NCAA News Wire
Bucknell 65, Lehigh 61
Bucknell exacted revenge on Patriot League rival Lehigh and kept alive its chances for a top-four seed in the upcoming conference tournament with a 65-61 victory on Wednesday night at Sojka Pavilion in Lewisburg, Pa.
The Bison, who dropped a 66-63 contest at the Mountain Hawks on Jan. 29, led 29-28 at halftime, and they didn’t pull away until there was less than a minute to play.
Bucknell got a team-high 17 points, plus five rebounds and four assists, from guard Cameron Ayers. Guard Chris Hass added 12 points and five boards.
The Bison (15-13, 10-7 Patriot League) won their fifth straight game. They would secure the No. 4 tournament seed with a victory at second-place American in the regular-season finale Saturday.
The top six teams at the end of the regular season advance directly to the Patriot League tournament quarterfinals March 5, while the remaining four teams must play in the opening round Monday.
Before Wednesday’s loss, Lehigh enjoyed recent success against Bucknell, winning four of its last five games vs. the Bison, including three in a row at Sojka Pavilion.
The Mountain Hawks (14-16, 7-10) got a game-high 18 points plus eight rebounds from forward Jesse Chuku. Guard Austin Price scored 11 points and made three steals, and center Tim Kempton added 10 points and eight boards. The defeat means Lehigh can be seeded no higher than sixth in the league tourney.
The Mountain Hawks were crushed on the glass Wednesday, getting outrebounded 49-34.
Lehigh did witness a milestone from guard Mackey McKnight. The senior needed five assists coming into the game to break the all-time school record, and McKnight finished with six assists and nine points.
However, McKnight’s turnover with under 15 seconds to play — with Lehigh trailing 64-61, looking to force overtime — all but sealed the game for Bucknell.
Each of the past nine Lehigh-Bucknell games were decided by seven points or fewer.
Lehigh closes the regular season Saturday at home against Colgate.
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