Posted: February 14, 2007
HAMILTON, N.Y. – A three-pointer by Willie Morse with four seconds remaining in overtime was off the mark and Lehigh held on for a 56-53 victory over Colgate on Wednesday evening at Cotterell Court. Despite the game’s start time being pushed back 90 minutes due to a snow storm, the Mountain Hawks rode a combined 30-point performance from senior Jose Olivero and freshman Marquis Hall to win their second consecutive road contest and improve to 12-15 overall and 7-4 in Patriot League action. Colgate falls to 9-16 overall and 4-8 in league play.
With the win, Lehigh has now beaten Colgate six consecutive times, including in back-to-back games in Hamilton, the first time that has happened since the inception of Patriot League play in 1990-91. Olivero scored a team-high 16 points, while Hall added 14 for Lehigh. Freshman Zahir Carrington came off the bench to grab 10 rebounds, and the Philadelphia native also scored eight points. Senior Jason Mgebroff made his return to the Lehigh lineup, as he scored five points on a perfect two-of-two shooting from the field in his first action since sustaining a leg injury on December 11. The Mountain Hawks shot just 34.5 percent from the floor, but their defense forced Colgate into a 35 percent showing of its own. Hall dished out a team-best six assists, while Olivero and junior Bryan White each grabbed seven boards.
Colgate was led on offense by Morse, who sank four three-pointers en route to 18 points, while Kyle Chones added 17 on 6-of-12 shooting. The Raiders pulled down 44 rebounds as a team, led by Marc Daniels’ eight. Jon Simon, who erupted for 28 points in the first meeting between the teams this season, was held in check, as he hit only 3-of-9 field goals en route to six points.
Lehigh jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead as four different Mountain Hawks scored in the opening 2:39. Colgate would climb to within two at 10-8 when Marc Daniels sank a free throw with 13:20 to go, and following a lay up by Simon, the score was tied at 12 at the 9:19 mark. Colgate then took the lead for the first time when Morse scored on a lay up, but Lehigh scored nine straight points, including the first two from Mgebroff in the last 70 days, as the Mountain Hawks climbed back in front 21-14 with 4:23 left.
An 11-2 run by the Raiders over a span of 1:42 propelled Colgate back into the lead at 25-23 with 2:12 remaining, however. Neptune and Kyle Chones then exchanged three-pointers to make the score 28-26 Raiders with 1:19 left in the half. A free throw from Carrington and a running off-balance jumper by Olivero just before the halftime buzzer put Lehigh back on top, as the Mountain Hawks headed into intermission ahead 29-28.
Olivero led the Brown and White with eight points, while senior Kyle Neptune added five and Hall scored four points and dished out four helpers. The Mountain Hawks connected on 40 percent of their field goals and turned the ball over just four times. Colgate meanwhile, was led by Morse’s eight points, including two big three-pointers. Teammate Kyle Chones tossed in six first half tallies, while Daniel Waddy pulled down a team-best four rebounds. The Raiders hit on 39 percent of their field goals, and out rebounded Lehigh 18-14.
Lehigh extended its lead to eight points as the Mountain Hawks opened the second half on a 7-0 run in the first 5:20 that was capped by a lay up from Hall. That made the score 36-28 with 14:40 left. Colgate responded with a 12-4 run, which included eight points from Morse, and put the Raiders in front 43-41 at the 7:39 mark. A three from Hall at the other end put Lehigh back in front 44-43, but Kyle Chones then made a three of his own, and the Raiders went back in front 46-44.
Another three from Chones with 1:32 to go put Colgate in front by four at 49-45, but Olivero drew a foul and sank one free throw, and then Hall drilled yet another three with 42 ticks left to tie the score at 49. Both teams had a chance to win it in regulation but could not convert as the game headed into overtime, Lehigh’s first extra session game since March 4, 2005 in the Patriot League Tournament at Holy Cross.
In the overtime, Colgate got on the board first as Morse scored, but Olivero hit a three from the top of the key to put Lehigh back in front 52-51 with 3:40 left on the clock. A lay up by Carrington off of an in-bounds play made the score 54-51 in favor of Lehigh, but Chones hit a jumper to pull Colgate to within one with 2:34 left. Neither team would score again until Olivero sank a free throw with 16 seconds left. Sophomore Phil Anderson added one more from the charity stripe, setting up the Raiders final shot. Morse came off of a screen and let fly, but his three was off the mark, sending Lehigh to its first back-to-back road wins since February 8 and 11, 2006.
Lehigh returns to action on Sunday afternoon when the Mountain Hawks travel to Easton to take on archrival Lafayette at Kirby Sports Center beginning at noon. The game will be broadcast live in the Lehigh Valley on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM, as well as around the world on lehighsports.com.