard’s 12 points, while Jarell Brown and Matt Bell added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Doug Williams pulled down a team-high six rebounds, while Bell grabbed five. The Black Knights turned the ball over 12 times, and handed out 14 assists on 19 field goals.
The first half was a display in offensive futility as neither team shot better than 36 percent from the floor. Army took a 24-19 lead into the halftime break behind six points each from Bell and Brown. Hall led the Brown and White with nine points, but no other Mountain Hawk scored more than three points. Lehigh out rebounded the Black Knights 21-20 led by White’s seven, while Hall dished out a team-high two assists.
A three from Hall put Lehigh in front 6-2 with 13:41 left in the half, but Army reeled off five straight points to take a 7-6 lead with 11:07 to go. A lay up by Josh Miller made the score 15-11 in favor of the visitors with 6:20 remaining, and following a jumper by Kenny Brewer, the Mountain Hawks found themselves down by six with 5:17 to go. Two free throws from Olivero, and a lay up by Hall brought the Brown and White to within two at 19-17, but Miller canned a three-pointer and Army was back in front by five. Hall scored on a nifty drive to the basket, but Bell hit a short jumper just before the halftime break to send the Black Knights into the locker room ahead by five, at 24-19.
Lehigh pulled within two on a jumper from Mgebroff with 17:37 remaining, and then tied the game at 26 when Mgebroff hit a lay up off of a double-clutch feed from Hall. Army would charge back in front by five when Chris Walker and Brown hit back-to-back field goals, the latter being a three-pointer, and the visitors would in front 31-26 at the 14:47 mark.
Consecutive lay ups from Olivero and Mgebroff brought Lehigh to within one with 13:45 to go, and a free throw 2:47 later tied the game at 31. The teams then exchanged buckets, but Army went in front by three on a triple from Richard with 7:32 to go. Miller sank a pair of free throws to make the score 38-33 in favor of Army with 6:44 remaining.
Army’s lead increased to six at the 2:46 mark, but Lehigh came right back, as sophomore Phil Anderson scored on a put back and Neptune hit a lay up, as the Mountain Hawks clawed to within one. Army sank one free throw, but Mgebroff scored yet again, bringing Lehigh to within one. A missed jumper from Miller was rebounded by Anderson, and Lehigh called a timeout to set up its final play, which turned out to be an aggressive drive by Olivero to the bucket. The Virginia native was fouled, and as always, remained calm under pressure, sinking both shots from the free throw line, setting up the dramatic, and apparently questionable finish.
Photography 2007 (c), Specialty Photographic.