Navy Falls at First-Place Bucknell
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell’s senior trio of Stephen Brown, Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas combined for 60 points on Senior Night on Wednesday as the Bison (21-9, 15-2 PL) dealt visiting Navy (19-11, 10-7 PL) an 85-61 defeat at Sojka Pavilion.
Bucknell has already clinched the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Patriot League Tournament, while Navy can be seeded anywhere from No. 3 to No. 5. A Navy win over Loyola in its regular-season finale on Saturday would clinch the No. 3 seed and a home quarterfinal game on March 1. Navy is currently tied with Lehigh for third place, but the Mids hold the tiebreaker due to a season sweep of the Mountain Hawks.
Navy’s loss to Bucknell on Wednesday snapped a four-game overall winning streak and a six-game road winning streak. The Mids lost their 10th-straight game to Bucknell and their 11th-straight game at Sojka Pavilion.
Brown scored 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting and made four 3-pointers. Thomas scored 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting with three triples. Foulland was the team’s third-leading scorer on Wednesday with 12 points.
Bucknell improved to 14-1 over its last 15 games.
“We ran into a hot team tonight,” said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. “Their three seniors played very, very well on Senior Night. Zach Thomas was excellent, Nana Foulland was excellent and Stephen Brown was the difference in the game again. We had the thing close and Brown just broke it open.”
Brown scored a game-high 27 points in Bucknell’s 87-67 defeat of Navy in Annapolis earlier this season on Jan. 24.
Navy junior guard Hasan Abdullah scored 14 of Navy’s first 16 points and his fourth 3-pointer of the opening half put the visitors ahead 16-13 at the 14:02 mark. Bucknell then went on a 10-0 run punctuated by back-to-back 3-pointers by Thomas and Brown to go ahead 23-16.
A 3-pointer by junior guard Ryan Pearson and a short hook by freshman forward Tyler Riemersma brought Navy within two at 23-21, but Bucknell then went on a 12-2 run, which featured seven points from Brown, to take a 35-23 lead over the Mids.
Bucknell led by 16 points at halftime (48-32) after shooting a sizzling 64 percent from the floor (18-of-28) and the team was 7-of-11 on 3-pointers (64 percent). Brown scored 20 points in the first half on 7-of-8 shooting.
Thomas, Foulland and Brown combined to score Bucknell’s first seven points of the second half before a mini run by Navy that featured a jumper by freshman guard Cam Davis and a three-point play by Abdullah cut the deficit to 18 points at 57-39 with 14:31 left. However, Bucknell’s Jimmy Sotos made a 3-pointer on the next possession and the Bison kept the margin over 20 points for the remainder of the game.
Navy turned the ball over 17 times in the contest, which Bucknell converted to 22 points.
“Our keys to the game tonight were to play great defense and to not turn the ball over so that they could get easy baskets off our turnovers,” said DeChellis. “For us to beat a team like Bucknell on the road we need to play very good defense, and we didn’t do that tonight. We also had too many unforced turnovers.”
Bucknell shot 56 percent from the floor in the game (30-of-54) and made 10 3-pointers. Navy shot 41 percent from the field (23-of-56) and 37 percent on 3-pointers (7-of-19).
Abdullah led Navy with a season-high 19 points. He was 6-of-13 from the floor and 4-of-8 on 3-pointers.
Pearson scored a season-high 14 points, making 5-of-6 from the floor and hitting 2-of-3 3-pointers.
Navy will honor its four-member senior class in a pregame Senior Day ceremony on Saturday prior to the 2:00 PM tipoff against Loyola. The game will also be televised by CBS Sports Network.