Lehigh's offense shines, but the Mountain Hawks lose
Posted: January 6, 2004
Ithaca, NY – Lehigh shot a season high 53 percent from the field and placed four players in double figures but it still wasn’t enough as Cornell scored 54 points in the second half on its way to an 89-76 victory over the Mountain Hawks on Tuesday evening at Newman Arena. It marked only the second time in head coach Billy Taylor’s career that he lost to an Ivy League team. His career mark now stands at 7-2 against the Ancient Eight. With the loss, Lehigh falls to 7-6 on the season, while Cornell improves to 5-6.
Lehigh connected on 58 percent of its shots in the first half en route to 36 points, as the Mountain Hawks took a one point lead into the locker rooms at halftime. Lehigh was led on offense by senior Austen Rowland and junior Earl Nurse with nine points apiece and freshman Jose Olivero with seven points. Nurse continually got inside and overmatched the Cornell front line with his power and jumping ability, evidenced on one play when he simply muscled up and through several Big Red defenders for the deuce. In addition to their hot shooting from the field, the Mountain Hawks connected on three shots from behind the arc and also on 75 percent of their free throws.
For Cornell, Cody Toppert hit four of eight shots in the first stanza, including three from downtown as he hit for 11 first half points and received help from senior Ka’Ron Barnes, Cornell’s leading scorer, who put home nine points, although he struggled with his shot, hitting only four of ten from the field.
Lehigh struggled to stop the Big Red in the second half, as Cornell erupted for 54 second half points on 63 percent shooting. Lehigh managed to hang around and cut the lead to three at one point, but Cornell simply had too much offensive firepower. Barnes finished the night with a game high 27 points, including 11 of 12 from the free throw line. Toppert ended the evening with 23 points, including five three pointers. For Lehigh, Rowland wound up with 17 points, while junior Monserez connected for a career high 14 points on five of seven shooting. The Mountain Hawks were out rebounded 32-28 and committed 17 turnovers to the Big Red’s 11.
Lehigh returns to action on Saturday evening, when the Mountain Hawks open Patriot League play as they host Navy. Tip-off from Stabler Arena is set for 7:30. It’s Youth Activity Night and tickets can be purchased by calling the Lehigh ticket office at 610-7LUGAME or on Lehigh’s website.