Bison continue triumphant streak

Erin Ditmar - The Bucknellian

Kyle Adams, Staff Writer

Men’s basketball recorded two exciting victories on Jan. 23 and 25, beating Boston University on the road before returning home to outlast Lafayette. The Orange and Blue improved to 8-1 in the conference and 11-9 overall.

Beginning with the Terriers, head coach Nathan Davis’ men knew they were in for a tough test playing without leading scorer Chris Hass ’16. Fortunately, the team was out to show off its depth on this night, proving that the Bison are more than a one-trick offense. The offense would take some time to warm-up in this one, as the Orange and Blue went 3-for-16 shooting to open the contest. A flurry of Terrier production found the Hass-less Bison down 26-9 12 minutes into the first half. John Azzinaro ’17 took it into his own hands to spark a rally, with back-to-back layups jump-starting an 11-0 run highlighted by a Nana Foulland ’18 three-point play. After this Bison outburst, the score became 26-20, and Boston resumed scoring with a slam and two other baskets. D.J. MacLeay ’17 closed the first half of action with a tip-in to make the score 32-27 at the break.

A three-point basket brought the Boston lead back to eight points with just over 12 minutes to go in the second half. Zach Thomas ’18 fired back with a trey that began a Bison run capped off by consecutive buckets from Stephen Brown ’18 to tie the game at 48. With five minutes to go in the contest, Ryan Frazier ’16 had a lay-up fall to give his team their first lead of the game at 57-56. Both teams had played a fairly chippy game, and several of the final minutes were played at the charity stripe. The final minutes of action saw several lead changes, and the concluding 1:06 had Brown hit two free-throw attempts and Frazier sink three of four to give the Bison a 74-71 lead which they would hold onto. A last-second three-point attempt from Boston opponent to tie the game missed, and the final buzzer sounded with a Bison victory over Boston for the fourth consecutive time.

Stepping up most especially for his team was Brown, who finished the game with a career-high 21 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists, and three steals, earning himself conference player of the week honors. Thomas was the second high-point man, racking up 13 points and seven rebounds playing off of the Bison bench. Other double-digit scorers were Frazier with 11 and Foulland with 10.

Two days after its thrilling victory in New England, the Orange and Blue returned to Sojka to take on Lafayette College. This game also saw an offensive pacer not named Hass, as MacLeay tallied 15 points to lead a versatile offensive attack. A good sign for Davis, Hass did return to action in this one, scoring 14 points. The reigning Patriot League Player of the Week, Brown, continued his multi-faceted production with 12 points, five rebounds and four assists. Thomas nearly recorded a double-double with 11 points and eight rebounds, and Frazier also put in an 11 point effort in front of the home crowd.

The Bison yet again proved themselves to be a second-half team in this one, as a 50-point effort in the final 20 minutes of play made up for a 29 point opening act where they shot 4-for-23 from inside the arc. A definite emphasis on physicality and focus at the free throw stripe ultimately helped the Bison to pull out a 79-67 win, as they out-rebounded their in-state rival 44-28 and went 27-34 at the line. When you add in a sluggish offensive performance from the Leopards to the equation, fans saw a game where the Orange and Blue, donning throwback uniforms, never surrendered the lead.

Regular season success over conference opponents is no surprise to Bison basketball, as a start of this caliber or better has happened nine times in their 26 years as a member of the Patriot League. After a quick stretch of three games, the Bison will get to rest until Jan. 30, when they welcome Army West Point to Sojka Pavilion.

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