Posted: November 22, 2005
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh snapped its two-game losing streak on Tuesday evening with a 58-54 victory over Stony Brook at Stabler Arena behind a pair of double-digit games by a pair of juniors.
Jose Olivero poured in 18 tallies on the evening and Kyle Neptune added 12 points and six rebounds as the Mountain Hawks improve to a perfect 4-0 in the final game played before the Thanksgiving holiday under head coach Billy Taylor, and 2-3 on the season.
The Seawolves, who fall to 0-2, were led by Mike Popoko’s 23 points on the evening.
Lehigh is now 33-9 at home under Taylor and snapped its three-game losing streak at Stabler with the victory. “It’s good to get this win heading into the holiday. We’ll enjoy this one for a little bit and then get back to work, preparing for Villanova,” Taylor said following the game. “Jose and Kyle both continued to play well for us, with their scoring, defense and rebounding.”
The two teams went back and forth in the early going with Stony Brook going up by six following a three-pointer by Hendrik Feist at the 12:27 mark, but the Mountain Hawks chipped away and took the lead on Olivero’s three-pointer with 5:23 remaining in the opening half. Neptune then followed with his own trey and the Brown and White went up 22-17.
Two straight field goals by the Seawolves tied the game at 22 with 3:09 left in the half, but Lehigh quickly went back up by five on three free throws and a ferocious fast break dunk by sophomore Bryan White. The 6-7 Floridian then added two more free throws to increase the lead to seven, but a deep three-pointer by Antwan Hardy just before halftime made the score 29-25 in favor of the Mountain Hawks at halftime.
Lehigh maintained a lead of at least five points for the majority of the second half until two free throws by Popoko with 12:00 remaining gave Stony Brook a two-point lead. Neptune canned a jumper on Lehigh’s next possession to once again tie the contest, but the Seawolves again came back and tied the score at 44 with 5:47 left when Popoko scored inside on a lay up.
After the Mountain Hawks had built their lead back up to three points, Feist splashed a three-pointer from the left side and tied the score yet again, this time at 49 with less than three minutes to go. But Lehigh controlled the game from there, as Olivero hit a pretty step-back three-pointer and Neptune, Olivero and freshman Matt Szalachowski took care of business from the charity stripe to seal the victory.
For the game, Lehigh shot 40 percent from the field, while holding the Seawolves to just 32 percent shooting. The Mountain Hawks turned the ball over only 12 times, while forcing 14 and were out rebounded 42-35 for the game. Senior Mitch Gilfillan dished out a career-high seven assists in the victory, while Mgebroff had his best game of the season, scoring nine points and pulling down five boards.
Lehigh returns to action on Sunday evening when the Mountain Hawks travel to Philadelphia to take on the number-four Villanova Wildcats. Tip-off is set for 7:30 from the Pavilion and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM immediately following New York Giants football. Matt Kerr and Greg Falknebach ’72 will provide the commentary.