Posted: December 23, 2005
SEATTLE – Lehigh fought hard and put forth a solid defensive effort, but a tough night on the offensive end was too much to overcome as the Mountain Hawks fell to the number-seven ranked Washington Huskies 54-37 on Friday evening before a sell-out crowd of 10,000 people at Bank of America Arena. The Huskies came into the game as the number-one scoring team in America, averaging close to 100 points per night, but the Brown and White was able to hold Washington in check, however the Mountain Hawks were done in by a 29 percent shooting clip on field goals. Junior Jose Olivero led Lehigh with 13 points, while senior Mike Fischman grabbed a team-best six boards. The Mountain Hawks fall to 5-7, while the Huskies improve to 10-0, and were led by Bobby Jones’ 12 points for the game.
Lehigh was physical throughout the game, grabbing 37 rebounds to the Huskies 42, and also forced 18 Washington turnovers. Lehigh hit on only two of 12 three-pointers and just 17 of 58 field goals overall for the game. “I thought our defensive effort tonight was outstanding,” said head coach Billy Taylor following the game. “We brought a great deal of energy and focus, but we couldn’t seem to carry that over to offense. Washington is a great team with tremendous offensive abilities, but we were ready tonight and it showed with our defense.”
The Mountain Hawks held the high-scoring Huskies in check during the first half, holding them to 32 points, but Lehigh struggled with its own offense, connecting on only 24 percent from the field en route to 15 opening half tallies. Washington led by single digits for the majority of the half, until a Roy field goal put the home team up 11 with 6:57 remaining, but Lehigh’s defense more than held its own against the highest scoring team in the country.
Juniors Jason Mgebroff and Olivero each scored four points for the Brown and White, with sophomore Bryan White pulling down a team-high four rebounds and junior Kyle Neptune handing out two assists. The Huskies were led by Hans Gasser, who tallied seven points on two of four shooting, while Roy and Jamaal Williams added six apiece.
In the second half, Washington came out strong and went up by as many as 28 following a Jones jumper with 15:23 remaining, but Lehigh was able to remain within 20 for the remainder of the contest following that. The Mountain Hawks used a nice little run of their own towards the final minutes, as Olivero hit a three-pointer from the top of the key and followed that up with a nice running finger-roll on a fast break.
Lehigh will now break for the holidays and return to action on Friday, December 30 when the Mountain Hawks welcome Towson to Stabler Arena, where the Brown and White is 20-4 at under head coach Billy Taylor versus non-league foes. Game time is set for 1:00 and tickets can be purchased at anytime on lehighsports.com. The contest will be broadcast live in the Lehigh Valley on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM as well as around the world on lehighsports.com beginning at 12:30 with veteran Matt Kerr and Greg Falkenbach ’72 calling all of the action.