Feb. 4, 2012
Center Valley, Pa. - The top four teams in the regular-season standings host a game in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament on Feb. 29, and after Saturday a group of squads has a clear inside track to finishing in the top half of the League standings.
Bucknell, American, Lehigh and Lafayette all earned victories on Saturday, as the teams in the top half of the Patriot League standings swept through the squads in the bottom half. The Bison ran their undefeated Patriot League mark to 8-0, and are followed by the Eagles and Mountain Hawks at 6-2 and the Leopards at 5-3.
The Bison continued their Patriot League winning streak by pulling away late for an 81-68 victory over Army. Bryan Cohen led the way with 19 points for Bucknell, which won its 18th straight game against a Patriot League opponent and 10th in a row overall.
American had the toughest test of the four winners, as Charles Hinkle hit the game-winning three-pointer with under a minute to play as the Eagles won 59-58 at Colgate. Hinkle led all scorers with 23 points in the game.
Lehigh kept pace with the Eagles by avenging an earlier loss with a 75-51 win over Holy Cross. C.J. McCollum had 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five steals as the Mountain Hawks won their fourth straight game.
Lafayette put on a defensive clinic as it took the lead for good early in the first half and rolled to a 62-41 win over Navy. The Leopards joined the Bison and Eagles in sweeping the season series against their opponent on Saturday.
Patriot League teams return to action on Wednesday, with Bucknell at Colgate, Lafayette at Army and Holy Cross visiting Navy. The next night, Lehigh visits American in a matchup for second place in the Patriot League on CBS Sports Network at 7 p.m.
Links to recaps and box scores from Saturday's games are included below, along with a brief synopsis of each contest.
at Bucknell 81, Army 68
- Bucknell (18-6, 8-0 Patriot League) pulled away late to hold off Army (10-13, 3-5) 81-68 on Saturday at Sojka Pavilion to win its 10th consecutive game overall and 18th straight against a Patriot League opponent.
The Bison scored the final seven points of the first half for a 42-34 lead at the break, but Army would not go away. The Black Knights came back to tie the score four times in the second half, the last of which was at 50-50 with 11:19 to play in the game. Bucknell went ahead for good with a three-point play by Bryan Cohen on the next possession. The Bison were still ahead only 57-56 with 8:49 left, but pulled away from there with a 21-7 run to go on to the 81-68 win.
Bucknell won its 15th consecutive regular-season Patriot League game while extending its overall win streak against League foes to 18, the top active mark in Division I. Bucknell has won 24 of its last 25 games against Patriot League opponents. It also won for the 10th straight time overall, one of the longest winning streaks in the nation. The Bison won their 14th in a row at home against a Patriot League opponent, and 23rd of the last 24 at Sojka Pavilion overall.
Four players finished in double figures for the Bison, led by Cohen with 19 points on 8-of-10 from the field. Mike Muscala added 16 points, while Bryson Johnson scored 14 and Cameron Ayers finished with 12. The Bison made over 60 percent of their shots at 27-of-44 from the field, connecting on 17-of-24 in the first half. Bucknell also shot well from three-point range (6-of-11) and the foul line (21-of-28). Bucknell beat Army for the fourth consecutive meeting since falling to the Black Knights on Jan. 29, 2011, the only Patriot League loss for the Bison in the past two seasons.
Julian Simmons led Army with 15 points, while Josh Herbeck scored 14 and Ella Ellis added 13. The trio combined to shoot 6-of-10 from three-point range as Army went 8-of-14 from beyond the arc overall. The Black Knights were a solid 20-of-25 at the foul line and 20-of-45 from the field, but made just 2-of-9 shots in the final 10 minutes. The Black Knights fell to 1-4 on the road in Patriot League action.
American 59 at Colgate 58
Hamilton, N.Y. - Charles Hinkle hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 33 seconds to play and American (15-8, 6-2) held on in the final moments for a 59-58 win at Colgate (7-16, 1-7) on Saturday at Cotterell Court.
In a game that featured six ties and 22 lead changes, American built the biggest lead for either squad when it went up 47-40 with 8:20 left. Colgate answered with a 12-2 run to take a 52-49 lead with 3:34 left. The teams each hit key shots down the stretch, with a three-pointer by Hinkle giving American a 56-54 lead with 1:11 left before Colgate's Mike Venezia put the Raiders back in front with a trey of his own 10 seconds later. The Eagles went right back to Hinkle on the next possession, and the senior put American ahead for good with a three-pointer that made it 59-57 with 33 seconds left. Sterling Melville made a free throw with 15 seconds left to get Colgate within 59-58, but the Raiders could not get the win in the final seconds as a Mitch Rolls three-point attempt was off the mark.
Hinkle was the only American player in double figures with 23 points, making 9-of-19 shots from the field and 5-of-8 from three-point range. The Eagles were proficient from long range overall at 7-of-13 while shooting 25-of-57 from the field. The Eagles turned it over only five times in the game as they won for the second straight time on the road and the fifth in the past six games overall. American won its fifth consecutive game against Colgate and swept the Raiders in the season series for the second year in a row, while also moving to 6-2 in the Patriot League for the second straight season.
Venezia led the Raiders with 13 points, while Nick Pascale and Pat Moore each had nine. Colgate turned it over only five times, and has just 15 turnovers total in its past three Patriot League games. The Raiders were only 19-of-46 from the field and 4-of-14 from three-point range, but stayed in the game by making 16-of-19 free throws. Colgate dropped its third straight Patriot League game.
at Lehigh 75, Holy Cross 51
Bethlehem, Pa. - A big run in the first half and another late in the second allowed Lehigh (18-6, 6-2) to pull away for a 75-51 win over Holy Cross (9-13, 3-5) on Saturday at Stabler Arena.
Lehigh held a 23-20 lead late in the first half before heating up and closing the period on a 17-5 run for a 40-25 advantage the break. The lead stayed in double digits for the first part of the second half, and Lehigh put the game away with a 15-1 run that built the advantage to 70-43 as the Mountain Hawks went on to the 24-point win.
C.J. McCollum had another strong all-around effort for Lehigh, scoring 20 points on 9-of-18 shooting while also recording seven rebounds and leading the team with five assists and five steals. Holden Greiner added 15 points while Gabe Knutson scored 12, and John Adams totaled eight points and eight rebounds. Lehigh made 25-of-54 shots and 18-of-22 free throws, and held the Crusaders to 36 percent shooting and just 5-of-19 from three-point range. Lehigh also had 10 steals and forced 17 Holy Cross turnovers overall while committing only nine of its own. The Mountain Hawks split the season series with Holy Cross, beating the Crusaders in Bethlehem for the third straight year. Lehigh has won four in a row overall, all coming by double digits.
Mike Cavataio had 12 points to lead Holy Cross, while Devin Brown added 10. The Crusaders made 18-of-50 shots in the game and fell for the fifth time in the last six outings. Holy Cross has dropped all four of its Patriot League road games.
at Lafayette 62, Navy 41
Easton, Pa. - Lafayette (10-13, 5-3) had its best defensive performance in over eight years as it smothered Navy (3-19, 0-8) in a 62-41 win over the Mids on Saturday at Kirby Sports Center.
Lafayette went ahead to stay with a 10-2 first-half run for a 19-12 advantage, and took a 33-24 lead at the half. The Leopards scored nine straight points early in the second half to go up by double digits to stay at 45-28 with 12:54 to go. The lead ballooned as high as 22 points as the Leopards earned the 62-41 win.
The 41 points allowed were the fewest by the Leopards since Jan. 14, 2004 against Army. The defensive effort included 20 turnovers by the Mids and limiting Navy to 14-of-38 from the field and 3-of-11 from three-point range. Nick Petkovich paced Lafayette with 11 points, while Ryan Willen and Seth Hinrichs each scored 10. Lafayette was just under 50 percent at 24-of-49 from the field. The Leopards swept the Mids in the season series.
Navy's leading scorer was Isaiah Roberts, who finished with seven points for the Mids. Twelve different players scored for Navy. The Mids struggled after intermission with 4-of-16 shooting in the second half. They did hold a 30-25 advantage on the boards. Navy dropped its 15th consecutive game overall.