PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Zach Thomas recorded 15 points and a career-high 19 rebounds and Nana Foulland also registered a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards, but Bucknell could not overcome an ice-cold shooting night in an 83-70 loss at Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday night at Hagan Arena.
Stephen Brown added 15 points for the Bison (3-5), who saw their three-game winning streak come to an end. James Demery scored 20 points, Shavar Newkirk had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Chris Clover had 17 points for the Hawks (4-3).
It was a rough first half for the Bison, who averaged 95.7 points per game on their recent three-game winning streak. They shot just 25.0 percent (9-36) in the first half, including a 2-for-16 mark from 3-point range.
Saint Joseph’s shot 36.8 percent in the half, but hit six treys in its 16 attempts. The Hawks ran out to an 8-2 lead as Bucknell hit just one of its first 10 shots. It was still just a six-point game at 22-16 when Saint Joseph’s started to heat up.
Pierfrancisco Oliva hit a three followed by a fastbreak layup from Nick Robinson. After a Brown jumper for Bucknell, Clover canned back-to-back treys to give the Hawks a 33-18 lead. Clover hit 4 of 6 from the arc in the first half after coming in 3-for-17 on the season.
Foulland scored on the first possession of the second half, but Saint Joseph’s rattled off seven points in a row after that to go up 47-29. Saint Joseph’s would lead it by as many as 21 in the second half. The Bison closed within 12 on a couple of occasions late in the game and had a possession to get it back to single digits but could not convert.
Bucknell finished at 34.2 percent for the game and hit just 4 of 27 from 3-point range. After some strong free-throw shooting in recent games, the Bison even struggled there in this one, hitting 12 of 23.
The Bison finished with only six turnovers in the game and parlayed 17 offensive rebounds into a 51-49 edge on the glass. Thomas had 11 rebounds by halftime and fell one shy of the team’s first 20-rebound game since Eric Hegedus in 1985.
Thomas, who led the nation in free-throw attempts coming into the game, got to the line 10 more times in this one, hitting eight.
Foulland went over the 700-rebound plateau, becoming the 12th player in Bucknell history to achieve that feat.
Bucknell is back in action on Saturday at home against defending America East champion Vermont. The game is a battle of No. 13 seeds in last year’s NCAA Tournament.