Posted: December 12, 2005
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – For the first time all season, Lehigh won its second straight game, using a nice all-around effort to down Monmouth 71-57 at Stabler Arena on Monday evening.
Sophomore Bryan White scored a career-high for the second straight game, this time pouring in 18 points, while junior Jose Olivero recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and ten assists while classmate Kyle Neptune added 16 points and five rebounds.
Lehigh improves its record to 20-4 all-time at Stabler Arena under head coach Billy Taylor versus non-league foes, and for the season now sits at 5-6, while the visiting Hawks fall to 1-7.
Lehigh shot a season-high 50 percent from the field on Monday, including 6 of 15 from the three-point line, while holding Monmouth to 38 percent shooting, which was the sixth time in the last seven times that a Brown and White opponent has shot 38 percent or worse from the field. The Mountain Hawks dished out 23 assists on 27 field goals, led by Olivero’s ten, while senior Mitch Gilfillan tied his career-high with seven helpers. Monmouth placed a trio of players in double digits, led by Dejan Delic and Marques Alston with 14 tallies and Corey Hallett, who netted 12.
The Mountain Hawks came out strong in the game, jumping out to a 17-5 lead at the 11:11 mark of the first half on an alley-oop dunk connection from Olivero to Neptune. The Brown and White would up its lead to 22-8 with 7:42 remaining in the opening 20 minutes on a free throw by Olivero, which was the largest lead the Mountain Hawks would enjoy in the opening half. Lehigh went to the locker room with a 31-21 lead on the strength of eight points from Olivero and seven from Gilfillan.
In the second half, Lehigh kept a comfortable lead of at least ten for the majority, pushing it to as many as 20 on a lay up by Neptune with 4:45 remaining and from there, the Mountain Hawks cruised. A fast break dunk by Neptune as well as White excited the home fans in attendance and helped lead Lehigh to its highest point total since scoring 77 versus Colgate in last season’s Patriot League Tournament, a span of 11 games.
Olivero, the reigning Patriot League Player of the Week expressed his thoughts following the game. “We were determined to come out here tonight, with great energy and focus, and really stuck with Coach Taylor’s game plan. To go into the break on a two-game streak is important for us. We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now on both ends of the court and it showed here this evening.”
Lehigh was out rebounded for the game 34-27, but it did not matter, as the Mountain Hawks forced 25 turnovers, the first time all season they forced more than 20, and recorded a season-best 14 steals on the evening.
Lehigh now has 11 days off for finals, but will return to action on Friday, December 23 when the Mountain Hawks travel to Seattle to take on the University of Washington. Game time is set for 8:00 eastern time and all of the action can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM as well as lehighsports.com beginning at 7:30 with Jeff Tourial calling all of the action.