Bucknell Men Outlast Holy Cross 65-58 to Improve to 17-4
Jan. 26, 2013
WORCESTER, Mass. - Bryson Johnson and Joe Willman tallied 16 points, Mike Muscala recorded his 14th double-double of the season, and Bucknell hit free throws down the stretch to beat Holy Cross 65-58 in a physical game Saturday afternoon at the Hart Center. Cameron Ayers added 15 points for the Bison, who improved to 17-4 overall and 4-1 in the Patriot League.
Johnson hit 8 of 9 free throws to help salt away a close game, and he went 2-for-2 from the 3-point arc to tie Kevin Bettencourt's program record for career treys with 294.
In a game that was slowed by 43 foul calls, Muscala and WIllman both had to work around some foul trouble throughout the day. Willman still managed 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting to go with six rebounds. Muscala tallied 13 points, 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks for his 14th double-double of the year. He was one off the national lead entering the game. Muscala also tied Bob Barry for second place on Bucknell's all-time scoring list with 1,809 points.
Bucknell also received a big lift from point guard Steven Kaspar, who logged six assists off the bench. The Bison had 13 assists on 20 field goals and only seven turnovers in the game.
Dave Dudzinski had a huge day for the Crusaders with 26 points. Justin Burrell added 11, but the Bison held Holy Cross to 34.0 percent shooting. Holy Cross, which was 5-1 at home coming in, fell to 10-10 overall and 2-3 in the Patriot League.
Bucknell led 32-28 at the half and Holy Cross quickly cut it to one on a Jordan Stevens 3-pointer on the first possession of the second half. But the Bison responded with a 9-1 run, highlighted by Johnson's record-tying 3-pointer and his sweet alley-oop pass to Muscala for a jam.
That put the Bison up 41-32, but moments later Willman picked up his third foul and Bucknell left some points on the board with three straight missed free throws, including a front end of a 1-and-1. Holy Cross pulled within five on a pair of Dee Goens free throws, but Ayers scored on a nice backdoor feed from Kaspar, and Willman hit an elbow jumper to stretch it back to nine at 47-38 with 9:38 left.
Dudzinski scored four straight points to pull Holy Cross within five, and after a pair of Bryson Johnson free throws, Dudzinski completed a 3-point play to make it a 53-49 game with 4:41 left. The Crusaders had three chances to get closer, but the Bison came up with three straight stops before Willman knocked down two free throws.
After a Phil Beans fader in the lane, Ayers hit a clutch pull-up jumper from the left elbow. Muscala hit a free throw and Johnson canned two to stretch the lead back to 60-51 with 1:29 left. Beans cut it to six with a trey, but Johnson went 4-for-4 from the line in the last 40 seconds and Muscala swatted a shot at the buzzer to punctuate the win.
Holy Cross jumped out to a quick 8-4 lead, with Dudzinski scoring all eight Crusader points. But his layup at the 17:15 mark would be Holy Cross's final points for the next 7:11, as the Bison rattled off 10 in a row.
Muscala scored four straight on a breakaway dunk and a baseline 10-footer to tie it. Willman connected on back-to-back jumpers, and Ryan Hill capped the run with a pair of free throws to put Bucknell ahead 14-8.
Bucknell's largest lead of the first half was eight points at 26-18 after a Willman baseline jumper with 5:19 left. Holy Cross outscored the Bison 10-6 over the last 4:08 to pull within 32-28 at intermission.
After allowing 10 3-pointers in a three-point loss to Lehigh on Wednesday, the Bison defended the arc well in this one. They held Holy Cross to 5-for-16 shooting from long range, including 2-for-9 in the second half. Bucknell only tried five 3-pointers among its 43 shots, making two.
Bucknell's 17-4 record is tied for second-best in program history after 21 games. The 1983-84 and 2005-06 teams both started 18-3. The Bison are now 8-3 on the road this season.
Bucknell is back on the road on Wednesday taking on American at Bender Arena at 7:30 p.m.