The Daily Item

LEWISBURG — Given a Patriot League schedule that matches teams on consecutive days each weekend, the Bucknell men’s basketball team has little time to make adjustments needed to close the gap against Lafayette.

The visiting Leopards raced to a 20-point lead in the first half Saturday, and dominated on the offensive boards to down the winless Bison, 83-60, at Sojka Pavilion.

The teams are slated to meet again today in Easton for a 6 p.m. tip in a game broadcast on ESPN+.

E.J. Stephens scored a game-high 18 points to lead five Lafayette scorers in double figures. Buoyed by 20 offensive rebounds and 17 steals, the Leopards improved to 2-1 on the season.

Andrew Funk scored 15 points for Bucknell, which shot 40 percent (20-for-50) and fell to 0-3.

“I thought we played very timid, especially on the offensive end,” said Bison coach Nathan Davis. “And when something bad happened on offense, it affected our defense where we would get beat on a backdoor cut or not block out and give up an easy offensive rebound.”

The Leopards scored 23 second-chance points off the 20 offensive rebounds, and their defense forced 22 Bison turnovers, which led to 25 points. Five players for Lafayette recorded multiple steals, led by five from guard Tyrone Perry. Leopards center Neal Quinn posted 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds in 21 minutes of play.

Xander Rice scored nine points and handed out a team-high three assists for the Bison. Miles Latimer, making his Bucknell debut, contributed nine points. Andre Screen scored eight points, grabbed four rebounds, blocked three shots and recorded a pair of steals. Walter Ellis had eight points and four steals.

“I thought we had a good four days of practice this week,” said Davis, “but good practices aren’t translating to the games and we have to quickly figure out why that is.”

For the second straight game, the Bison got out to a slow start. Lafayette led 11-2 after a Kyle Jenkins 3-pointer just over four minutes in. Funk’s pull-up jumper at the 15:13 mark was Bucknell’s first field goal, and the Bison trailed by just six at 14-8 after an Ellis layup two minutes later. But the Bison made just one more field goal over the next seven-plus minutes, and an 18-3 run stretched Lafayette’s lead to 32-11.

Down 46-27 at the break, Bucknell made some headway in second half thanks to some better defensive rebounding.

Latimer scored seven straight Bison points with a pair of layups and a 3-pointer. Later in the half, Rice hit a 3-pointer, Jake van der Heijden fed Paul Newman for a layup, and then van der Heijden scored off a Latimer feed to get the Bison within 12 with 6:23 remaining.

That was Bucknell’s last field goal until the final 32 seconds of the game. Jenkins’ 3-pointer pushed the margin back to 18 and keyed what would become a 16-2 run. Quinn’s follow gave Lafayette its largest lead of 26 at 80-54 with 1:16 to go.

Lafayette 83, Bucknell 60

Lafayette (2-1, 2-1)

Leo O’Boyle 5-11 1-2 13, Dylan Hastings 1-3 0-0 2, Neal Quinn 3-7 7-8 13, Tyrone Perry 2-8 2-2 6, Justin Jaworski 4-14 1-3 11, Sean Good 1-3 3-4 5, Kyle Jenkins 4-7 2-4 12, E.J. Stephens 7-14 2-2 18, Jon Brantley 0-1 0-0 0, Tomas Verbinskis 1-1 0-0 3, Eric Sondberg 0-0 0-0 0, Jay Vaughan 0-0 0-0 0, Michael Anekwe 0-0 0-0 0, Ryan Zambie 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-69 18-25 83.

Bucknell (0-3, 0-3)

Jake van der Heijden 1-2 0-0 2, Paul Newman 2-6 0-3 4, Walter Ellis 3-7 0-0 8, Andrew Funk 4-6 6-6 15, Xander Rice 3-5 2-4 9, Malachi Rhodes 0-2 2-2 2, Andre Screen 3-4 2-3 8, Deuce Turner 0-8 0-0 0, Miles Latimer 3-6 2-2 9, Alex Timmerman 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 20-50 14-20 60.

Halftime: Lafayette, 46-25. 3-point goals: Lafayette 9-22 (Jenkins 2-4, O’Boyle 2-4, Stephens 2-4, Jaworski 2-7, Verbinskis 1-1, Perry 0-2); Bucknell 6-20 (Ellis 2-5, Rice 1-1, Timmerman 1-1, Latimer 1-2, Funk 1-5, Rhodes 0-1, van der Heijden 0-1, Turner 0-4). Rebounds: Lafayette 44 (Good 11, Quinn 5, Jaworski 5); Bucknell 32 (Newman 6, Screen 6). Assists: Lafayette 16 (Quinn 8); Bucknell 14 (Rice 3). Steals: Lafayette 17 (Perry 5); Bucknell 9 (Ellis 4). Blocked shots: Lafayette 3; Bucknell 7. Turnovers: Lafayette 14; Bucknell 22. Total fouls: Lafayette 17; Bucknell 20.

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