Feb. 11, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. -
Bucknell scored the first nine points of the second half and never looked back, defeating Lafayette 90-78 on Saturday night at Sojka Pavilion. The Bison were led by a game-high 24 points from Mike Muscala and 17 from Joe Willman in the victory.
For Lafayette, Rob Delaney paced the Leopards with a career-high 22 points on a 7-of-12 shooting night.
Trailing 24-14, Lafayette (11-14, 6-4) knocked down consecutive three-pointers to pull within four at 5:25. Levi Giese connected on the first and then Jim Mower fed Ryan Willen in transition for a left wing triple.
Bucknell (20-6, 10-0) then scored six of the next eight points to regain an eight-point lead with 4:02 to play in the half. Giese’s left-handed basket in the lane and a layup by Tony Johnson cut the deficit to 32-28 at 2:32.A Johnson long ball and Mower free throw brought Lafayette within two, but Muscala made a jumper and Willman hit one as time expired to give Bucknell a six-point (38-32) cushion going into the break. Muscala and Willman combined for 20 first-half points.
Bucknell scored the first nine points of the second half, including a pair of baskets from Muscala, to take a 47-32 lead and force Lafayette to call timeout. Out of the stoppage, Nick Petkovich stopped the bleeding with a triple from the top of the key to end the run. Giese then converted a three from the left side to make it a 47-38 game at 14:48.
Five in a row from Seth Hinrichs trimmed the Bucknell advantage to 51-43 with 12:31 to play before Bryson Johnson connected on three of his 14 points to put the Bison ahead by double digits.
Delaney’s bucket made it 59-48 with 9:29 to go, but Bucknell went on a 16-7 spurt to take a 19-point lead with 5:37 remaining.
Three free throws from Willen with less than a minute made it an eight-point game, but Petkovich misfired on a three that would have cut the deficit to five with 40 seconds to play.
Willen and Johnson were the only other Lafayette players in double figures, scoring 13 and 10 points, respectively. The Leopards committed a season-low five turnovers, but were outmuscled on the glass, 39-22. The Bison also shot 57 percent as a team, hitting 30-of-52 from the field.
Lafayette returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts Holy Cross at Kirby Sports Center at 7 p.m.