Posted: December 7, 2005
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Junior Jose Olivero scored a career-high 30 points, including 22 in the second half to lead a furious Lehigh comeback, but in the end, an early deficit was simply too much to overcome as the Mountain Hawks fell 66-55 to Sacred Heart at the Pitt Center on Wednesday evening.
Olivero sank eight three-point baskets for the game and also pulled down five rebounds, but the Pioneers placed four players in double figures, led by Jarrid Frye’s 23 en route to their third win of the season.
Lehigh falls to 3-6 with the loss, while Sacred Heart improves to 3-5.
Sacred Heart’s lead ballooned to as many as 22 in the second half at the 15:14 mark, but from there, Olivero took over, hitting three three-pointers and a lay-up in a span of just under four minutes to pull the Brown and White to within nine with 6:47 remaining. Lehigh would get it down to seven on two free throws by Jason Mgebroff with 1:42 to go, but it was not to be, as Sacred Heart won its second straight game.
After the teams came out and traded baskets for several minutes, Lehigh hit a cold spell, unable to connect from the field for 9:52, which led to a 35-18 halftime deficit. The Mountain Hawks connected on just 21 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, while Sacred Heart shot 41 percent from the field and 42 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Olivero led the Brown and White with eight points, including two three-pointers, while sophomore Bryan White was two of three from the field for four points. Junior Kyle Neptune continued his strong play on the backboards as he ripped down five first half rebounds.
For Sacred Heart, Luke Granato had the touch early on, hitting four of six from the field for 11 points, including three shots from downtown. Jarrid Frye added 10 points and five rebounds for the Pioneers.
Head Coach Billy Taylor liked the way his team fought back after getting down early. “We really showed a great deal of character and fight tonight to come back and give ourselves a chance to be in this ballgame. Obviously Jose played a great game for us, but we have to come out stronger, and stay focused throughout the entire 40 minutes.”
Lehigh returns to action on Saturday afternoon as the Mountain Hawks welcome the Harvard Crimson to Stabler Arena. Game time is scheduled for 1:00 and tickets can be purchased at anytime on lehighsports.com or by visiting the Lehigh ticket office during normal business hours.
All of the action will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM as well as lehighsports.com with streaming audio provided by Yahoo! Sports. Veteran Matt Kerr and Greg Falkenbach ’72 will provide the commentary.