LEWISBURG — Princeton went on a game-changing run Saturday to take the lead for good against a slumping Bucknell men’s basketball team.

The Tigers scored 16 points in a row to grab an 87-77 win at Sojka Pavilion.

“You’ve got to give Princeton credit,” Bucknell coach Nathan Davis said. “I thought they came out with a good plan. They played hard, they played desperate, and they made us pay for it.

“It’s on me; we’re too disjointed right now at both ends. We’re not operating cohesively on offense or defense, and I’ve got to get it fixed. When we play together — in stretches — we look really good. When we’re disjointed and not playing together, we’re not able to overcome that and people are taking advantage of us.”

Jimmy Sotos, Avi Toomer and Andrew Funk combined to score 53 points — Sotos finished with 20, Toomer banked 19, and Funk wound up with 14 — but the Bison (3-6) lost for the fifth time in six outings.

Jaelin Llewellyn (17), Ryan Schwieger (17), Richmond Aririguzoh (15), Tosan Evbuomwan (10) and Jerome Desrosiers (10) all reached double digits for Princeton (1-5), which earned its first win of the season.

The visiting Tigers shot just under 51% from the floor and 52% from the arc, but Bucknell’s issues couldn’t be blamed solely on the hot-shooting Tigers — although that was one problem. The Bison also had some empty offensive stretches, were limited to one shot on most possessions, and were outscored off the bench 32-14.

“Making shots definitely helps, no matter what,” said the 6-foot-9 Aririguzoh, who added seven boards and three assists to his stat line before fouling out with 1:59 left.

Losing forward John Meeks early in the second half to a possible concussion also proved costly for the Bison — especially since center Paul Newman was in street clothes with an injury. Both are out indefinitely.

The Bison seemed to settle over the final 10 minutes of the opening half — Bucknell carried a 43-39 lead into the break — but that advantage was wiped out early in the second half as Princeton went on an 11-4 run.

Funk buried one of his two 3-pointers to pull the hosts even (50-50) with 17:24 remaining, but Princeton promptly reeled off 17 unanswered points and held a healthy lead at 13:06 after a Llewellyn hit a 3-pointer of his own.

Bucknell responded with its own outburst, scoring 16 of the next 19 points to draw within four (70-66) at 8:23 on Malachi Rhodes’ steal and dunk. The Bison might have been even closer had they been able to convert on the front end of a pair of one-and-ones.

The Bison never inched closer.

“Last five games we’ve seen all kinds of leads dissipating,” Aririguzoh said. “We’re a young team and we’re five games in, so it’s a really good sign that we withstood the run.

“That was one thing we focused on was stay with it, stick with it, even when it got hard.”

Once Schwieger and Drew Friberg hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, the visiting Tigers were back up by 14 (85-71) with 3:29 to go.

As for the Bison, they’ll get back to work sometime today since a Tuesday night visit to Rider (4-2) looms for Davis and a squad searching for some needed answers.

“We’re playing good teams,” Davis said. “When you play good teams, you can’t hide mistakes. … There’s not a Little Sisters of the Poor on our schedule when you can play like that and still win. We’ve got to do some things to get better.”

PRINCETON 87, BUCKNELL 77

Princeton (1-5) 87

Drew Friberg 1-5 2-2 5; Tosan Evbuomwan 3-5 3-4 10; Richmond Aririguzoh 5-9 5-6 15; Jaelin Llewellyn 6-14 2-4 17; Ryan Langborg 3-5 0-0 8; Ryan Schwieger 6-9 2-2 17; Ethan Wright 1-4 0-0 3; Jerome Desrosiers 4-6 0-0 10; Jose Morales 0-1 0-0 0; Elijah Barnes 1-1 0-0 2; Max Johns 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-59 14-18 87.

Bucknell (3-6) 77

Bruce Moore 2-8 1-2 5; Kahliel Spear 2-4 0-0 5; Jimmy Sotos 7-9 5-5 20; Andrew Funk 5-11 2-3 14; Avi Toomer 5-12 7-9 19; John Meeks 3-7 1-2 8; Walter Ellis 1-1 0-0 2; Malachi Rhodes 1-4 0-0 2; Xander Rice 0-0 0-0 0; Ben Robertson 1-1 0-0 2; Jake van der Heijden 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-58 16-21 77.

Halftime: Bucknell 43-39. 3-point shooting: Princeton 13-25 (Schwieger 3-4, Llewellyn 3-5, Desrosiers 2-3, Langborg 2-4, Evbuomwan 1-2, Wright 1-3, Friberg 1-4); Bucknell 7-19 (Funk 2-3, Toomer 2-8, Spear 1-1, Sotos 1-1, Meeks 1-3, van der Heijden 0-1, Moore 0-2). Rebounds: Princeton 36 (Evbuomwan 8); Bucknell 25 (Toomer 7). Assists: Princeton 16 (Schwieger 4); Bucknell 10 (Toomer 3). Total fouls: Princeton 21; Bucknell 20. Fouled out: Moore, Aririguzoh. Turnovers: Princeton 9; Bucknell 7. A: 1,959.

Recommended for you