Nov. 29, 2010
Box Score |
LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Latif Rivers scored 20 points and Tyler Murray had 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists to lead hot-shooting Wagner past Bucknell 77-73 Monday night at Sojka Pavilion. Mike Muscala scored 22 points for the Bison, but they just could not get enough defensive stops as the Seahawks shot 55.3 percent from the field, the second-best shooting night by a Bucknell opponent in Sojka Pavilion.
Bryson Johnson added 13 points, G.W. Boon had 10 points, and Darryl Shazier tied his career high with nine assists for Bucknell (2-6). The Bison shot only 28 percent from the field in the first half but stayed within 36-32 at the break thanks to 15-for-17 shooting from the free-throw line. They upped their accuracy to 57.7 percent from the field in the second half, but Wagner went 11-for-20 from the field, 4-for-5 from the 3-point arc and 15-for-16 from the foul line in the final 20 minutes.
Chris Martin and Orlando Parker added 12 points apiece for the Seahawks, who improved to 3-2 on the season and avenged a 24-point home loss to the Bison last season. This is a new-look Wagner team, however, with three freshman in the starting lineup and a brand new coaching staff, led by former Seton Hall guard Danny Hurley and his top assistant, brother Bobby Hurley, the former Duke All-American.
The game started out at a frenetic pace, with the first whistle of the night coming 4:18 in. By that point Johnson had already canned a pair of treys, Muscala had a couple of dunks and the Bison had an early 12-8 lead.
Bucknell went ice cold from the floor later in the half and endured a 9:30 stretch without a field goal, but it supplemented the dry spell with nine free throws in 10 attempts. Rivers really got hot late in the half, scoring Wagner's final 10 points. His shot in traffic just inside the arc put the Seahawks up four at the break.
Parker, who had scored only four points all season coming into the game, gave Wagner a big lift early in the second half, scoring six of his team's points in a row to stretch it to a seven-point lead at 44-37.
A key sequence occurred at the 12:36 mark when Joe Willman went to the line for a two-shot foul. The Bison, who were 18-for-21 at the stripe at that point, had a chance to pull within four, but Willman missed both, and then Bucknell lost Danny Mundweiler at the other end and the Wagner guard buried his second straight 3-pointer, this one from the left corner. After a Bison miss, Martin hit a pull-up three to give Wagner a 12-point lead at 55-43 with 11:57 left.
Bucknell quickly pulled within five with a 7-0 run, highlighted by a Muscala dunk and free throw and Ryan Hill's 3-pointer - his first career field goal. But then the Bison managed just one point on its next three possessions while Wagner scored on three straight, the last on another Martin 3-pointer that pushed the lead back to 11 at 62-51.
Wagner led by as many as 13 on a couple of occasions before Bucknell finally started to get a few stops. Johnson's free throws capped an 8-0 run that brought the deficit down to 68-63 with 2:43 left, but a hand-check foul sent Martin to the line, where he made both to end Wagner's two-and-a-half-minute dry spell.
Bucknell had the ball down five inside two minutes remaining, but Shazier's open 3-point attempt from the top of the key hit the back iron. Rivers countered with two free throws, and then Willman's three attempt came up short, and the Seahawks made enough free throws to counter last-ditch 3-pointers by Cameron Ayers and Boon.
This was Bucknell's 100th game in Sojka Pavilion since the facility opened in January 2003. Wagner celebrated the milestone by producing one of the best offensive nights by a Bison opponent in the building. The Seahawks' 55.3-percent shooting was second only to Cornell's 56.5-percent mark last season. Their 58.3-percent 3-point shooting was also the second-best figure by a Bucknell opponent at Sojka, trailing Holy Cross' 66.7 percent set in last year's Patriot League Tournament.
Seniors Boon and Shazier both played in their 100th consecutive games on Monday. Shazier continued his recent assist tear with his third career nine-assist game. He entered play as the Patriot League leader in assists at 4.9 per game, and in his last six games he has 36 assists and just five turnovers.
Bucknell finished with 16 assists and 11 turnovers, while Wagner had 18 and 13. The Seahawks managed only five offensive rebounds but still had a 28-26 final rebounding edge.
Muscala went 8-for-15 from the field and 6-for-7 from the line en route to his third 20-point game of the season. He had four dunks in the game and is now averaging a team-best 14.6 points per game this season.
The Bison continue their three-game homestand Wednesday against Columbia at 7 p.m.