BOSTON, Mass. – Senior point guard Stephen Brown turned in another virtuoso performance on Sunday, leading first-place Bucknell to a 91-79 win over second-place Boston University at Case Gym. Now 15-8 overall and 9-1 in the Patriot League, the Bison won their eighth straight game since a Jan. 2 loss to Boston University, and they opened up a two-game lead over the Terriers (11-10, 7-3) and Colgate in the league standings.
Coming off a career-high 27-point game in an 87-67 win at Navy on Wednesday, Brown had 21 in this one, to go with five rebounds, five assists, and four steals. In the two road wins this week, Brown logged 48 points, seven assists, four steals, no turnovers and no fouls.
Brown had plenty of support from the rest of the Bison cast. Zach Thomas tallied 18 points, five rebounds and four assists, Nana Foulland had 15 points in just 15 minutes while battling foul trouble, and reserves Nate Sestina and Avi Toomer chipped in eight points apiece.
Bucknell shot 57.4 percent from the field and posted its highest point total in a road game this season. The Bison led by as many as 23 points in the second half and were able to clear the bench early. Boston University made the final score respectable with a 12-2 run in the final 2:45 again the Bison reserves.
Bucknell led 44-32 at the end of a fast-paced first half. Both starting centers -- Boston University’s Max Mahoney and Bucknell’s Foulland-- went out early with two fouls apiece, and the game turned into a track meet from there.
The Bison quickly built on that 12-point halftime cushion, stretching the margin up to 18 by outscoring Boston University 10-4 in the first four minutes of the second period. Thomas drained two 3-pointers in that stretch.
Brown was at his very best in the early stages of the second half. He skied for an offensive rebound and powered back up for a 3-point play. Then he threw a perfect alley-oop to Foulland, he floated down the lane for a bank shot, and he finished the flurry with a steal and feed ahead to Sestina for a breakaway jam and a 65-46 lead.
The Bison kept their foot on the gas pedal and received old-fashioned 3-point plays from Thomas and Foulland, the latter on a powerful dunk attempt after a drive and dish from Toomer. Toomer added a pair of treys, and Bruce Moore scored in transition to keep the margin at 20 or more all the way up until the final three minutes.
Trailing 16-10 seven minutes in, the Bison got going with a Kimbal Mackenzie 3-pointer from the left wing. Later, Brown hit back-to-back treys, Thomas scored in the lane and then fed Paul Newman for a layup as part of a 10-0 run.
The run grew to 20-3, keyed by a transition 3-point play and yet another bomb by Brown. A Brown steal led to two free throws for Thomas, and it was 35-22 with 7:07 left in the half. Consecutive reverse layups by Toomer and Thomas stretched the margin to 14 at 39-25 about 90 seconds later.
With Foulland in foul trouble, Sestina and Newman gave the Bison important minutes off the bench. Sestina had eight points, four rebounds and a blocked shot in 25 minutes, and Newman notched his first career field goal, grabbed two rebounds and played strong post defense in his six minutes of action.
After shooting 53.3 percent in the first half, the Bison were even better in the second. They shot 61.3 percent (19-31), including 4 of 10 from the arc.
In the first meeting between the two teams, Bucknell struggled with turnovers against the Boston University zone and fell 84-79 at Sojka Pavilion, This time, the Bison had only 11 turnovers and managed 46 points in the paint.
The Bison held the Terriers to 38.7-percent shooting in the first half while building the double-digit lead. Boston University finished at 45.7 percent, boosted by that late flurry, and hit 6 of 12 from the arc. Walter Whyte led the team with 14 points, while Tyler Scanlon scored 10 of his 12 points in the first 7:26 of the game.
The game was reminiscent of last year’s 86-66 Bucknell win at Boston University that clinched the Patriot League regular-season title. There are still eight games to play this time around, but the Bison have now beaten every team in the league once and have a two-game lead with five of the next seven games at home.
The eight-game winning streak is Bucknell’s longest since 2011-12, when it won 12 in a row. The Bison have also won 11 of their last 12 and 15 of 19. The seven-game road winning streak is also the longest since 2011-12.
With his 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting, Foulland moved past Kevin Bettencourt into fifth place on Bucknell’s all-time scoring list with 1,586 points. Bettencourt, now the head coach at Endicott College, was in attendance as part of a large Bison cheering section.
Thomas went over the 1,500-point plateau (1,501) and moved past another Hall-of-Famer, Bill Courtney, into the No. 11 spot on Bucknell’s career chart. Brown now has 1,106 points, and he passed Brian Anderson and Bryan Cohen into 31st all-time.
Bucknell will host Army West Point on Wednesday. The 7 p.m. game will be webcast on the Patriot League Network at PatriotLeague.tv. The Bison won 83-66 at West Point on Jan. 5.
Coach Davis after today’s win: “I don’t believe in revenge games. It was our biggest game of the year because it was the game we had today.” pic.twitter.com/GJfwIykDGO— Bucknell MBasketball (@Bucknell_MBB) January 28, 2018
More from Coach Davis on the play of Stephen Brown, who had another sensational game today. “He’s the head of the snake.” pic.twitter.com/Fk7yZnVVB6— Bucknell MBasketball (@Bucknell_MBB) January 28, 2018
Coach Davis on the complete team effort, including a shoutout to Paul Newman, who played some important minutes off the bench today. pic.twitter.com/IT1cj2SLEl— Bucknell MBasketball (@Bucknell_MBB) January 28, 2018