Towson's comeback vs. Lehigh falls short

Tigers battle back from 20 down, lose, 64-61

December 30, 2004|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Towson University showed last night that it has the big finish down pat.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, it was an abysmal start that proved to be the difference in a 64-61 loss to Lehigh in front of 1,088 at Towson Center.

Lethargic from the opening tip, the Tigers went scoreless for the first five minutes and quickly dug themselves a 20-point hole. Trailing by 12 with 1:20 left, however, they mounted a furious comeback, pulling to within two in the final seconds before falling for the seventh time in eight games when Trevan Jackson's three-pointer from the corner sailed long at the buzzer.

"We just looked like deers in the headlight for the first 10 minutes of the game," said Tigers first-year coach Pat Kennedy, whose team was coming off an 11-day break. "We were 10 times more aggressive in the second half."

Kennedy said that his team was coming off three of its best practices of the season, and seemed primed for a solid performance.

"I really thought we were ready to take that next step," Kennedy said.

Instead, Lehigh (5-6), an NCAA play-in team last season with 20 wins, took command of the game early, time and again beating Towson down court to create wide-open shots on the wing.

Jose Olivero (16 points), who led four Lehigh scorers in double figures, helped his team run out to a 25-5 lead over the first 12 minutes, as the Mountain Hawks hit five of their first seven three-point attempts.

"I thought we played with a lot of passion and purpose right from the opening," said Lehigh coach Billy Taylor, whose team was coming off an eight-day break of its own. "Our guys had a lot of energy."

Meanwhile, Towson (3-8), which was led by point guard Mike Green's 15 points and nine assists, went scoreless for the first 5:08 and started the game 2-for-17 from the field.

"We don't have that guy that can fire us up," said Green.

The Tigers began to cut into the lead a bit after halftime, using a pair of early three-pointers by Jackson to trail by 11 - as close as they had been since the early minutes.

Inside of two minutes, they then cut the deficit to five on three-pointers by Jake McCartney and Jonathan Pease, then got it down to two when Olivero missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Green made two foul shots at the other end with 11 seconds left.

LEHIGH-Monserez 3-7 2-4 11, Nurse 4-5 2-2 10, Mgebroff 4-11 0-0 8, Knight 3-7 2-4 11, Olivero 5-11 2-4 16, Smith 0-2 0-0 0, White 1-2 2-2 4, White 1-2 2-2 4, Gilfillan 0-2 0-0 0, Tempest 0-2 0-0 0, Fischman 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 22-52 10-16 64. TOWSON-Hamm 1-7 1-4 3, Pease 3-7 2-2 10, Plack 4-4 2-3 10, Jackson 2-9 0-0 6, Green 5-11 5-7 15, Fletcher 2-5 0-0 5, Tubbs 3-6 0-0 7, McCartney 2-4 0-0 5. Totals 22-53 10-16 61. Half: Lehigh, 38-23. 3-point goals: L 10-23 (Olivero 4-8, Knight 3-4, Monserez 3-7, Gilfillan 0-1, Tempest 0-1, Smith 0-2); T 7-26 (Pease 2-5, Jackson 2-6, McCartney 1-2, Fletcher 1-3, Tubbs 1-3, Hamm 0-3, Green 0-4). Rebounds: L 38 (Monserez 8); T 30 (Tubbs 8). Assists: L 17 (Knight 6); T 16 (Green 9). Total fouls: L 16, T 16. A: 1,088.

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