LEWISBURG, Pa. – Patriot League Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Nana Foulland recorded 13 points, 13 rebounds, six blocks and three steals to lead top-seeded Bucknell to a wire-to-wire victory, 78-62 over No. 8 Army West Point on Thursday night in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals at Sojka Pavilion. The Bison improved to 24-8 on the season and will now host fourth-seeded Navy in the semifinal round on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Foulland set the tone with a monster rejection in the opening minute of the game, and the Bison would hold the Black Knights to 19 percent shooting en route to a 36-18 halftime lead. Bucknell then led by double figures the entire second half and advanced to the semifinals for the 20th time in the 27-year history of the Patriot League Tournament. It was the 1,400th victory in program history, and it gave the Bison 24 wins in a season for the seventh time.
“It’s all about winning and advancing right now,” said head coach Nathan Davis afterward. “I thought we came out with a lot of focus and energy and were able to build a big lead. We lost some of that focus defensively in the second half, and we are going to have to clean that up if we want to get past a good Navy team on Sunday. But we’re excited to get the chance to play again.”
Foulland equaled his career highs in rebounds, blocked shots and steals after receiving his two player-of-the-year awards prior to the game. Point guard Stephen Brown led all scorers with 20 points to go with six assists. Zach Thomas added 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals, and Kimbal Mackenzie hit three big second-half 3-pointers while finishing with 13 points.
Army’s lone double-figure scorer was its leading point-producer on the season, Jordan Fox, who tallied 16 on 5-for-17 shooting.
Nothing came easily for the Black Knights (13-19) in the opening 20 minutes, as Bucknell held them to 6-for-31 shooting, including an 0-for-10 mark from 3-point distance. Army warmed up after the break, hitting 10 of its first 13 shots. But the Bison were also 10-for-13 over the same span, and they never let the margin get closer than 13.
It was a 64-51 game after Fox hit two triples in an 8-0 Army run, but a Foulland dunk followed by back-to-back Mackenzie threes gave Bucknell eight straight and jumped the lead back to 21 at 72-51 with 5:30 to play.
The one hiccup for Bucknell on the night was free-throw shooting. The Bison missed three straight front ends of 1-and-1s in the last four minutes and finished 6-for-14 on the night, but they held Army to one field goal over the final 4:30 to prevent any thoughts of a rally from a team that had just recently stormed back from 25 down to beat arch-rival Navy in Annapolis.
Bucknell shot 46.2 percent for the game and went 12-for-30 (.400) from 3-point range. Army finished at 35.5 percent overall, 6-for-20 (.300) from the arc. The Bison had 18 assists on 30 field goals and had as many steals (11) as turnovers.
Navy defeated fifth-seeded Holy Cross 49-42 in a defensive struggle in Annapolis on Thursday evening. The Bison and Midshipmen will now square off for the second time in a week. Bucknell topped Navy 82-60 in the regular-season finale on Saturday at Sojka Pavilion.
No. 2 Boston University will host No. 3 Lehigh in the other semifinal matchup.