Bryson Johnson Now Bucknell's Career 3-Point Leader as Bison Down Navy 69-54
Feb. 2, 2013
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bryson Johnson needed only one 3-pointer to become Bucknell's all-time leader in made threes. He got the record-breaker out of the way on the second possession of the night and then added five more en route to a season-high 20 points, and Mike Muscalapiled up 11 points and a career-high-tying 19 rebounds in only 25 minutes of action in Bucknell's 69-54 victory over Navy on Saturday night at Sojka Pavilion. With the victory, the Bison improved to 19-4 overall and closed out the first half of Patriot League play with a 6-1 mark.
Johnson opened the game's scoring with a bomb from the right wing, giving him 295 career 3-pointers and pushing him past 2006 graduate Kevin Bettencourton Bucknell's all-time list. The shot came 57 seconds into the contest, and the Bison led the rest of the way. Johnson's fourth trey of the night made it 19-8, and Bucknell would lead by double digits for the final 27:59.
While Johnson was pumping in 3-pointers, Muscala was hard at work on the glass. Just 8:57 into the game he grabbed his 10th rebound, and his 11th board came at the offensive end 9:06 in, which led to a pair of free throws. He needed only 12:45 to record his national-best 16th double-double of the season, which ties his own Bucknell record, also shared by Boakai Lalugba.
Muscala also had 19 rebounds earlier this season in a win at Columbia, and this performance set a new Sojka Pavilion record. Cornell's Jeff Foote had the previous Sojka high of 18 in 2009-10. Muscala left the game for good with 7:43 to play and the Bison up 53-31.
Led by Muscala, who bumped his season average up to 11.5 rebounds per game, the Bison finished with a commanding 47-20 edge on the glass. Muscala now has 979 career rebounds, as he moves closer to joining Hal Danzig as the only Bucknell players ever to amass 1,000 caroms.
Bucknell led by as many as 16 in the first half after Johnson's fifth 3-pointer of the night made it 34-18. Navy scored the last four of the half, capped by Tilman Dunbar's short jumper at the buzzer, to pull within 34-22.
Worth Smith opened the second-half scoring to make it a 10-point game, but then the Bison stretched it out with a 12-0 run. Cameron Ayers started the surge with a floater in the lane that he turned into a 3-point play. Then Johnson hit one from about 28 feet away, Ryan Hill made two free throws and Joe Willmannailed back-to-back 17-foot jumpers to make it 46-24.
Ben Brackney provided some good minutes off the bench, hitting a pair of shots and kicking a pass out to Ayers for a 3-pointer that made it 53-31 with 7:56 left. Johnson made a sweet feed to Brian Fitzpatrick for a dunk, and freshman Chris Hassmade a pair from the line to give Bucknell its largest lead of 24 points at 59-35 with 6:18 to play.
The reserve unit handled the final seven minutes, with Hass (six points) and Cory Starkey(four points, four rebounds) leading the way down the stretch. The game did get a bit ragged at times with a rash of fouls and turnovers, but the Bison made enough free throws to cancel out three Navy 3-pointers in the final few minutes. The Mids did close within 13 on a couple of occasions in the final three minutes.
Bucknell shot 46.9 percent from the field and went 7-for-19 from 3-point range. After shooting 11-for-24 from the foul line in Wednesday's win at American, the Bison were 16-for-19 against Navy. Eleven of the team's 47 boards came at the offensive end, leading to 17 second-chance points. They had 16 assists on 23 field goals, while the only negative stat on the sheet was a season-high 21 turnovers. The Bison came in ranked third nationally in fewest turnovers per game at 9.5.
Alter led Navy (7-16, 1-6) with 15 points off the bench, while Smith and Brandon Venturini tallied 11 apiece. Navy shot just 31.7 percent for the game and grabbed offensive rebounds on only six of its 41 missed field goals. Bucknell has now held 17 of its last 21 opponents under 40-percent shooting.
Bucknell's 19-4 record is the third-best in program history after 23 games. The 2005-06 and 1983-84 teams both started 20-3. The Bison are now 8-1 at home this season and have beaten Navy six straight times.
Johnson finished the game 6-for-10 from 3-point range and 7-for-11 overall. He now has an even 300 career 3-pointers, making him only the third player in Patriot League history to reach that milestone. Former American guard Garrison Carr holds the league record of 302 triples, while Army's Mark Lueking finished his career with 300.
No Bison played more than 29 minutes against Navy, and now the team gets a full week off to prepare for round two of the Patriot League schedule. Next up is a road trip to West Point to face Army on Feb. 9 at 4 p.m.