Posted: January 2, 2006
NEW YORK – Junior Jose Olivero scored 21 points, leading Lehigh on a 19-5 run over the final 5:51 as the Mountain Hawks won their first road game since February 11, 2005, downing Columbia 65-57 on Monday evening in Levien Gym. Olivero recorded his 13th career 20-point game and now sits just 40 points shy of 1,000 for his career. Sophomore Bryan White added 11 tallies and six boards for the Brown and White, who moves to 6-8 with the win, while the Lions, who were led in scoring by freshman K.J. Matsui’s 17 points, fall to 6-6.
For the game, Lehigh shot 45 percent from the field and dished out 17 assists on 23 field goals, a stat that is sure to make head coach Billy Taylor happy. The Mountain Hawks were led on the glass by White’s six boards, while junior Kyle Neptune added five. White also dished out a team-best six helpers for the game.
The Lions hit on 54 percent of their field goals, but went the final 7:47 with no buckets from the field, as Lehigh applied a press and forced two five-second calls, as well as several turnovers. After being down by as many as nine points in the second half, the Mountain Hawks turned up the defensive pressure and it sure paid off. A lay up by senior James Anderson brought the Brown and White to within seven at the 9:17 mark, and then a three-pointer by senior Mitch Gilfillan cut the deficit to just four with 8:40 to go.
Columbia then upped the lead to eight, but a three by Neptune sliced it down to five, and Olivero followed that with two free throws and a three-pointer of his own to tie the game at 52 with 5:11 left. Lehigh took its first lead of the night after Olivero scored on a lay up in the paint with 4:09 to go, and from there the Mountain Hawks would not look back. They used the late run, solid free throw shooting and tremendous in your face defense to win their first road game against an Ivy League Team since beating Dartmouth way back on December 20, 2003 in New Hampshire.
The two teams came out on fire, trading buckets for the first few minutes, and continued that trend throughout the opening half. Columbia led 35-32 as the teams retired for the half time break, but not before an entertaining 20 minutes of basketball was played. Lehigh was led on offense by Olivero’s eight points, while sophomore Bryan White chipped in with six points, three rebounds and two assists. Lehigh shot 45 percent for the half and dished out ten assists on 13 field goals.
The Lions were led by Matsui and his sweet shooting from down town as the Japan native connected on four of six three-pointers en route to 12 first-half tallies. Ben Nwachukwu helped out with eight points of his own for Columbia, but left the game towards the end of the half after sustaining an injury. The Lions finished the half with a 54 percent clip from the field, including 46 percent from downtown.
Lehigh returns to action on Wednesday evening when the Mountain Hawks host Muhlenberg in their final non-conference game of the season. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:05 from Stabler Arena and tickets can be purchased at the arena box office on game day.