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Bucknell tops Lafayette for Patriot League title

Lewisburg, PA (Sports Network) - Mike Muscala scored 18 points, Bryson Johnson had 15 and Bucknell punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a 72-57 win over Lafayette in the Patriot League title game.

Cameron Ayers added 12 points for the Bison (25-8), who were seeded first in the tournament after dominating the conference with a 13-1 record during the regular season.

Jared Mintz had 16 points to lead Lafayette (13-19) while Tony Johnson scored 12 and Jim Mower added 11.

Bucknell out-shot Lafayette 50-39 percent in the first half, but carried just a 39-34 lead into the locker room at intermission.

Still, the Bison never allowed their opponents to hold a lead.

Bryan Cohen opened the game with a three-pointer just 13 seconds in, sparking an 8-2 Bucknell run to begin the contest. The advantage reached as high as 10 points when Ayers' three made it 31-21.

Lafayette trimmed its deficit to five at the break and as low as three when Johnson opened the second half with a tip-in. But the Bison responded with an 8-0 run to push their advantage to 10 and it remained in double digits most of the way after that.

Bucknell advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006, when it knocked off No. 8 seed Arkansas in a first-round game before losing to top seed Memphis.

The previous year, Bucknell ousted third-seeded Kansas as a No. 14 seed and then lost to Wisconsin in the second round.

Game Notes

Bucknell shot 42 percent for the game, while Lafayette shot 35 percent...Bucknell became the sixth consecutive top seed to win the Patriot League Tournament and the 17th in 21 seasons.

03/11 20:31:36 ET