By William Bowman
The Daily Item
LEWISBURG -- Stephen Tyree was the only one who knew what the other half felt, and he's been feeling it for five years. He wanted to make darn sure the rest of his teammates felt that way.
Tyree was a freshman on Bucknell's 2006-07 squad that lost at Holy Cross in the Patriot League final. He said, "I've never been able to get the taste out of my mouth ... except for right now."
The three seniors on the Bucknell men's basketball team, including fifth-year senior Tyree, as well as Darryl Shazier and G.W. Boon, lived through the transition from Pat Flannery to Dave Paulsen. Friday night, in their final appearances ever in Sojka Pavilion, they went out as champions.
"I'm not feeling anything right now, I am numb," said Tyree, who played in a handful of games this year on a torn ACL, including Friday's Patriot League title game. "It's been a long road."
Boon, the senior sixth-man who has provided a spark off the bench his entire career, was just as numb.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," he said. "That's what I signed up for. I signed up to be a winner to come here and write my own legacy with my teammates and that's what we did.
"There's no better way to go out in Sojka, last game for us three, with this win, cutting down the nets at the end of the year," said Shazier, a first-team all-league point guard. "We said at the end of last year we were going to make it back here."
As the clock ticked below two minutes and the Bison had an 16-point lead on Lafayette, Bucknell coach Paulsen made it a point to pull his three seniors out at the same time. With the third-biggest crowd in Sojka history roaring, Paulsen gave each of them a big bear hug, particularly Shazier, who he admits he rode really hard over the past three years.
While they might have been recruited by Flannery and his coaching staff, Paulsen said they were also "his guys" from day one.
"I told them at our first meeting that none of them chose me, but I chose them," said Paulsen. "They came here to play for coach Flannery; I chose to come here. Even in the dark days of that first season, Darryl and G.W., but they bought in and they let me coach them really hard.
"As a coach, you can only be as good as the player let you be," he continued. "It could have been easy for those guys, at 7-23, to point fingers, and they just kept leading."
n E-mail comments to Sports Editor Bill Bowman at firstname.lastname@example.org