Posted: November 14, 2005
LARAMIE, Wyo. – Junior Jose Olivero connected on a turnaround three-pointer with 0.3 seconds remaining in regulation to give Lehigh an improbable 65-64 victory over Coppin State in the consolation bracket of the 2005 BCA Invitational.
Olivero scored a game-high 25 points, including 17 in the second half, and his game-winner followed an off-balance fade-away jumper from Darryl Roberts that put the Eagles up by two, until Olivero won it.
With the win, Lehigh improves to 1-1 on the season, while Coppin State
falls to 0-2 on the new season.
Olivero said he was just happy he received the ball on the last play.
“I had confidence that we still had a chance and I’m just happy that (junior) Kyle (Neptune
) threw me the ball and my team had faith in me.”
Head Coach Billy Taylor praised the Eagles for their efforts following the game, but was also elated to pick up victory number-one of the new year. “You have to give Coppin (State) credit for the way they fought. I know it’s tough to lose a game like that, but our guys never gave up. We knew if we played until the final buzzer that we would have a chance, and fortunately for us, Jose made the shot. He’s a clutch player and has been for his entire career, and really showed that tonight battling through foul trouble and hitting that shot.”
Neptune finished the game with ten points and nine boards, while senior tri-captain Mike Fischman also scored ten and added six rebounds. Olivero dished out six assists to go with his 25 tallies and freshman Matt Szalachowski scored a career-high seven points.
After jumping out to an early lead for the second consecutive game, Lehigh saw Coppin State come back and take the lead, but solid rebounding and timely shooting propelled the Mountain Hawks to a 32-27 halftime lead. Olivero and Neptune led the Brown and White in the first twenty minutes of action with eight points apiece, and three made three-pointers between them, with Olivero leading Lehigh with four assists. Szalachowski chipped in with six points, all coming via the three-pointer, and junior Jason Mgebroff scored four points.
Neptune led Lehigh in rebounding with six, while junior Bryan White grabbed three, as the Mountain Hawks connected on 40 percent of their field goal attempts, and 56 percent from beyond the arc. Lehigh did commit 11 turnovers in the opening half, but an 18-14 advantage on the glass, and just 36 percent shooting from the Eagles contributed to the lead. Coppin State was led in scoring by Chuckie Ivey with seven points on two of four shooting, while Brian Chestnut added six tallies.
The second half was a back and forth affair with neither team able to pull away by more than nine points, which Lehigh was in front by at the 10:26 mark following a Bryan White free throw. Down the stretch each big play was answered by another, starting with Darryl Proctor’s field goal to pull the Eagles to within one, and Proctor, who was fouled on the play, hit a free throw to tie it. Neptune delivered two free throws with 2:23 remaining to put the Mountain Hawks up two, but Proctor answered again, the game was tied, setting up the improbable finish.
For the game, Lehigh shot 37 percent from the field and 35 percent from beyond the arc, while the Eagles hit on 37 percent of their field goals and only 14 percent from three-point range. Tywain McKee led Coppin State with 17 points, while Proctor added 12 and Brian Chestnut contributed 11. Lehigh did turn the ball over 22 times, but it did not matter, as Olivero hit his third game-winning shot of his career, and first since sinking a running jumper in the 2004 Patriot League Championship game to send the Mountain Hawks into the NCAA Tournament.
Lehigh returns to action on Tuesday afternoon when the Mountain Hawks take on Butler University in the fifth-place game. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 Eastern with all of the action broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM, as well as lehighsports.com. Tom Fallon will call all of the action.