Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
Visiting Bucknell shot 61 percent and put four players in double figures to hold off Binghamton, 77-63, Tuesday night from the Events Center. The reigning Patriot League champion Bison (6-4) built a 20-point halftime lead and fought off a pesky Bearcat push in the final six minutes.
Bucknell executed its offense to perfection in the first period, shooting 68 percent (17-of-25) and roaring out to a 43-23 halftime bulge. Junior reserve Taylor Johnston keyed a BU rally midway through the second half that brought BU (0-7) to within 12, 61-49, with 7:45 to play. Johnston, who has played seven minutes all season, scored a career-high 14 points in 14 minutes off the bench, including 11 points in a spurt of 2:53. The second of back-to-back Johnston three-pointers made the score 61-49. After Bucknell steadied itself with a 7-0 run, BU responded with an 11-1 run in a 5:03 span. The run was capped by another Johnston trey that cut the Bearcats' deficit to single digits, 69-60, with 1:07 remaining. But Bucknell converted six free throws and BU could draw no closer than nine.
"Bucknell is a good, veteran team and they showed it tonight - especially in the first half," head coach Mark Macon said. "It was a good test for us and I was pleased to see us put up such a valiant effort, particularly in the second half. We showed a lot of fight tonight."
The Bison were strong out of the gate, hitting their first four shots and jumping out to a quick 12-3 lead. Binghamton missed eight of its first nine shots and fell behind by double digits less than nine minutes into the contest. Freshman forward Ben Dickinson scored the team's first seven points and netted 13 of his game-high 20 points before the break. Dickinson hit 8-of-10 free throws and added three steals and three assists in 36 minutes. Junior guard Jimmy Gray was BU's other double-digit scorer with 10 points. Sophomore guard Robert Mansell netted eight points and freshman guard Chris Longoria added seven points and a team-high five assists.
Bucknell was led by Joe Willman, who made 8-of-10 field goals for 16 points.