Posted: January 23, 2005
Lewisburg, PA – Lehigh dropped a heartbreaker to Bucknell on Sunday afternoon 65-63, as Abe Badmus connected on a three-point shot with six seconds remaining to put Bucknell up two.
Lehigh then scrambled down court and senior Earl Nurse got off a three-point attempt that hit the front of the rim, rolled around and off, and Lehigh lost its second consecutive game.
With the loss, Lehigh falls back to .500 at 9-9 overall and 3-2 in Patriot League play, while the Bison improve to 14-4 with their 11th consecutive win, and remain perfect at 5-0 in league play.
The final minute of the contest was a wild sequence, as Bucknell held a seven point lead, until Mitch Gilfillan sunk a three-point shot to bring Lehigh to within four. Nurse then stole the ensuing in-bounds pass and drove down the court. Nurse dished the ball off to sophomore Kyle Neptune who laid it in the basket, was fouled and hit the free throw to make it a one point affair. On Lehigh’s next possession, sophomore Jason Mgebroff sunk a 17-foot jumper from the right corner to propel the Mountain Hawks into the lead, but Badmus’s three soon took that advantage away from the Brown and White.
Senior captain Nick Monserez hit six three-pointers en route to a career-high 22 points, while sophomore Jose Olivero scored 15 points. Bucknell placed three players in double figures, as Charles Lee (15), Chris McNaughton (13) and Kevin Bettencourt (12) led the Bison on the offensive end. Monserez’s six three-pointers were the most by a Mountain Hawk player since Mitch hit seven vs. Delaware Valley on December 17, 2004 at Stabler Arena.
Lehigh played some of its best basketball of the season in the first half on Sunday afternoon, taking a 31-25 lead into the locker room Lehigh connected on 48 percent of its shots, including a blistering 50 percent from three-point range and also caused 11 Bison turnovers. Olivero came out of his recent shooting slump, hitting four of six shots en route to ten first half tallies, while Monserez added eight points and four rebounds for the Mountain Hawks.
The Bison were led by Charles Lee’s nine points and he also grabbed a team high four boards in the opening twenty minutes. The Mountain Hawks largest lead was 12 points following two free throws by Joe Knight, but the Bison quickly came back on the strength of back-to-back three-point baskets to slice the Brown and White lead in half.
Lehigh went cold in the second half, hitting only 30 percent of its shots, while Bucknell played much better, connecting on 41 percent of its shots. The Bison scored 13 points in the first six minutes en route to 40 second half tallies. Bettencourt scored all 12 of his points in the second half, including a four of five showing at the line, while Olivero hit five of his own free throws, on back-to-back possessions for the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh turned the ball over just eight times, while the Bison had 15 turnovers. Joe Knight led Lehigh with seven assists and Monserez grabbed a team high eight rebounds.
No coach likes to lose a game, but Billy Taylor was pleased with the effort his team gave on Sunday afternoon. “We fought hard until the end today, and that makes me proud. Nick (Monserez) has been solid for us offensively all season long, and today proved no different.” Taylor concluded, “Bucknell is a very good basketball team, and we knew that the second half would be tough to keep that lead. The first six minutes of that half were crucial in the outcome.”
Lehigh returns to action on Friday, January 28, when the Mountain Hawks return home to play the Black Knights of Army. Tip-off is set for just after 7:00 from Stabler Arena, where Lehigh is 29-5 all-time under Billy Taylor. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1230 AM and 1320 AM, and also on leighsports.com with streaming audio provided by Yahoo! Sports. Matt Kerr and Greg Falkenbach will provide the commentary.