Bison Drop Two in A Row to Formidable Opponents

Thomas Walter, Contributing Writer

The men’s basketball team lost to formidable newcomer Boston University 64-61 in a nationally televised home game on Jan. 25 before losing to rival Lehigh 66-63 on Jan. 29.

Graduate student Brian Fitzpatrick, Cameron Ayers ’14, and Chris Hass ’16 paced the Bison in the two games. Fitzpatrick shot 10-15 (66.6%) from the field, while Ayers has collected 46 points and Hass has drained seven three pointers over the course of these two games.

“It’s always fun playing in a nationally televised game because of the atmosphere and environment we get to play in,” Ayers said. “It’s a privilege to do so and [I’m] glad we got the opportunity.”

The CBS Sports Network’s broadcast brought the energy out of the Sojka Pyschos. But on the court, the Terrier’s tenacious defense stifled the Bison offense in the first half. The Orange and Blue shot a poor 6-24 from the field in addition to eight turnovers. Behind the strong play of the Boston backcourt, the Terriers took a 32-16 lead into half.

The seats of Sojka started to empty right around the same the time the Bison found their pride and remembered they were playing on their home court.

Hass, who missed the previous game with a knee injury, caught fire. He scored 11 points in just over six minutes. Fitzpatrick, Ayers, and Ryan Hill ’14 also converted scoring chances as the Bison went on a 18-4 run to shrink the lead to six points with 1:28 seconds left.

The Bison cut the lead to four points with 30 seconds left when Boston was called for a flagrant foul. The Bison would get two free throws–both of which Ayers sank–and the ball back. Hass got another look at three and drained it.

An intentional foul by the Bison resulted in two made free throws by the Terriers, meaning the Bison would have one final attempt from three to tie the game. Hass caught the ball and elevated, but this time he was stripped by a Boston defender and the furious comeback fell three points short.

The good play from the second half of the Boston game carried over into the first half at Stabler Arena where the Bison took an early 15-5 lead against Lehigh. Fitzpatrick had eight of those 15 points, while Ayers and Hass both had early three-point field goals.

After a 14-4 Lehigh run that tied the game up at 21, the Bison outscored the Mountain Hawks 14-7 and finished the half on a coast-to-coast layup by Hill.

Behind strong play from their guards, Lehigh outscored the Bison 18-3 to start the second half, taking a 46-38 lead. The Orange and the Blue answered Lehigh’s run with clutch points from Ayers and Hass. The Bison trailed 54-53 with seven minutes left in the half.

However, the Bison had no answer for the Mountain Hawk offense in the final minutes as Lehigh finished strong to cap a 66-63 win. Ayers knocked down a three to get the Bison within two points, but Lehigh was able to convert from their attempts from the foul line to seal the win.

The Bison have come close in the last two games, but Ayers acknowledges the team needs to learn how to close during conference games.

“We all need to grind out the one possession games because we aren’t losing by that many points. Also we all need to get tougher and finish games out,” Ayers said. “We just have to stay the course and keep embracing the process. We still have a lot of basketball left and we need to turn it up right now.”

The Bison will look to get off their two-game losing streak, in which they have lost by a total of six points, tomorrow as they travel to Hamilton, N.Y. to face Colgate. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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