Feb. 28, 2007
LEWISBURG, Pa.--Donald Brown scored 15 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked two shots to lead two-time defending Patriot League Champion Bucknell (21-8) to an easy 62-43 victory over Navy (14-16) in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament on Wednesday night. Bucknell advances to the Patriot League semifinals on Sunday where they will play host to Army, a 47-46 upset winner over Lehigh. The loss sent Navy out in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament for the sixth-consecutive year.
"Bucknell is a great team and they played very well tonight," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "I felt like we were right where we wanted to be in the first half then we hit that long scoreless drought and to Bucknell's credit they took advantage of it."
Navy trailed by just one point at 15-14 with 6:38 left in the first half, but then went scoreless over the next 5:18 as Bucknell went on a 16-0 run to put the game away.
"We weren't getting good looks at the basket during that time span and we started to stand around," said Navy guard Kaleo Kina. "We got flustered on the offensive end and that seemed to effect us on the defensive end."
Bucknell increased its lead in the second half to as many as 27 points at 50-23 on two free throws by Darren Mastropaolo with 12:40 left in the contest.
At that point Navy could have folded and let Bucknell walk all over them, but to the Mids credit they never quit.
Bryce Brigham and Adam Teague sparked an 18-6 Navy run over the next seven minutes to cut Bucknell's lead to 15 at 56-41 with 4:55 left in the contest. Brigham scored nine points on three three-point field goals during the run, while Teague knocked down two field goals.
Navy had a chance to pull even closer on two different occasions, but T.J. Topecer let a pass go right through his hands with the Mids down 15 with 4:40 left and then turned it over again with Navy down 58-43 with 2:24 remaining.
Kaleo Kina led the Mids with 12 points, while Brigham and Sprink scored nine points apiece. Sprink and Kina combined for 13 turnovers and just two assists.
"We are a program on the rise," said Lange. "I have never felt better about our team than I do right now. We never quit, we just got beat by a better team tonight. The most important question for us is where do we go from here? Just because most of the players in this league are seniors and we have everybody coming back is no guarantee for success. We need to keep working hard and getting better."