Nov. 15, 2011
NEW YORK, N.Y. - If the Lightning men's basketball team is going to make a habit of playing the way it did on Tuesday night against Berkeley College (NY) in its season opener, someone better keep an eye on head coach Steve Schulman because he might not make it to the end.
Trailing from the time Berkeley's Elijah Craig tossed in a layup barely two minutes into the game, the Lightning pulled out a miraculous win against the Knights as newcomer Kelvin Gil calmly knocked down two free throws with four seconds remaining to give Lehman a 72-71 victory.
Gil's two free throws capped a team-high 19 point effort and completed a Lightning comeback that saw it down as many as 17 at one juncture in the first half and by six with 28 seconds to play in the second half.
With Berkeley holding a 69-63 lead after Berkeley's Mario Guzman converted one of two at the free throw line, Lehman got back to back buckets from Sebastian Pessoa and George Nimmons to slice its deficit to 69-67. However, Jose Stable sank two from the charity stripe to regain a four point advantage for the Knights.
Moments later Mathias Raggiotto banked in a three-pointer to bring Lehman within 71-70 and set the stage for Gil's game-winning free throws.
Based on the game's opening moments, it looked as if the Lightning surely wouldn't be in any position to come away with a win. Possibly because of the unfamiliar surroundings – Lehman was forced to play its home game at John Jay College due to damage to its campus gym floor – the Lightning seemed tentative to start and watched the Knights storm out to a 10-0 lead.
Lehman settled down behind baskets by Raggiotto, Pessoa and George Nimmons to claw to within 19-15 before Berkeley fired off a 17-4 run that ended with a Stable layup and a 36-17 margin in favor of the Knights. The Lightning would eventually enter the locker room down 10 points.
During the game Coach Schulman went deep into his bench, playing 12 of his 15 available players with nine logging at least 10 minutes.
In addition to Gil's standout effort that including his shooting 4-of-5 from three-point territory, Lehman also received double digit scoring nights form Raggiotto (15 points), Nimmons (11 points) and Pessoa (10 points). Junior Phil Ductan tied for the team lead with six rebounds and also contributed six points and six assists.
The Lightning is back in action on Friday as it travels to Eastern University to take part in the Nate Ware Invitational.