Posted: December 4, 2005
ITHACA, N.Y. – After racing out to a 13-point halftime lead, Lehigh could not hold on versus Cornell on Sunday, dropping a 57-53 decision at Newman Arena.
The Mountain Hawks had their chances down the stretch, but clutch three-point shooting by Big Red freshman Adam Gore helped Cornell to the victory.
Junior Kyle Neptune recorded his second double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the loss, as the Brown and White falls to 3-5 on the season, and Cornell ups its record to 3-5.
The Big Red were led in scoring by Lenny Collins with 17 points, while Gore added 15.
Lehigh held its biggest lead of the game at the 17:38 mark of the second half on a three-pointer from junior Jose Olivero that put the Mountain Hawks in front 36-20, but from there Cornell chipped away, with a number of players stepping up. The Mountain Hawks saw their lead dip under ten points at the 13:05 mark when Brian Kreefer connected from downtown, but a free throw by Olivero pushed the lead back to double digits, and Lehigh was still in control, but not for long.
Cornell used a 9-0 run in a span of 3:06 to pull within a single point with 8:43 remaining on a lay up by Jason Battle and the teams were in for a tight finish down the stretch. A rebound and stick back by junior Jason Mgebroff put Lehigh back up two with 5:00 to go, but Gore then began to get hot, hitting three’s on consecutive possessions and the Big Red found themselves up four with 3:04 left in the contest.
From there, Lehigh would not score again until just 13 seconds remained on a deep three-pointer by Olivero, but it was simply too little, too late. Lehigh shot 31 percent from the field for the game, including just 28 percent in the second half, while Cornell hit on 39 percent of its shots for the contest, and a sizzling 52 percent in the final 20 minutes. Olivero finished with 15 points and two assists, while Bryan White grabbed six rebounds and had an emphatic tip-back slam dunk off of a Lehigh miss. Cornell received 11 rebounds and seven points from Andrew Naeve, while no Big Red player had more than two assists.
Lehigh had 39 rebounds for the game and 12 assists, while the Big Red pulled down 40 team rebounds and dished out nine assists.
The Mountain Hawks came out and played one of their best halves of the season, with a spirited defensive effort that led to a 29-16 lead at the break. Lehigh held the Big Red without a point from the 2:25 mark until a free throw was made by Andrew Naeve with just 25 ticks left in the opening stanza. That coupled with eight straight points from Neptune, a three-pointer from freshman Greg Page and a pretty fast break pass from senior Mitch Gilfillan to Olivero that resulted in a goaltending call on Cornell, propelled the Brown and White to its 13-point advantage.
Neptune finished the opening half with 11 points, including a six of seven showing at the charity stripe, while Olivero added eight tallies, six coming via the three-point shot. Neptune pulled down a team-high six rebounds, as Lehigh held a 22-16 advantage on the backboards, and forced six Big Red turnovers. Gilfillan handed out four assists in the half, while for Cornell, Lenny Collins scored nine points on three of eight shooting.
Lehigh returns to action on Wednesday evening when the Mountain Hawks take to the road again, traveling to Fairfield, Connecticut to take on Sacred Heart. Game time is set for 8:00 from the Pitt Center and all of the action will be broadcast live in the Lehigh Valley on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM, as well as around the world on lehighsports.com with Matt Kerr calling all of the action.