Men’s Hoops Falls at Bucknell in Regular Season Finale
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell (23-8, 15-3 PL) used a nine-minute 25-0 run in the first half to down visiting Navy (15-15, 10-8 PL), 82-60, on Saturday at Sojka Pavilion on the final day of the Patriot League Regular Season. Bucknell punctuated its regular season championship with a win on Senior Day, while Navy remains in fourth place heading into the Patriot League Tournament and will host No. 5 Holy Cross on Thursday.
Navy will host a home Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinal game for the first time since 2009 when it was a No. 3 seed. Navy finished in a four-way tie for fourth place last season, but program has sole possession of fourth place this year.
On Saturday at Bucknell, junior guard Bryce Dulin had an early three-point play to help Navy take a 5-4 lead. The Bison then went on a 25-0 run to take a 30-4 lead with eight minutes remaining in the first half. Navy was 0-of-9 from the field and committed five turnovers during the run. Meanwhile, Bucknell was 10-of-15 during the stretch and made eight straight baskets.
Navy sophomore Ryan Pearson halted the run with a long jumper, but the Bison scored five of the next seven points to take its largest lead of the game at 29 points (37-8). Navy sophomore guard Hasan Abdullah was able to keep Navy’s offensive going by scoring 10 straight Navy points and Bucknell led at halftime, 45-21.
Dulin and senior Edward Alade scored the first four points of the second half as Navy cut its deficit to 20 points. The Mids would later make a push from the free throw line and cut the margin down to 16 points with seven minutes to play. However, Nate Sestina made a big 3-pointer and Bruce Moore scored seven straight points to extend Bucknell’s lead back to 20.
Navy ended up outscoring Bucknell in the second half, 39-37, but dug itself too big of a hole in the first half to get back within single digits.
“We didn’t start the game very well at all, which was disappointing,” said Navy head coach Ed DeChellis. “Against a team like Bucknell, you have to make baskets because they can really score the ball and we couldn’t even make a layup in the first half. The second half was a little bit better. We made some shots and we defended a little bit. But we didn’t get back close enough to challenge them.”
Navy shot a season-low 29.5 percent from the field (18-of-61) and was 21.1 percent on 3-pointers (4-of-19). The Bison shot 48 percent in the contest (28-of-59). Bucknell also outrebounded Navy, 45-36.
“It’s hard to win a game on the road when you only shoot 29 percent,” said DeChellis. “We have to make more shots. Offensively we need to be a lot better and defensively we need to be a lot better, too.”
Kimbal Mackenzie led Bucknell with 18 points and also tallied seven assists. Moore scored 14 points with seven rebounds and Zach Thomas finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Sestina was the fourth Bucknell player in double figures with his 11 points.
Abdullah led Navy with 18 points and he also had a game-high four steals. Junior guard Shawn Anderson scored 12 points and sophomore forward George Kiernan scored nine points with five rebounds. Junior forward Tom Lacey recorded a game-high eight rebounds.
Navy lost its fourth straight game on Saturday and has now lost nine straight at Sojka Pavilion.
Navy and Holy Cross split the regular season series in 2016-17. Holy Cross won 51-50 on a last-second layup in Worcester, Mass. on Jan. 2 and Navy won the meeting in Annapolis, 60-47, on Jan. 28. Navy and Holy Cross are meeting in the Patriot League Tournament for the first time since 2006.