EASTON, Pa. – Bucknell senior point guard Stephen Brown picked a great time to go over the 1,000-point mark for his career. He reached the milestone with a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1:17 left in overtime, sending the Bison on to an 80-75 win at Lafayette on Monday night at Kirby Sports Center.
Bucknell has now won nine of its last 13 games to move over .500 at 9-8 after an 0-4 start. The Bison improved to 3-1 in the Patriot League to maintain a share of first place. Lafayette (4-11, 2-2 PL) saw its two-game winning streak come to an end.
That's a heckuva way to get your 1,000th point! A tiebreaking 3-pointer in OT that have the Bison the lead for good. Stephen Brown now has 1,003 career points, making him the 42nd member of the Bucknell 1,000-point club. pic.twitter.com/s34oE75W7P— Bucknell MBasketball (@Bucknell_MBB) January 9, 2018
Brown finished with 19 points, 15 coming after halftime, to help the Bison erase a double-digit deficit. Fellow seniors Zach Thomas and Nana Foulland also had big nights, with both topping 20 points in double-doubles. Thomas tallied 25 points and 13 rebounds, while Foulland finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. Foulland also reached a milestone, going over 1,500 career points and becoming a top-10 scorer in Bucknell history in the process.
Bucknell flipped the script in the second half. After an ice-cold shooting stretch in the first half, when they trailed by as many as 13 points, the Bison shot 52 percent in the second half while holding Lafayette to 35.5 percent. Bucknell then kept Lafayette without a field goal (0-for-8) in overtime.
Bucknell seemed poised to win it in regulation, but freshman Alex Petrie (26 points) tossed in a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie it at 70. Petrie had just missed a deep, contested three, but the rebound slammed all the way out to the left corner. Justin Jaworski tracked down the loose ball and got it back to Petrie, who made the most of his second chance as the horn sounded.
But the Bison were not bothered by the stunning finish to regulation. With the game knotted at 73 not quite four minutes into the extra session, Foulland passed out of a double team in the post, and Brown swished a 3-pointer from the right wing. After a couple of defensive stops, Brown split a pair at the free-throw line to make it a two-possession game, and then Thomas did the same for a 78-73 lead. After Petrie made two charity tosses, Jimmy Sotos put the game on ice with two free throws with 10 seconds to play.
Bucknell seemed to be in trouble as Lafayette’s 14-0 run paved the way for a lead of as many 13 points in the first half. The Bison trailed 38-31 after a late run to end the half, but Lafayette scored the first five of the second half to go back up by 12 at 43-31.
Bucknell responded by holding the Leopards scoreless for nearly four minutes while rattling off 11 straight points to get back in it. Thomas got the run going with two buckets in the lane, the latter turning into a 3-point play. Brown’s pull-up jumper with 15:03 left reduced the deficit to one at 43-42.
Kyle Stout ended the Bison run with a 4-point play, but the Bison finally got the game tied on Brown’s 3-pointer with 11:49 to go. Leading 60-59 after an E.J. Stephens free throw, Lafayette tried to catch Bucknell off guard with a 1-3-1 trap. But Thomas found Bruce Moore open in the left corner for a 3-pointer and the first lead of the second half.
Inside two minutes remaining, Bucknell led 70-67 after a Thomas layup. The Bison forced two turnovers but could not convert two chances to make it a two-possession game, and Petrie made them pay with the trey at the buzzer.
Bucknell shot just 25 percent in the first half, compared to Lafayette’s 47%, and the Bison needed six straight points from Thomas over the final 2:25 to trim a 13-point deficit to six at 38-31 at the break.
Despite missing eight straight shots in one early stretch, the Bison had a 22-20 lead after a pair of Nate Sestina free throws. But another five-minute field goal drought coincided with Petrie and the Leopards getting hot. The rookie scored nine of his team’s points in a 14-0 run that gave Lafayette a 34-22 lead.
The Leopards stretched the margin to 13 at 38-25 after a late-shot-clock pull-up by Petrie with 2:45 to go in the half, but the Bison would close out the period with four straight defensive stops. Thomas converted four free throws and a buzzer-beating layup to get them back in it.
Bucknell shot 38.2 percent on the night, its second-lowest mark of the season (Saint Joseph’s) and finished 6 of 19 at the arc. The Bison committed just six turnovers to match its season low (also Saint Joseph’s) and made 22 of 29 at the foul line, including an 8-for-10 performance from Foulland.
The Bison also kept Matt Klinewski – the Patriot League’s No. 2 scorer behind Thomas – in check. He finished with 10 points on 4-for-10 shooting before fouling out in overtime. Zalys added 12 for the Leopards, who shot 37 percent on the night.
In the final 15 minutes of the game – the last 10 of regulation plus overtime – the Bison held the Leopards to just three field goals, the last of which was the Petrie buzzer-beater.
Foulland now has 1,504 career points, and he moved past Hall-of-Famer Bill Courtney into 10th place on Bucknell’s all-time scoring list. Foulland’s double-double was his fifth of the season and 20th of his career.
Thomas also moved up a spot on the Bucknell scoring chart. He passed Bryson Johnson for 13th all-time with 1,394 points. It was Thomas’ 11th 20-point game and seventh double-double of the season. He has recorded double-digit rebounds in a career-high three straight games.
Brown finished the night with 1,003 points and is the 42nd member of Bucknell's 1,000-point club. The Class of 2018 is now just the second in school history with three 1,000-point scorers. The only other group to do it was the Class of 2013 (Mike Muscala, Bryson Johnson, Joe Willman).
Bucknell is back in action on Thursday at home against Lehigh. The game will be televised on Stadium TV and stream online at PatriotLeague.tv.
Coach Davis talks about his team’s response in OT after the Lafayette buzzer-beater. pic.twitter.com/9ce4FMBSr5— Bucknell MBasketball (@Bucknell_MBB) January 9, 2018
Coach Davis on winning back-to-back road games to get to 3-1 in the Patriot League heading into Thursday’s home game with Lehigh. pic.twitter.com/P5TNdT8n19— Bucknell MBasketball (@Bucknell_MBB) January 9, 2018