The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

January 24, 2013

Bucknell basketball: Late rally not enough as Hawks topple Bison

LEWISBURG -- Bucknell coach Dave Paulsen searched for words that the look on his face already conveyed, the same for senior captains Mike Muscala and Joe Willman.

The three of them couldn't hide the disappointment and anger at another loss to Lehigh.

However, it just wasn't the loss, it was the way the Mountain Hawks came into Sojka Pavilion and beat a Bucknell team that knows its dreams of a Patriot League title and NCAA Tournament berth most likely hinge on beating Lehigh.

"I'm really disappointed in the toughness. To have (Lehigh) come out on your court and spot them a 15-point lead on defensive blunder after defensive blunder is just a disgrace. We fought so hard to come back and to give up two key offensive rebounds late to cost us the game," Paulsen said.

"This one hurts."

Lehigh's backcourt, even without injured NBA-prospect C.J. McCollum, proved to be too much for the Bison as B.J. Bailey and Mackey McKnight combined for 35 points and the Mountain Hawks used a late rally to beat Bucknell for a third consecutive time, this time 65-62 in front of a national television audience on CBS Sports Network.

Bucknell (16-4 overall, 3-1 Patriot League) won its first three league games by double digits, but struggled at the beginning of all three contests. That came back to haunt the Bison against Lehigh as Bucknell got off to a woeful start, falling behind by 15 points with six minutes left in the first half.

"It's like a broken record and at some point it's got to come down on the internal leadership of the team and if guys aren't ready and focused, they have to be willing to grab them by the throat and tell them to get off the court," Paulsen said. "Some very, very good players could have their careers come to end in disappointment if they don't do what ever is necessary to help this team."

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