Lafayette Hits Late Shot to Knock Off Bison Men 63-62
Feb. 16, 2013
EASTON, Pa. - Tony Johnson hit a pull-up in the lane with 4.5 seconds left to send Lafayette to a 63-62 victory over Bucknell before a near-sellout crowd on Saturday afternoon at Kirby Sports Center. Mike Muscala tallied 29 points and 15 rebounds, and Cameron Ayers added 20 for the Bison, who saw their five-game winning streak end but remained in a tie for first place in the Patriot League with Lehigh falling at Colgate.
Bucknell had won eight straight games against Lafayette (13-14, 6-4 PL), but the Leopards ended that streak with a strong second-half performance. The Bison (21-5, 8-2 PL) led 32-25 at intermission and by as many as 11 early in the second half before the Leopards rallied. Bucknell held one of the top-shooting teams in the league to 25.0-percent accuracy in the first half, but Lafayette shot 50.0 percent in the second and scored the game's final four points.
Seth Hinrichs led Lafayette with 20 points, while Johnson added 17 and Joey Ptasinski 14.
A 3-pointer by Ptasinski and a pair of free throws by Hinrichs gave Lafayette a 59-57 lead with 3:22 left, but Ayers, who was terrific in a 17-point second half, put the Bison back ahead with a 3-pointer and another jumper to stretch the lead to 62-59 with 1:53 left.
After a Lafayette miss, Bucknell had a possession to make it a two-point game, but Bryson Johnson came up short on a 3-pointer. At the other end, Tony Johnson drove the lane for a layup to cut the lead to 62-61 with 49 seconds left. Bucknell drained most of the shot clock but got a bit out of synch and had to settle for a hurried 3-pointer by Ben Brackney that was off the mark.
Lafayette again went to Johnson, who penetrated down the left side of the lane, then hit the brakes before swishing an 8-foot jumper with 4.5 seconds left on the clock. After a pair of timeouts, Ayers rushed up the floor but his contested 3-pointer fell short as time expired.
Bucknell scored the first four points of the second half on buckets by Muscala and Ayers to go up 36-25. A tough 18-footer by Ptasinski and threes by Hinrichs and Levi Geise got the Leopards back in it. Lafayette scored 25 points in the first 11:05 of the second half after scoring only 25 in the entire first half.
Bryce Scott answered an Ayers 3-pointer with a trey of his own, and after a floating bank shot by Ayers, Tony Johnson and Geise scored in succession to give the Leopards their first lead since it was 9-7.
Bryson Johnson found Muscala for a dunk, and then Muscala tipped in Johnson's miss to put the Bison back ahead 57-54 with 5:51 left. Ptasinski's 3-pointer tied it again with 4:15 left, setting up the frantic finish.
Bucknell finished with a 40-30 advantage on the boards but was outscored 21-10 at the free-throw line. The Bison shot 39.7 percent for the game and went 6-for-17 from the 3-point arc. Lafayette finished at 37.5 percent overall and was also 6-for-17 from deep.
Lafayette started the game 4-for-7 from the floor for a 9-7 lead, but then the Bison held them without a field goal for the next 14:10. Even though the Leopards made 11 of 12 from the line in that stretch, Bucknell was able to grab the lead despite a field-goal drought of its own.
The Bison led 16-15 at the 7-minute mark when Bryson Johnson swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key. That ignited a 10-0 run over the next two minutes. Muscala followed with a bucket in the lane and then Steven Kaspar made a nice bounce pass to Joe Willman for a layup in transition. Muscala's free throws capped the run and gave the Bison a 26-15 lead.
Muscala scored Bucknell's final eight points of the half, and he had his double-double by halftime with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Muscala would eventually equal his season high with 29 points. The double-double was his national-best 19th of the season in 26 games, his sixth in a row and his 10th in the last 11 games.
Ayers finished 8-for-12 from the field and 4-for-6 from 3-point range. It was his fourth career 20-point game and first this season. Ayers and Muscala combined for 20 of Bucknell's 23 field goals and 49 of its 62 points.
Muscala went over the 1,900-point mark for his career (1,904) and is now within 69 points of the Bucknell career scoring record.
Bucknell comes right back to the Lehigh Valley on Monday to take on Lehigh at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Both Patriot League co-leaders will be coming off losses. The Mountain Hawks fell 64-60 at Colgate on Saturday.