WORCESTER, Mass. – Nana Foulland recorded 21 points and nine rebounds, and Bucknell held Holy Cross without a field goal in overtime to win 68-67 at the Hart Center on Saturday afternoon. Stephen Brown and Zach Thomas added 15 points each for the Bison, who reached the 20-win mark for the 14th time in school history.
Now 20-9 overall and 14-2 in the Patriot League, Bucknell led throughout most of the second half before going cold down the stretch. Holy Cross (10-16, 7-9 PL), rallied to take a 65-64 lead on an Austin Butler 3-point play with 2:58 left in regulation, but that would be the Crusaders’ final field goal of the day.
Foulland’s dunk with 1:17 left put Bucknell back in front before Jehyve Floyd made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 66-66 with 0:49 left. After Foulland’s jump-hook rimmed out, Holy Cross had a final shot, but Patrick Benzan’s step-back jumper was off the mark.
Thomas broke the deadlock with two free throws with 3:24 left in overtime, and remarkably those would be the winning points. Butler hit 1 of 2 at the line on the next possession to make it 68-67, and the two teams would trade misses the rest of the way. Holy Cross was 0-for-7 from the field in overtime, while Bucknell was 0-for-4.
After the Crusaders rebounded a Bison miss with 32 seconds left, they tried to run through their set offense but could not get anywhere against the Bison defense. Holy Cross called timeout with seven seconds on the shot clock and 9.1 on the game clock. Benzan momentarily fumbled the ball, and then had to fling a contested shot at the rim. Connor Niego rebounded but did not have time for a put-back as the final buzzer sounded.
The Bison are now 3-1 in overtime this season, and in all three wins they kept the opponent without a field goal in extra time.
Here are some thoughts from Coach Davis on the defensive effort in today’s win over Holy Cross. pic.twitter.com/Q6lMOqo5GX— Bucknell MBasketball (@Bucknell_MBB) February 17, 2018
Trailing 33-32 at the half, Bucknell opened the second period on a 10-2 run. Brown scored six of those points, as he made all three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt, and then he swished a trey on the next possession. Mackenzie capped the run with a pair of free throws to give the Bison a 42-35 lead.
The margin grew as high as nine at 46-37 on a Foulland free throw with 14:54 remaining, however the Bison had trouble shaking a Crusaders squad that came in on a two-game winning streak.
A tip-in by Bruce Moore with 7:11 to go gave Buknell a 62-55 lead. After a Benzan layup, Bucknell missed four shots on one possession, including three tip attempts at the rim. Holy Cross then kept getting to the foul line in a tightly called game, eventually pulling within 64-62 on two charity tosses by Butler. After another Bison miss, Butler finished his 3-point play to give the Crusaders the lead back.
Thomas was called for a charging foul, but Floyd missed two free throws to keep it a one-point game. Floyd finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds, but his otherwise-terrific game was marred by a 4-for-14 ledger at the foul line.
Bucknell had to get yet another stop down by a point, this one courtesy of a Foulland rejection at the end of the shot clock, and then Foulland broke free for his go-ahead dunk. Floyd drew another foul but could only split the pair at the line to keep the game tied at 66.
Bucknell trailed 17-12 midway through the first half, but flipped the five-point deficit into a five-point lead with an 11-1 run keyed by four points from Thomas and a 3-pointer from Kimbal Mackenzie.
Later in the half, Holy Cross used a Butler 3-pointer to start a 7-0 run, and the Crusaders led it 33-32 at intermission. Bucknell has now overcome a halftime deficit in six of its 14 Patriot League wins.
Bucknell shot 38.9 percent on the day and hit 5 of 23 from the 3-point arc. The Bison were 21-for-29 from the foul line. Holy Cross finished at 40.7 percent after missing its final nine shots. The Crusaders were 3-for-13 from the arc and 20-for-34 from the foul line. Bucknell had a 43-38 edge on the glass.
More from Coach Davis on the Bison persevering in a choppy, foul-filled game. pic.twitter.com/ETJ4edFu3U— Bucknell MBasketball (@Bucknell_MBB) February 17, 2018
Thomas, the national leader in free throw attempts and makes, went 8-for-9 from the line in this one and broke the Bucknell single-season record for made free throws. With 207 made FTs, he smashed Patrick King’s mark of 205 that had stood since 1991-92. Thomas set the school mark for attempts last week.
Bucknell hosts Navy on Senior Day on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game will air on Stadium TV and online on the Patriot League Network at PatriotLeague.tv. Navy won at Boston University on Saturday to get to 10-6 in league play, and they will come to Lewisburg in at least a share of second place.
Coach Davis looking ahead to Wednesday’s Senior Day game, when we will pay tribute to Stephen Brown, Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas. pic.twitter.com/ztkO2Kqe81— Bucknell MBasketball (@Bucknell_MBB) February 17, 2018