WEST POINT, N.Y. Abe Badmus’ three-pointer with 54 seconds left broke a 49-all tie and Bucknell held on for a 54-49 victory over Army in a Patriot League men’s basketball game Saturday afternoon in front of 1,878 spectators at Christl Arena.
Badmus, who led Bucknell (20-8, 13-1 Patriot League) with 15 points, drained his third triple of the game from the right wing to put the Bison on top for good. John Griffin knocked down a pair of free throws with 11 seconds remaining to ice the victory.
Army (14-15, 4-10 Patriot League) was led by Jarell Brown, who scored a game-high 16 points. Freshman guard Cleveland Richard put together the finest game of his young career, chipping in a career-high 14 points, six rebounds and five assists.
The Black Knights trailed by as many as nine points in the second half, before rallying to tie the score in the late stages. With Bucknell leading 47-40 at the 8:58 mark, Army took off on a 9-2 run to tie the score at 49-49.
After playing to a 27-27 draw in the first 20 minutes, Bucknell opened the half on a 13-4 burst to assume its largest lead of the game at 40-31 at the 13:44 mark. Chris McNaughton tallied six of his 12 points during the run as the Bison made an effort to pound the ball inside.
Bucknell’s lead remained at or above five points over the next several minutes until Army’s run knotted the score at 49-49.
Bucknell controlled play early in the game, establishing a 10-4 lead at the 13:25 mark. Army reeled off a 15-8 spurt over the next seven minutes to take its first lead of the game, 19-18, with 6:46 to play before halftime. Richard, Brown and Marcus Nelson each nailed a three-pointer to fuel the run.
Army extended its lead to five points at 27-22 with 57 seconds to play in the half, but Bucknell tied the game thanks to a brief 5-0 spurt to end the period. Jason Vegotsky’s trey from the left corner just before the buzzer sounded capped the run and sent the Bison into the locker room with some momentum.
Before the game, Army honored its four seniors, Matt Bell, Cory Sinning, Marshall Jackson and Jimmy Sewell.
Due to league tie-breaking procedures, Army will be the No. 6 seed in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament. The Black Knights will travel to Bethlehem, Pa., on Wednesday, Feb. 28, to take on third-seeded Lehigh. Tip off from Stabler Arena is still to be determined.
Army and Lehigh split the two regular season meetings, with the Black Knights taking a 64-59 decision at West Point in January and the Mountain Hawks securing a 75-64 victory in Bethlehem earlier this month.