The men’s basketball team wrapped up regular-season play at home on Feb. 25, trampling Navy by a final score of 82-60. Before the game, Ben Oberfeld ’17, D.J. MacLeay ’17, and John Azzinaro ’17 were all honored at the Senior Day Ceremony. Afterwards, MacLeay reflected on his time in a Bison uniform.
“As a player, it’s such a special feeling to be a part of such a great school, community, and team. I am so thankful to have spent my four years here at Bucknell,” MacLeay said.
The game started with Oberfeld, who has been out all season with a concussion injury, taking the tip-off uncontested. Once play resumed, Navy got the first points on the board, but the Bison came out and held Navy to four points in 10 minutes as part of their 30-1 opening run. Azzinaro started the run off with a 3-pointer, and the Orange and Blue entered halftime with a 45-21 lead. Kimbal Mackenzie ’19 and Zach Thomas ’18 both contributed major points to that run, supported by Stephen Brown ’18 and Bruce Moore ’20.
The second half of the game was characterized by rough play and fouls, slowing the game pace significantly. There were 49 fouls and 60 free throws between both teams throughout the game. Navy tried to close the lead the Bison had built but were never able to close the gap to less than 16 points. Thomas, Mackenzie, Moore, and Nate Sestina ’19 all scored in the double digits, helping the Bison to victory.
The Bison finished regular-season play with a record of 23-8 overall and 15-3 in the Patriot League. The only other team to win 15 league games in one season was Boston University in 2013–14. It is also only the third time a team has won the Patriot League by at least three games.
“It felt great to win our final regular season home game against Navy. We are excited about winning the Patriot League regular season championship for the third year in a row but are not satisfied. Our goal is to win the Patriot League Tournament and to advance to the NCAA tournament,” Thomas said.
Having solidified the number one seed in the Patriot League tournament, the team is looking forward to making a postseason championship run.
“To be regular season champions again is a testament to our team’s hard work all year long. That being said, the tournament championship is what we are really hungry for, we have more work to do,” Mackenzie said.
“Right now we feel really good about where we stand going into the Patriot League tournament. We think we have a great chance to make a run into the NCAA tournament,” MacLeay said.
The winner of the Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinal on March 2 advances to the Patriot League Tournament Semifinal on March 5.