WEST POINT, N.Y. – On a night when top scorers Zach Thomas and Nana Foulland were kept in check in the points column, Stephen Brown, Bruce Moore and Ben Robertson had big games, and Bucknell used depth, defense, and 3-point shooting to race past Army West Point 83-66 on Friday night at Christl Arena.
Bucknell improved to 8-8 overall and 2-1 in the Patriot League, and the Bison climbed back into a tie for first place after Colgate and Boston University – the only two 2-0 teams – both lost on Friday. Army West Point had won three of its last four, but fell to 8-6, 1-2.
Brown logged 19 points and five assists, and Moore hit four treys and tossed in 17 points, one game after scoring a career-high 18 against Boston University. Ben Robertson, helping to make up for some of the lost production from the injured Nate Sestina, scored a career-high 11 points and threw down another highlight-reel dunk in traffic.
Freshman Jimmy Sotos added 13 points and a career-high five steals. The Bison had nine steals and eight blocked shots on the night, and they held the high-scoring Black Knights to a season-low-tying 66 points on 37.1-percent shooting.
Bucknell’s lead was just two at 28-26 at the 4:00 mark of the first half when Robertson scored the first six in a 9-0 run. Robertson swished a 3-pointer, then drove from the top of the key for a monster two-handed flush while drawing a foul. He hit the free throw, and then Moore followed with another triple for a 37-27 lead.
Army closed out the first-half scoring, but Bucknell’s eight-point halftime lead quickly ballooned to 20 with a 17-5 run to start the second period. The Bison canned four treys in the spurt, two by Moore and one each by Brown and Sotos. The last of those by Sotos, off a nice kickout feed by Brown, made it 54-34 with 16:00 to play.
The Bison cruised home from there. They led by as many as 22 on a couple of occasions, the first at 66-44 after Moore immediately answered a Tommy Funk 3-pointer with his fourth triple, followed by a John Meeks follow.
Army tried to get back into it with a 7-0 run, but Robertson put a halt to that with a 3-pointer from the left wing. Brown helped close it out with three buckets at the rim, and Bucknell secured an eighth straight victory over Army and fourth in a row at Christl Arena.
The Black Knights came in ranked second in the Patriot League (behind Bucknell) scoring 80.8 points per game, and their 47.5 field-goal percentage was tied for the league lead with the Bison. But Bucknell kept Army to 33.3-percent shooting in the first half and 37.1 percent overall, and the Bison forced 17 turnovers.
Leading scorer Jordan Fox was held to six points on 3-for-12 shooting, but he did have seven assists. Funk led Army with 23 points, buoyed by 5-for-7 shooting from the arc, and Tucker Blackwell added 12 off the bench.
Even though Thomas (4) and Foulland (8) were held to a combined 12 points – they averaged a combined 38 points per game coming in – both still had major impacts on the game. Thomas grabbed 10 rebounds for his seventh double-digit effort of the season. Foulland had eight rebounds, four blocked shots, two assists and two steals. He altered numerous other shots, and offensively his presence in the paint left shooters open left and right, leading to a season-high 14 treys.
Brown finished 8-for-12 from the floor and 3-for-6 from 3-point range, and he added five assists from his point-guard spot. Robertson went 4-for-6 from the field and 2-for-4 from the arc, giving him 11 points and five rebounds in 15 minutes.
Bucknell is back in action on Monday night at Lafayette in a battle of two of the seven teams now tied for first place in the Patriot League at 2-1.