By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
LEWISBURG -- Fairfield kept the ball alive off a miss and kicked a pass to the perimeter.
Marcus Gilbert gathered the ball for the Stags, drove left and exploded toward the rim, slamming the ball down to extend the lead to double digits, a stunning turn on Bucknell's home floor.
The Bison tried to make a run late but could not cut their deficit to less than a few possessions, falling to Fairfield, 73-64, Saturday at Sojka Pavilion.
Bucknell (5-6) head coach Dave Paulsen said the Bison missed shots against the Stags that fell in previous games.
The third time the Stags (3-9) played an NCAA Tournament qualifier from a year ago was the charm. They lost to Louisville and Iona, and had a game against another tournament team, Belmont, postponed.
"This is a nice win for our team," Fairfield head coach Sydney Johnson said.
With Bucknell trailing by 10 after Gilbert rocked the rim, the clock started to work against the Bison with 4:46 left. They needed an answer to maintain a chance at a comeback.
Using an up-tempo offense, the Bison moved the ball inside the paint before the Stags defense could rotate, but the Bison could not consistently hit free throws to make their drives count.
One of three Stags in double figures, along with Gilbert and Maurice Barrow, Doug Chappell hit a 3-pointer from the wing to put the Stags ahead by 13 with four minutes left.
Chappell's 3-pointer was on the tail end of a 14-4 Fairfield run that quickly changed a one-possession game into a double-digit advantage.
"It's huge for us," Johnson said of his team's run down the stretch.
Johnson said the string of points late showed his team's talent and potential.
With a 7-for-8 day from the line, in addition to making both of his 3-point attempts, Chappell consistently hit shots in the waning minutes to prevent the Bison from significantly cutting into the Fairfield lead.