Leopards' Season Ends in Conference Championship Game
March 13, 2013
Leading 10-8 after a Seth Hinrichs jumper, Bucknell put together a 10-2 run that included a pair of three-pointers by Ben Brackney and a Mike Muscala two-handed slam to take an 18-12 advantage nearly 13 minutes into the game.
A long two by Dan Trist pulled Lafayette within four, but Muscala pushed Bucknell's cushion to 22-14 with a pair of buckets prior to another basket inside by Brian Fiztpatrick to complete a 16-4 run for the Bison, who led by 10 (24-14). The Leopards scored four of the final six points to end the half and went into the break trailing 26-18, after a 7-for-24 shooting performance (29.2%). Bucknell was 11-of-31 from the floor in the period (35.5%) and held a plus-five margin on the glass.
Bucknell opened the second half with four straight points to make it a 12-point game, but Lafayette came back with seven in a row, sparked by a Bryce Scott two-pointer and back-to-back shots by Joey Ptasinski to force Bucknell to call timeout (30-25).
After Ptasinski cut it to 30-27 with a back door cut and lay-in off a feed from Johnson, Bucknell's Ryan Frazier put in consecutive layups. The second came off a turnover in the backcourt and led to a three-on-one and an easy deuce to push the lead back to seven for Bucknell with 13 minutes to play.
A foul-line jumper by Levi Giese drew Lafayette within four (40-36) at 8:25 and then followed it up with a block of Muscala on the other end. A chance to pull within one possession went awry as Scott slipped as he tried to receive a pass, but Bucknell failed to capitalize when Cameron Ayers made one of two at the stripe. Ptasinski and Muscala traded two's. Then Trist drilled a baseline jumper and Lafayette was within three points with 6:30 to go.
Bucknell (28-5) answered with the next eight points, including two turnarounds by Muscala and a layup off a miss by Joe Willman with 3:52 showing. A pair at the line by Willman extended it to 13 a minute later. Bucknell led by as many as 15 before Lafayette cut it to 60-53 on Scott's three free throws with 40 seconds left. Lafayette failed to get any closer as Bucknell eventually came away with the 64-56 victory.
Ptasinski ended the game with a team-high 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Scott added 13 and Johnson 11 for the Leopards who shot 40 percent from the floor for the game. Johnson and Seth Hinrichs (7 points) were named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Leopards could not get things going from outside, shooting 5-of-15 (33%) while holding Bucknell to 2-of-9 (22%). Lafayette held its own on the glass, outrebounded 36-33.
Muscala, the Patriot League Tournament MVP, finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds, joined in double figures by Willman (14, pts, 8 reb), a fellow All-Tournament selection. The Bison did much of their work at the free throw line, converting 18-of-23 (78%). Lafayette shot 11 free throws in the game, making seven and failed to reach the bonus in either half.
Lafayette finishes its season at 19-15 overall, its best mark since going 19-13 in 2009-10. The Leopards will return three starters for the 2013-14 season.