— LEWISBURG -- Shooting well. Rebounding with abandon. Clogging passing lanes on the defensive end.
Bucknell did a little bit of everything in Wednesday night's Patriot League encounter with Navy. Four Bison scored between 13 and 15 points, and they outrebounded the Midshipmen by 11 in romping to a 78-57 win at Sojka Pavilion.
"The first half was about as well as we've played in a long time," Bison coach Dave Paulsen said. "We really got knocked to the mat on Sunday against Holy Cross (a 66-50 loss). This was a big test to our guys, (as in) how do you respond."
The victory halted a two-game losing streak and marked Bucknell's first home win since Jan. 22.
"We really came out with great defensive intensity," said Paulsen, whose team had 14 steals. "That was the most active we've been. So much of it is energy and hand activity and talking."
Chris Hass scored a game-high 15 points for Bucknell (11-13, 6-7 PL), while Brian Fitzpatrick and Dom Hoffman added 14, and Cameron Ayers chipped in 13.
The Bison used a big run at the end of the first half to take a commanding lead. Bucknell held an 11-point lead (28-17) with five minutes left before the break, but then went on a 16-4 run to close out the half with a 23-point advantage (44-21).
"That showed everybody what we're capable of doing," said Ayers, the senior guard who leads the Bison with a 15.4 points-per-game average.
The defining moment during the game's decisive run happened between Ayers and Hoffman. After Ayers missed a shot, Hoffman got a hand on the rebound and tapped it back to Ayers. Ayers drove to the basket before making a pretty dish to Hoffman for an easy layup.
"I saw him wide open under the basket," Ayers said. "I thought it was a good time to attack. ... (Hoffman) was cooking in the first half, so I definitely tried to keep him hot."
"Every time (Ayers) drives the ball, we try to get to the basket," Hoffman added. "He's going to find us or put up a great shot. I got to the spot coach always tells me to get to. I was wide open."
Bucknell's rebounding on the offensive glass told the story in the first half. The Bison grabbed eight offensive boards in the first half, resulting in 15 second-chance points.
Navy (8-16, 3-10), which made 46 percent of its 3-point attempts for the night (11-for-24), rediscovered its inside game after the break. The Midshipmen, who only had four points in the paint in the first half, doubled that output by the 12-minute mark of the second half.
But it wasn't enough, not the way Bucknell played Wednesday. Navy never got closer than 17 after the break.
"We just got into a flow," Hoffman said. "We were just having fun out there."
Brandon Venturini led the Midshipmen with 15 points, and Worth Smith added 10.
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