Bucknell bests Lafayette for Patriot crown
Lewisburg, PA – Mike Muscala scored 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, and Bucknell won its fourth Patriot League Tournament title with a 64-56 triumph over Lafayette Wednesday night.
Joe Willman tallied 14 points and eight boards for the top-seeded Bison (28-5), which heads to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time to join the 1987, 1989, 2005, 2006 and 2011 teams.
Joey Ptasinski had 15 points for the Leopards (19-15), who fell to 0-15 all- time against the Bison at Sojka Pavilion. Their last win in Lewisburg came on Feb. 7, 2001 at Davis Gymnasium.
Coming into Wednesday, second-seeded Lafayette had won seven straight games for the first time since the start of the 2004 Patriot League regular season.
Lafayette, which was in the Patriot League Tournament final for the third time in the last four years and won the event over Lafayette two years ago, also received 13 points from Bryce Scott and 11 from Tony Johnson.
Ben Brackney's 3-pointer capped a 10-2 burst that gave Bucknell an 18-12 lead with under eight minutes left in the first half. The margin stood at 26-18 in the Bison's favor at the break.
A jumper from Dan Trist with 6 1/2 minutes remaining had the Leopards within 43-40, but Muscala responded with his second made jumper in less than a minute. It was part of a huge 12-0 run for the Bison.
The spurt ended on a pair of Ryan Frazier free throws with under three minutes left for a 55-40 cushion. The Leopards didn't get closer than six points the rest of the way.
Bucknell broke the school and league victory records and finished with a 15-1 mark on its home court ... Bucknell is 24-3 against the Leopards in Lewisburg going back to the Patriot League's first season. Lafayette is actually 0-16 all-time in Sojka Pavilion when including a neutral-site loss to American in the 2006 Patriot League tourney quarterfinals.