Bucknell Men Complete 13-1 Patriot League Season with 78-64 Win over Army
Feb. 26, 2011
LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Mike Muscala recorded 11 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots to lead a balanced stat sheet in Bucknell's 78-64 victory over Army Saturday afternoon before a Sojka Pavilion crowd of 4,148, the eighth-largest in facility history. The Bison wrapped up the regular-season with a 22-8 overall record, 13-1 in the Patriot League, and they will face these same Black Knights (11-18, 3-11) in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
Bucknell won its seventh straight game, capping a perfect month of February, and avenged a 90-70 loss at Army on Jan. 29, its only setback since Christmas. The Bison have won 16 of their last 17 and 20 of 22 dating back to Dec. 1. They became the eighth team in league history, and the fourth Bucknell team, to win at least 13 league games in a season.
The afternoon started with Senior Day ceremonies honoring G.W. Boon and Darryl Shazier, both of whom made their 122nd straight appearance on Saturday. But the warm feeling from the pregame show quickly gave way to ice-cold shooting from both teams.
Bucknell started 1-for-9 from the field and the Black Knights began 1-for-16. Five minutes into the game the score was still 2-2, but the Bison finally reeled off 10 straight points and never trailed again.
Terrific play from Jeremy Hence (26 points) and Ella Ellis (22 points) kept Army in the game, and back-to-back 3-pointers by that duo late in the half pulled the Black Knights within 26-22. A Shazier free throw and a Bryson Johnson 3-pointer with three seconds left in the half gave Bucknell a 30-22 lead, and then the Bison took control with 16-1 run early in the second.
Johnson and Bryan Cohen knocked down threes in that surge, and Boon had back-to-back layups as the Bison started the second half 8-for-12 after shooting just 37.5 percent in the first half. Enoch Andoh's short jumper from the baseline gave Bucknell its largest lead of the day, 22 points at 48-26.
Ellis made five of his six 3-pointers and scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half to keep Army within an arm's length, but the closest the Cadets got was 11 in the final minute as Bucknell went 9-for-10 at the foul line to seal the game.
Bucknell shot 55.2 percent in the second half to finish at 47.2 percent for the game. The Bison had an off night from 3-point range, finishing 5-for-21, but they went 20-for-32 inside the arc. Army shot 36.7 percent for the game, with Ellis and Hence combining for 48 of its 64 points.
The Bison had terrific scoring distribution, with seven players scoring between seven and 12 points and their bench outscoring Army's 35-6. Cohen was the top scorer with 12, followed by Muscala, Johnson and Cameron Ayers with 11 each. Boon and Andoh both had eight off the bench, while Shazier had seven points and seven assists with no turnovers in 32 minutes.
The Bison had only nine turnovers in the game and made 23 of 28 free throws, including 15 of 16 foul shooting from the reserve unit.
Muscala recorded his seventh career double-double and fifth of this season. With six blocked shots he moved past Mike Bright into third place on Bucknell's career list with 121.
Shazier moved into sixth place on the Patriot League's all-time assists chart with 482, passing Fordham's Jay Fazande.
Johnson went 3-for-8 from 3-point range, and he moved into a tie for seventh with Gordon Mboya on Bucknell's career list with 154.
Bucknell had already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament, and it will face Army in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. The Bison are 5-1 against Army in postseason play, including a first-round win in 2006 and a semifinal victory in 2007.
The Bucknell-Army winner will face the winner of No. 4 Lehigh against No. 5 Navy. Other quarterfinal matchups have No. 2 American hosting No. 7 Colgate, and No. 3 Holy Cross hosting No. 6 Lafayette.