Cold shooting plagues Lehigh in OT loss at Albany
Posted: December 22, 2003
Albany, NY – Senior Austen Rowland scored 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting but it wasn’t enough as Albany held off the Mountain Hawks by a 63-55 score in overtime on Monday night. The Great Danes’ victory snaps Lehigh’s five-game winning streak, and drops the Mountain Hawks to 6-4 overall. Albany (2-5) held Lehigh to just 30% shooting from the floor on the night.
“We got off to a good start and then relaxed,” said Lehigh head coach Billy Taylor after the game. “We thought it was over [early on], and it was a missed opportunity.”
Neither team was able to get much going offensively in the first half. Albany was ice cold at the outset, as the Great Danes were unable to get on the scoreboard for the first 6:33 of the game. Meanwhile, Austen Rowland’s eight early points put Lehigh out in front. However, as the half wore on, the tide turned and Lehigh was unable to buy a basket. The Mountain Hawks’ dry spell lasted for 5:27 before Mitch Gilfillan knocked down a jumper and drew a foul on the play. Gilfillan (three points) and Rowland (eight points) accounted for over half of Lehigh’s first half offense. The Mountain Hawks shot just 25% from the floor (8-of-32) as Lehigh trailed by a 26-20 score at halftime.
In the second half, poor shooting continued to plague both squads. Though Lehigh did not lead the entire half, the Mountain Hawks hung around. Trailing by a 48-45 count with just over 20 seconds to play, freshman Jose Olivero hit a three-pointer from the left wing with a hand in his face to tie the score at 48 and send the game to an extra session.
In overtime, both teams suddenly began to score some points. A Ra Tiah free throw gave the Mountain Hawks their first lead since 12-10 in the first half. However, the lead was short-lived as the Great Danes got a quick bucket and never relinquished the advantage after that, as Albany hung on for the win. The game marked Lehigh’s first trip to overtime since January 2002.
Rowland’s 17 points paced Lehigh on the night, and it marked the seventh time this season the co-captain scored in double figures. Tiah added nine points and Olivero chipped in eight for the Mountain Hawks. Junior Earl Nurse led Lehigh’s efforts on the glass with 12 rebounds. For the night, the Mountain Hawks out-rebounded the Great Danes by a slim 44-43 margin.
Lehigh will pause for the holidays, before returning to the court on December 30. On that night, the Mountain Hawks will visit undefeated Vanderbilt. Tip-off is set for 8:00 pm EST from Memorial Gym in Nashville, and the game can be heard live on Oldies 1470 throughout the Lehigh Valley, and worldwide on Lehigh’s web site at lehighsports.com.