POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – Chavaughn Lewis scored 19 points to lead Marist to a wire-to-wire 69-51 victory over Bucknell on Friday night at the McCann Center. Steven Kaspar scored 13 points and Cameron Ayers had 10, but the Bison were battling from behind all night as the Red Foxes opened the game on a 16-0 run.
Playing only its third home game of the year, Marist seemed rejuvenated after picking up a big road win at College of Charleston last Sunday, and the Red Foxes (2-9) were strong at both ends of the floor. Bucknell (5-5) came into the game ranked sixth nationally in fewest turnovers and ninth in 3-point field goal percentage, but an aggressive, trapping zone forced the Bison into 22.7-percent shooting (1-for-7 from the arc) and eight turnovers in a one-sided first half. They would shoot just 28.8 percent for the game.
Marist took it to the Bison right from the opening tap, using three 3-pointers by T.J. Curry to spark that 16-0 run. Ayers got the Bison on the board with a trey 7:29 into the contest, but another triple by Lewis and a layup by Adam Kemp made it 21-3 nine minutes into the contest. At that point Marist was 5-for-7 on threes and 8-for-15 overall, while the Bison were 2-for-11 and 1-for-6 from the arc.
Marist pushed the lead to 20 at 32-12 after a Jay Bowie 3-pointer with 5:22 left in the half. The Bison, who were playing for the first time in 13 days, scored six of the final eight points of the half to pull within 16 at 34-18 at the break.
The Red Foxes stretched that lead to 42-18 with an 8-0 run to start the second half. Ben Brackney’s trey kick-started a 7-0 Bucknell run, and with 8:35 to play Ryan Frazier knocked down a three from the left wing to make it a 14-point game at 48-34 with 8:35 left.
Lewis answered with a 3-point play and 17-foot jumper to start a 15-5 Marist run that ended any hopes of a Bison comeback.
“Marist deserves an awful lot of credit for the way they played tonight,” said head coach Dave Paulsen. “They were terrific and outplayed us in every facet of the game. Looking at it through our lens, we had a lot of breakdowns that have to get corrected.”
Kaspar scored Bucknell’s final 12 points of the game. Frazier added nine points off the bench and Chris Hass tallied eight points and a team-high six rebounds.
Marist shot 45.8 percent overall and went 6-for-12 from 3-point distance. Bucknell did get to the free-throw line 20 times, making 15, while the Red Foxes were 9-for-10.Bucknell returns to action on Dec. 28 at home against Fairfield at 2 p.m. That will be the team’s final regular-season non-league contest, as Patriot League play begins on Jan. 2 when the Bison host American at 7 p.m.