Leopards Fall to Bison in Patriot Championship Game, 72-57
March 11, 2011
LEWISBURG, Pa. - For the second straight season Lafayette played its way to the Patriot League Championship game and finished a win away from the NCAA Tournament. Bucknell pull away in the second half and picked up 72-57 victory Friday to win the Patriot League championship and an automatic bid to the NCAAs.
Six-seeded Lafayette became first ever team seeded lower than third to advance to Patriot League Tournament game and in the process snapped a 38-game streak in which the higher seed had in Patriot semifinals.
Three Leopards scored in double figures for the evening led by senior Jared Mintz's 16-point effort and finished his stint at Lafayette with 1,245 career points. Tony Johnson and Jim Mower chipped in 12 and 11 points each, respectively.
Bucknell (25-8) featured three in double digits as well; Mike Muscala led the team with 18 points while Bryson Johnson (15) and Cameron Ayers (12) both chipped in.
Lafayette (13-19) narrowed an 11-point deficit to 47-42 with 13:40 left on Johnson's layup before Bucknell pulled away for good.
Ayers hit from 15 feet out to open a 10-point lead for Bucknell, then sank a 3-pointer from the right wing with the shot clock winding down to give the Bison a 57-46 lead with 8:30 left.
The Bison opened a 16-point lead with less than 5 minutes left in the second half to put the game away.
The Bison shot 42 percent from the floor and 82 percent from the line while the Leopards hit 18-of 52 from the floor (35%) and 57 percent (17-of-30) from the charity stripe.
NOTES: Ryan Willen's first basket of the game put him over 1000 for his career. Willen had 999 entering the game and hit a three at 12:58 in the first half.
Mintz was named to the Patriot League All-Tournament team at the conclusion of the game.
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