Posted: December 29, 2004
– Behind the strength of a blistering first half and some solid defense and clutch shooting down the stretch, Lehigh snapped its eight game road losing streak with a 64-61 victory over Towson
on Wednesday evening at the Towson Center
Sophomore Jose Olivero scored 16 points to lead the Mountain Hawks, who improve to 5-6 on the season, while the Tigers fall to 3-8 in 2004-05.
Lehigh came out on fire in the first half on the power of Olivero’s 14 points, jumping out to a 25-5 lead to start the contest and headed to the locker room with a 38-23 lead. Olivero connected on five of six shots from the field, including a perfect four of four from beyond the arc. As a team the Mountain Hawks shot a blistering 54 percent from the field in the half, including a ridiculous 64 percent beyond the three-point line. Senior captains Earl Nurse and Nick Monserez both scored six points in the opening stanza, while Joe Knight and Mitch Gilfillan handed out three assists apiece.
The Tigers struggled from the floor in the half, hitting only 29 percent of their shots and just seven percent from three-point range. Mike Green scored six points to lead Towson and also dished out three helpers in the first twenty minutes of action. Lehigh out rebounded the Tigers 20-13, but did have seven turnovers to Towson’s five. The 23 points scored by Towson were the third lowest total by a Mountain Hawk opponent in the first half this season.
The second half started off much the same as the first with Lehigh hitting timely shots and stifling the Tigers on defense. But little by little, Towson whittled the Mountain Hawk lead down to single digits and was within striking distance in the closing minutes. However Lehigh would not allow Towson to get any closer than two points and actually led for the entire contest. On one possession down the stretch the Mountain Hawks kept the ball on their side of the court for an amazing 2:05 and ended it on a three-pointer from Monserez in the left corner.
Lehigh shot 42 percent from the field for the game, while Towson also connected on 42 percent. Monserez (11), Nurse (10) and Knight (11) all joined Olivero in double figures for Lehigh, while the Tigers placed three players in double digits led by Green with 15 tallies. Knight handed out six assists on the night, while Monserez gathered eight boards, blocked one shot and recorded one steal.
Head Coach Billy Taylor was pleased to get the first road win of the season and with the effort of his Mountain Hawks. “I loved our effort on the defensive end this evening, especially those first few minutes of the first half. We knew Towson would make a run, but our guys hung in tough down the stretch and got the big win.”
Lehigh returns to action on Sunday afternoon when the Mountain Hawks travel to Staten Island to take on Wagner. Tip-off is set for 2:00 from the CSI Sports Center and the game will be broadcast on ESPN Radio 1230 AM and 1320 AM following NFL football at approximately 4:30. The game will also be broadcast on Lehigh’s website at lehisghports.com with streaming provided by Yahoo! Sports. Matt Kerr will provide the commentary.