Posted: November 24, 2004
Bethlehem, PA – Lehigh ran out to a 16-point second half lead, and then survived a late second half surge to down Sacred Heart by a 58-52 score inside Stabler Arena on Wednesday night.
The victory improves Lehigh’s record to 1-2 on the season, while the Pioneers fall to 1-2.
Neither team shot well from the floor, as both struggled to shoot above 30%. In the first half, sophomore Jose Olivero scored nine and classmate Jason Mgebroff added eight to give the Mountain Hawks a 29-21 halftime advantage. As a team, Lehigh struggled to sink shots (10-of-30 in the first half), but the Pioneers did not fare much better, sinking 8-of-25 from the floor.
In the second half, Lehigh built a 55-40 lead with just 4:49 to go in the game, but the Pioneers would rally. Sacred Heart stepped up its defensive intensity, and Lehigh went cold. The Mountain Hawks went the next 4:27 without scoring a point, as Sacred Heart sliced the lead to just three at 55-52.
However, the Mountain Hawks scored the game’s final three points at the free throw line, to hang on for the win.
Mgebroff led Lehigh’s efforts with 13 points and six rebounds. Olivero finished with ten points, and Erik Smith added eight. SHU’s Kibwe Trim led all scorers with 21 points and a game high ten rebounds.
“I told the guys not to panic,” said Lehigh head coach Billy Taylor after the game. “We had a big lead, and we just needed to make our free throws. This is a good learning experience.”
For the game, Lehigh shot 32%, while the Pioneers shot 33%. Sacred Heart turned the ball over 16 times, and Lehigh 14.
With the win, Lehigh is now 25-3 all-time at Stabler Arena under head coach Billy Taylor, including a school record 14 game winning streak.
The Mountain Hawks will return to action on Saturday, when Lehigh hosts Dartmouth. Tip-off is set for 7:00.
Photo copyright 2004, Chris Christian/Lehigh Athletics