Posted: January 30, 2004
Bethlehem, PA – For the first time since 2000, Lehigh defeated Holy Cross 63-53 in front of 2,181 at Stabler Arena on Friday evening as freshman Jose Olivero scored a game high 21 points. The Mountain Hawks sit in sole possession of second place in the Patriot League now at 5-1 in the league and 12-7 overall. The Crusaders drop to 8-11, 2-4 in the league.
The first half was a defensive showcase, as neither team could open up a lead larger than five, which Lehigh seized at the 10:33 mark, but the Mountain Hawks cold shooting allowed Holy Cross to hang around. The Crusaders went to the locker room up by one, 23-22. Senior Ra Tiah scored six points to lead Lehigh, and fellow senior Austen Rowland scored five points, but had trouble finding the hoop as he connected on only one of seven shots from the field. The Crusaders were led by senior Jave Meade, with eight points, as he hit three of four shots. The Mountain Hawks hit only 19 percent of their shots in the half, connecting on only four field goals. The Crusaders were not much better, hitting only 32 percent of their shots.
The second half was more of the same hard-nosed defense as neither team could pull away. The Mountain Hawks were able to put some successful offensive series together and upped their lead to as many as 13 with 8:18 remaining, but the Crusaders came back and made it tight down the stretch. Lehigh was fouled numerous times and made its chances from the stripe to keep Holy Cross at bay. Olivero connected on four of nine shots, three of five from behind the arc, and ten of twelve from the foul line.
Freshman Kyle Neptune came off of the bench and scored ten points, the only other Mountain Hawk in double figures. Neptune also grabbed five rebounds and sophomore Mike Fischman ripped down six boards. Senior Austen Rowland was held to single digits for the first time in the last seven games, as he netted only eight points, but he did pull down eight rebounds and handed out four assists.
Three Crusaders hit double figures, with Kevin Hamilton and Jave Meade scoring 12 points each and Greg Kinsey hitting for ten. Lehigh shot 32 percent for the game and Holy Cross hit on 35 percent of its shots. Lehigh had 11 steals on the evening and forced 17 Crusader turnovers. The Mountain Hawks also continued to pound the glass, as the Patriot League’s leading rebounding team grabbed 35 rebounds, compared to the Crusaders 30.
Lehigh returns to action on Sunday when the Mountain Hawks welcome Colgate to Stabler Arena. Tip-off is set for 2:45 and tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME.