BALTIMORE — Bucknell cut a 13-point deficit to one with five minutes to play, but Loyola scored its final 15 points from the free-throw line in a big game-ending run to beat the Bison 78-65 on Saturday in Patriot League men’s basketball.

Avi Toomer led the Bison (9-16, 5-7 Patriot League) with 15 points, and John Meeks recorded his second double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Patriot League scoring leader Andrew Kostecka scored 20 points for Loyola (12-13, 4-8 PL), which won its third straight game while handing Bucknell its fourth straight loss.

In three of Bucknell’s setbacks during this stretch, the Bison fought off double-digit deficits, only to go cold again in the final several minutes. In this one, Bucknell trailed by 13 at the half, but some improved 3-point shooting helped trim the gap.

The Bison missed their final 12 3-point attempts of the first half, but 3s from Toomer and Andrew Funk in the opening three minutes of the second half got them going. Meeks made two 3-pointers just past the midway point of the second half, and a trey from Jimmy Sotos at the 4:57 mark made it a one-point game at 58-57.

Kostecka swished a deep triple from the top of the key to answer Sotos’ shot. After a Bucknell miss, Golden Dike converted a three-point play to push Loyola’s lead back up to seven at 64-57 with 3:49 left. The Bison missed their next six field goal attempts, and Loyola finished it off by going 15-of-17 from the free-throw line over the final four minutes.

“We searching for some answers right now, and I’ve got to keep everyone positive while we figure this out,” Bucknell coach Nathan Davis said. “The same types of mistakes are hurting us, especially early in games, and there are times where seem to be getting in our own way. We have shown good fight getting back in games, but falling behind by double figures just can’t happen every night.”

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