LEWISBURG -- Some viewed Saturday night's visit from Holy Cross as possible a trap game for the Bucknell men's basketball team. The Bison were coming off a huge win at Lehigh earlier in the week, and American, which won earlier in the day Saturday, is coming Wednesday with first place in the Patriot League on the line.
Uh, they were all about as wrong as wrong can be.
Bucknell took advantage of a strange ending to the first half, then steam-rolled its long-time rival in the second half, pulling away for a dominating 75-41 victory over the Crusaders in front of nearly 4,000 fans at Sojka Pavilion.
It was Bucknell's biggest win in the rivalry since a 25-point victory on Jan. 15, 2000, and was Holy Cross' largest Patriot League defeat in program history.
Thirteen different Bucknell players scored, led by Cameron Ayers' 13. Bryan Cohen scored a dozen points to move within three of the 1,000-point mark, while Mike Muscala had his third double-double in conference play with 11 points and 11 rebounds in just 23 minutes. The victory was the seventh in a row for the Bison and their 15th consecutive Patriot League win.
The Bison are now 15-6 overall, 5-0 in the League. Holy Cross drops to 8-11, 2-3 in conference.
"We couldn't make any shots and it sort of snowballed the other way," said Holy Cross coach Milan Brown. "It was definitely a tough night for us."
The Bison swallowed up the Crusaders on defense, holding Holy Cross to just 24.6 percent shooting. To add insult to injury, Bucknell outrebounded Holy Cross by 19, pulling down 50 boards, its most since 2009. Muscala led the way, while Brian Fitzpatrick added nine and Cohen eight.
"It was a good win. I thought our guys played well defensively," said Bucknell coach Dave Paulsen. "That was obviously not one of Holy Cross' best efforts, but sometimes that happens."