Wildcats Rally For 61-59 Win Over Mountain Hawks

Nov. 13, 2005

Associated Press Writer

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - Vedran Vukusic scored 25 points, including the go-ahead basket with 12.8 seconds left, as Northwestern came back from a double-digit deficit to beat Lehigh 61-59 Sunday night in the first round of the Black Coaches Association Invitational.

After Vukusic's jumper from the corner, Evan Seacat recovered a loose ball on Lehigh's end of the court and was intentionally fouled by Mitch Gilfillan with 5.6 seconds left. Seacat made one free throw, and Vukusic, fouled on the inbound play, hit two more to put the game out of reach.

Northwestern (1-0) will face Charlotte in Monday's semifinals; Lehigh (0-1) will play Coppin State in the consolation bracket.

After trailing the entire first half, the Wildcats tied the game at 37 on a pair of Vince Scott free throws, then took their first lead, 40-38, on Scott's 3-pointer with 13:12 left.

After that, the lead changed 10 times before Vukusic's go-ahead shot, with neither team leading by more than three points until the final seconds.

Tim Doyle added 14 points for Northwestern.

Jose Olivero scored 16 of his 19 for Lehigh in the first half; his only second-half basket was a 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds left. Kyle Neptune added 16 for the Mountain Hawks, but fouled out with 2:18 left in the game. Bryan White had 11 rebounds.

Olivero scored the first eight points in a 10-2 Lehigh run in the first half, first hitting a pair of free throws, then sinking a pair of 3-pointers. Jason Mgebroff's layup with 11:12 left gave the Mountain Hawks an 18-7 lead.

Doyle had a steal and a fast break basket, then scored on another break off a Mohamed Hachad steal, during a 10-0 run that brought the Wildcats within 20-18. But Lehigh closed the half with an 8-3 run and led 28-21 at halftime.