banner

College Basketball

more stats

Lehigh tops Bucknell for Patriot title, NCAA berth

Lewisburg, PA (Sports Network) - Faced with the possibility of a stunning collapse, and with a ticket to the NCAA Tournament on the line, Lehigh turned to C.J. McCollum.

The junior guard helped create a turnover then calmly sank two free throws with 4.1 seconds left, as Lehigh held on to down Bucknell, 82-77, in the Patriot League championship game.

The Mountain Hawks' eighth straight win looked to be a certainty when McCollum's free throw opened a 78-71 lead with 45 seconds to go, but the Bison rallied behind a pair of Bryson Johnson threes and actually had a chance at their first lead, and the win, in the closing seconds.

Lehigh (26-7) captured its third Patriot League Tournament title and the automatic bid behind 29 points from McCollum, 23 from Gabe Knutson and 11 from Mackey McKnight.

Mike Muscala kept the Bison (24-9) in the game until the very end, scoring 30 points with 14 rebounds. Johnson donated 11 off the bench, while Joe Willman tallied 10 points for the league's regular-season champions.

Time and time again, the Bison got close, but they never quite got over the hump.

The Bison cut the margin to two points, but McCollum was fouled while shooting a three on the other end. He made all three attempts then drained a tough jumper from the left block for a 74-67 lead.

Bucknell got it to 75-71 on Muscala's tough bank shot with 1:05 to go, and drew within four again, 78-74, on Johnson's three-pointer with 43 seconds left. McCollum was whistled for a dead-ball offensive foul, and the Bison called on Johnson again, who connected from the left corner with 34.5 seconds remaining.

McKnight missed both free throws, but Bucknell turned it over near the rim and McCollum was fouled and made both attempts with 4.1 seconds remaining. The Bison again turned it over on an intercepted pass, and the Mountain Hawks wrapped it up at the foul line.

The Mountain Hawks and Bison went at each other in the first half, exchanging baskets and blows, but it was Lehigh that had the upper hand with some hot shooting. Knutson made six of his seven shots and McCollum connected on 4- of-9, including the beginning of a three-point play for a 21-15 edge nearly midway through the half.

Bucknell worked its way back within a bucket at 25-23 on Ben Brackney's three- pointer, but it was McCollum and B.J. Bailey who extended the margin back out. Bailey hit one of his two treys off the bench for a 30-23 advantage, and McKnight stepped into an open trey, finding the bottom of the net for the game's first double-digit edge, 36-25.

The Bison again fought back within five, but McCollum's two free throws capped the scoring for a 41-34 lead. Lehigh made half of its 30 shots and drained five treys in leading throughout the opening 20 minutes.

Bucknell bounced out of the break, quickly rallying from a nine-point deficit to square the contest at 50 on Brian Fitzpatrick's free throw nearing the 13- minute mark. The Mountain Hawks responded with nine in a row, including a pair of layups by Justin Maneri off McCollum dribble-drive attempts and a John Adams trey for a 59-50 game.

Again, the Bison got to the edge of the lead with four straight from Steven Kaspar drawing the home team within 61-60. But Lehigh kept the lead with back- to-back successful possessions, the latter capped by McCollum's jumper for a 69-64 edge.

Game Notes

The Mountain Hawks won the first meeting this season, 56-53...Lehigh made 50 percent of its shots in both halves. Bucknell made 42 percent of its shots on the night...The Bison lived at the foul line, making 25-of-31 attempts, compared to 19-of-28 for the Mountain Hawks.

03/07 22:44:27 ET

Other Stories

  • WGC: Bridgestone Invitational

    Tomorrow at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Manchester United vs Real Madrid

    Tomorrow at 4:00 pm on FOX50

  • WGC: Bridgestone Invitational

    Sunday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MLB: NY Yankees at Boston

    Tomorrow at 4:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Buffalo at NY Giants

    Sunday at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
7:05pm Thursday
CHR 3
DUR 0
 
7:35pm Tonight
CHR
DUR
 
Final
DET 4
CWS 7
Final
CHC 3
COL 1
Final
SDP 2
STL 6
Final
BAL 0
ANA 1
Final
WAS 4
PHI 10
Final
CLE 5
SEA 6
Final
MIA 1
CIN 3
Final
KAN 6
MIN 3
Final
HOU 5
TOR 6
Final
ARI 7
PIT 4
Final
LOS 2
ATL 1
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
PHI
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
SEA
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
TEX
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
COL
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
CIN
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
ANA
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
SFG
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
MIN
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
TOR
 
8:15pm Tonight
STL
MIL
 
9:35pm Tonight
OAK
KAN
 
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
PIT
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
ATL
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
CHC
 
7:05pm Thursday
CHR 3
DUR 0
 
7:35pm Tonight
CHR
DUR