Lehigh's winning streak ends in Worcester
Posted: February 13, 2005
Worcester, MA – Lehigh saw its three game winning streak ended on Sunday afternoon, as the Mountain Hawks fell 73-53 to Holy Cross in front of more than 3,000 at the Hart Center. Lehigh shot just 31 percent from the field and was outscored 23-4 on points off of turnovers by the Crusaders, as Lehigh fell for the seventh straight time in Massachusetts. With the loss, Lehigh falls to 13-11 overall and 7-4 in the Patriot League, while the Crusaders improve to 19-5, 10-1 in league action with their tenth straight victory.
Lehigh cut the Holy Cross lead down to nine at the 12:30 mark of the second half on a free throw by Joe Knight and got the ball back in position to make a move, but the Crusaders were able to fend off a Mountain Hawk comeback, holding the Brown and White scoreless for the next two minutes. Jose Olivero led Lehigh with 12 points, while Nick Monserez added nine and Earl Nurse scored eight points. Kevin Hamilton scored a game-high 20 for the Crusaders, who placed three in double figures, including Greg Kinsey (11) and Nate Lufkin (10).
Lehigh had a tough time running its offense in the early going as Holy Cross’s defense continually forced the Mountain Hawks into off-balance jump shots or deep three-point attempts. Lehigh shot just 25 percent in the opening half and was forced into nine turnovers, while the Crusaders shot a blistering 56 percent from the field, led by Greg Kinsey’s nine points on four of five shooting. Lehigh was led by Jose Olivero’s seven points, including a perfect four of four from the free throw line. Holy Cross scored 14 points off of those Mountain Hawk turnovers and out scored the Brown and White 22-4 in the paint.
Holy Cross had just four turnovers in the opening stanza and out rebounded the Brown and White 15-12. Mike Fischman came off of the bench and provided some valuable minutes for Lehigh, as he grabbed three rebounds, matching Earl Nurse for team-high honors in the half, while Nurse and Joe Knight had one assist apiece for the Mountain Hawks. Holy Cross was led by Nate Lufkin’s three rebounds and Torey Thomas’s three assists.
The second half was better for Lehigh in the beginning, as it was able to cut into the lead, but the Crusaders continually had answers, extending their lead to as many as 22 with 4:45 remaining. After the Mountain Hawks got the lead down to single digits, Holy Cross went on a 13-5 run over the next six minutes and put the contest virtually out of reach.
Holy Cross shot 53 percent for the game and had 23 assists to the Mountain Hawks nine. Lehigh shot just 3 of 16 from beyond the arc, but did connect on 78 percent of its free throws.
Head Coach Billy Taylor commented after the game, “We’ve now got to go back home and defend our home court. We did not play very well this whole weekend. Our execution was not as crisp as it should have been and I think we got out-hustled right from the opening tip today.” Taylor went on to say, “I thought we had a chance to make a run there (in the second half), bu our defensive pressure wasn’t up to standards over the next few minutes and Holy Cross made another run.”
Lehigh returns to action on Saturday, February 19 when the Mountain Hawks welcome Navy to Stabler Arena. Lehigh is 32-6 all-time at home under Taylor, including a record of 16-3 in league games. Tip-off is scheduled for just after 7:00.