LEHIGH
BUCK

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Bucknell tops Lehigh 81-65 in Patriot League final

LEWISBURG, Pa. (AP) Zach Thomas waved his arms in the air as he walked toward the baseline and exhorted the rowdy Bucknell students to cheer even louder.

Nana Foulland yanked him back to the huddle. The Bison still had 68 anticlimactic seconds to wait before the students would burst toward them for a court-storming celebration that ignited a Patriot League party.

Kimbal Mackenzie scored 18 points to help send Bucknell into the NCAA Tournament with an 81-65 victory over Lehigh in the conference championship game Wednesday night.

The Bison (26-8) are back in the tournament for the first time since 2013 and seem ready to shake up the brackets one more time. Bucknell beat Kansas in 2005 and Arkansas in 2006 to earn a reputation as March upset masters.

Let the scouting reports on basketball's big boys wait until after Sunday's field is announced.

''Until then, I'm going to enjoy this,'' coach Nathan Davis said. ''I'm not going to worry about it a whole lot.''

Bucknell was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament in the first game each of the last two trips. But Foulland and Thomas, who had 17 points and nine rebounds, had the electric home crowd ready to taste the tournament from the opening tip.

The crowd of 4,254, sixth largest in Sojka history, stormed the court and mobbed the players to set off a March celebration. Bucknell students danced and snapped selfies on the court as the public address announcer urged them to head back to the bleachers for the traditional cutting of the nets.

Bucknell opened the second half on a 12-0 run that turned Sojka Pavilion into zoo, complete with a dancing Bison (mascot) and a gyrating shark. The Mountain Hawks (20-12) were the endangered species, and lost in the Patriot League Tournament championship game for the second straight season.

''We had great individual careers but we never made it to the Tournament. That hurts,'' senior guard Austin Price said.

While so many conference tournament games this week were played in half-empty arenas in major cities, Bucknell's 4,000-seat Sojka rocked from the moment the doors opened to hundreds of students lined up outside all the way to the postgame madness on the court.

The two schools are separated by 125 miles, and the student sections engaged in dueling insults and sarcastic signs that gave this championship game a true big-game flavor.

Lehigh won both games against Bucknell during the regular season and had counted on 3-point shooting (39 percent; 23rd nationally) to pull off the road upset. The Mountain Hawks hit just two 3s in the first half and a 30-25 lead was more mirage than a needed spark toward snipping the nets.

Foulland, the Patriot League player of the year and defensive player of the year, was in foul trouble in the first half and sat out the last 4 minutes. The Bison still scored on their next three possessions when he was benched and Avi Toomer made a 3 a tick before the horn for a 35-35 halftime lead.

Bucknell was just getting started.

The top-seeded Bison gave the frenzied, orange-dressed crowd a reason to go wild on a steal from Foulland that led to an easy bucket and he quickly added his own monster dunk. Mackenzie buried a corner 3 that capped a 12-0 run to open the second half.

''It makes it feel like they can never come back,'' Thomas said.

The Bison, who won the Patriot League title outright for the third straight season and sixth time in the last seven years, got a three-point play from Mackenzie late in the game that shook off a late Lehigh push. The championship celebration was on deck.

Tim Kempton had 22 points and 17 rebounds for Lehigh.

BIG PICTURE

Bucknell has won six straight games and has not lost consecutive games all season. The Bison entered 24th in the country in field-goal percentage (48.1) and could prove to be a tough out in the tournament.

The Mountain Hawks had won six straight games. Former Lehigh great and Portland Trail Blazers star CJ. McCollum rooted on the Mountain Hawks on Twitter (''Come on fellas'').

FEELING LOW

The Mountain Hawks missed 10 of 14 3s and made only 7 of 15 free throws. Both ugly numbers were well off their season averages.

UP NEXT

Bucknell will likely earn a double-digit seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Lehigh has not made the NCAAs since 2012, when it knocked off Duke, and could settle for an invitation to one of the minor March postseason tournaments.

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Time Team Play Score
20:00   Jumpball received by Lehigh  
19:44 +2 Tim Kempton made fade-away jump shot, assist by Austin Price 2-0
19:27   Zach Thomas missed hook shot  
19:25   Defensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
19:07   Tim Kempton missed layup, blocked by Nana Foulland  
19:05   Offensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
18:50   Tim Kempton missed layup, blocked by Nana Foulland  
18:48   Offensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
18:45 +2 Tim Kempton made dunk 4-0
18:39   Kimbal Mackenzie missed 3-pt. jump shot  
18:37   Defensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
18:33   Brandon Alston missed jump shot  
18:31   Defensive rebound by Avi Toomer  
18:15 +3 Stephen Brown made 3-pt. jump shot 4-3
18:04   Lost ball turnover on Tim Kempton, stolen by Bucknell  
17:54 +2 Nana Foulland made hook shot, assist by Kimbal Mackenzie 4-5
17:33   Tim Kempton missed 3-pt. jump shot  
17:31   Defensive rebound by Zach Thomas  
17:19 +2 Kimbal Mackenzie made jump shot, assist by Stephen Brown 4-7
17:00   Austin Price missed jump shot  
16:58   Defensive rebound by Avi Toomer  
16:50   Avi Toomer missed 3-pt. jump shot  
16:48   Defensive rebound by Brandon Alston  
16:37 +2 Kahron Ross made driving layup 6-7
16:13   Kimbal Mackenzie missed 3-pt. jump shot  
16:11   Defensive rebound by Brandon Alston  
16:04 +3 Kyle Leufroy made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Kahron Ross 9-7
15:53   Stephen Brown missed 3-pt. jump shot  
15:51   Defensive rebound by Kyle Leufroy  
15:42   Lost ball turnover on Kyle Leufroy, stolen by Bucknell  
15:42   Commercial timeout called  
15:19 +2 Nana Foulland made hook shot, assist by Kimbal Mackenzie 9-9
15:04   Kyle Leufroy missed layup, blocked by Zach Thomas  
15:02   Defensive rebound by Bruce Moore  
14:56   Bad pass turnover on Zach Thomas, stolen by Lehigh  
14:56   Personal foul on Nana Foulland  
14:34 +2 Brandon Alston made jump shot, assist by Tim Kempton 11-9
14:20 +3 John Azzinaro made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Zach Thomas 11-12
13:56 +2 Brandon Alston made driving layup 13-12
13:49   Shooting foul on Tim Kempton  
13:49 +1 Bruce Moore made 1st of 2 free throws 13-13
13:49   Bruce Moore missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
13:49   Defensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
13:36   Shooting foul on John Azzinaro  
13:36   Austin Price missed 1st of 2 free throws  
13:36   Austin Price missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
13:36   Defensive rebound by John Azzinaro  
13:26 +2 Kimbal Mackenzie made driving layup 13-15
13:09   Kahron Ross missed jump shot  
13:07   Offensive rebound by Lehigh  
13:00   Jordan Cohen missed driving layup, blocked by Bruce Moore  
13:00   Offensive rebound by Lehigh  
12:45   Tim Kempton missed jump shot  
12:43   Defensive rebound by Nana Foulland  
12:34   Stephen Brown missed 3-pt. jump shot  
12:32   Defensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
12:15   Tim Kempton missed 3-pt. jump shot  
12:13   Defensive rebound by Nana Foulland  
12:00   Nana Foulland missed hook shot  
11:58   Defensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
11:41   Matt Holba missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:39   Defensive rebound by Stephen Brown  
11:23 +2 Nate Sestina made driving layup 13-17
11:00 +2 Tim Kempton made jump shot 15-17
10:43   John Azzinaro missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:41   Defensive rebound by Jordan Cohen  
10:35   Jordan Cohen missed floating jump shot  
10:33   Defensive rebound by Bruce Moore  
10:23   Personal foul on Jordan Cohen  
10:23   Commercial timeout called  
10:14   Personal foul on Jordan Cohen  
9:54 +2 Nate Sestina made layup, assist by Nana Foulland 15-19
9:34   Brandon Alston missed hook shot  
9:32   Defensive rebound by Stephen Brown  
9:09 +2 Nana Foulland made hook shot, assist by Avi Toomer 15-21
8:52 +2 Kyle Leufroy made reverse layup 17-21
8:37   Stephen Brown missed layup  
8:35   Defensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
8:15   Brandon Alston missed layup  
8:13   Offensive rebound by Matt Holba  
8:05   Personal foul on D.J. MacLeay  
7:55 +2 Kahron Ross made finger-roll layup 19-21
7:47 +2 Zach Thomas made driving layup 19-23
7:37   Bad pass turnover on Kahron Ross  
7:37   Commercial timeout called  
7:19   Kimbal Mackenzie missed jump shot  
7:17   Defensive rebound by Matt Holba  
7:12   Lost ball turnover on Matt Holba, stolen by Bucknell  
6:56   Offensive foul on D.J. MacLeay  
6:56   Turnover on D.J. MacLeay  
6:33 +2 Austin Price made driving layup 21-23
6:09   Turnover on Avi Toomer  
6:09 +3 Brandon Alston made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Tim Kempton 24-23
5:34 +2 Zach Thomas made driving layup 24-25
5:08 +2 Austin Price made driving layup 26-25
4:58   Kimbal Mackenzie missed jump shot  
4:56   Defensive rebound by Kyle Leufroy  
4:46 +2 Austin Price made driving layup 28-25
4:24   Stephen Brown missed jump shot  
4:23   Offensive rebound by Bruce Moore  
4:23   Bruce Moore missed tip-in  
4:23   Defensive rebound by Kyle Leufroy  
4:23   Personal foul on Kimbal Mackenzie  
4:09   Shooting foul on Nana Foulland  
4:09 +1 Tim Kempton made 1st of 2 free throws 29-25
4:09 +1 Tim Kempton made 2nd of 2 free throws 30-25
3:57   Personal foul on Kyle Leufroy  
3:57   Commercial timeout called  
3:55 +3 Zach Thomas made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Bruce Moore 30-28
3:33 +2 Kyle Leufroy made driving layup 32-28
3:15   Nate Sestina missed layup, blocked by Austin Price  
3:13   Offensive rebound by Nate Sestina  
3:05 +2 Nate Sestina made tip-in 32-30
2:52   Tim Kempton missed layup  
2:50   Defensive rebound by Nate Sestina  
2:43 +2 Stephen Brown made layup 32-32
2:29   Shooting foul on Nate Sestina  
2:29   Kyle Leufroy missed 1st of 2 free throws  
2:29   Kyle Leufroy missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
2:29   Defensive rebound by Zach Thomas  
2:02   Stephen Brown missed fade-away jump shot  
2:00   Defensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
1:51   Offensive foul on Kahron Ross  
1:51   Turnover on Kahron Ross  
1:36   Nate Sestina missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:34   Defensive rebound by Kyle Leufroy  
1:23 +2 Tim Kempton made dunk, assist by Brandon Alston 34-32
54.0   Avi Toomer missed layup  
54.0   35-second shot clock violation turnover on Bucknell  
30.0   Tim Kempton missed hook shot  
30.0   Defensive rebound by Avi Toomer  
30.0   Defensive rebound by Avi Toomer  
4.0 +3 Avi Toomer made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Stephen Brown 34-35
4.0 +3 Avi Toomer made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Stephen Brown 34-38
2.0   30-second timeout called  
1.0   Brandon Alston missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0.0   Offensive rebound by Lehigh  
0.0   End of period  

Time Team Play Score
19:42 +2 Nana Foulland made layup, assist by Avi Toomer 34-40
19:42   Shooting foul on Brandon Alston  
19:42 +1 Nana Foulland made free throw 34-41
19:27   Lost ball turnover on Tim Kempton, stolen by Bucknell  
19:17   Nana Foulland missed hook shot  
19:15   Offensive rebound by Zach Thomas  
19:06   Zach Thomas missed layup  
19:04   Offensive rebound by Zach Thomas  
19:01 +2 Zach Thomas made dunk 34-43
18:48   Kyle Leufroy missed layup  
18:46   Defensive rebound by Avi Toomer  
18:37 +2 Nana Foulland made dunk, assist by Zach Thomas 34-45
18:37   30-second timeout called  
18:23   Kahron Ross missed finger-roll layup  
18:21   Defensive rebound by Nana Foulland  
18:14 +2 Zach Thomas made layup, assist by Kimbal Mackenzie 34-47
18:03   Brandon Alston missed 3-pt. jump shot  
18:01   Defensive rebound by Stephen Brown  
17:43 +3 Kimbal Mackenzie made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Avi Toomer 34-50
17:27   Tim Kempton missed layup, blocked by Zach Thomas  
17:25   Defensive rebound by Zach Thomas  
17:19   Zach Thomas missed 3-pt. jump shot  
17:17   Defensive rebound by Kyle Leufroy  
17:11   Shooting foul on Stephen Brown  
17:11   Austin Price missed 1st of 2 free throws  
17:11   Austin Price missed 1st of 2 free throws  
17:11 +1 Austin Price made 2nd of 2 free throws 35-50
16:48   Nana Foulland missed hook shot  
16:46   Defensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
16:34 +2 Tim Kempton made layup 37-50
16:00   Zach Thomas missed layup  
16:00   Offensive rebound by Avi Toomer  
16:00   Avi Toomer missed tip-in  
16:00   Defensive rebound by Lehigh  
15:47   Austin Price missed layup  
15:45   Defensive rebound by Zach Thomas  
15:28   Zach Thomas missed layup, blocked by Austin Price  
15:28   Offensive rebound by Zach Thomas  
15:28   Personal foul on Austin Price  
15:28   Commercial timeout called  
15:22 +2 Zach Thomas made jump shot, assist by Avi Toomer 37-52
15:00   Jordan Cohen missed 3-pt. jump shot  
14:58   Defensive rebound by Avi Toomer  
14:41 +3 Kimbal Mackenzie made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Zach Thomas 37-55
14:38   30-second timeout called  
14:32   Tim Kempton missed layup  
14:30   Defensive rebound by Stephen Brown  
14:21   Kimbal Mackenzie missed 3-pt. jump shot  
14:19   Offensive rebound by Zach Thomas  
14:11   Personal foul on Austin Price  
14:00   Avi Toomer missed 3-pt. jump shot  
13:58   Defensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
13:51   Brandon Alston missed 3-pt. jump shot  
13:49   Defensive rebound by Kimbal Mackenzie  
13:31 +3 Stephen Brown made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Zach Thomas 37-58
13:20 +2 Kahron Ross made finger-roll layup 39-58
13:05   Kimbal Mackenzie missed 3-pt. jump shot  
13:03   Defensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
12:48   Tim Kempton missed jump shot  
12:46   Defensive rebound by Stephen Brown  
12:20   Zach Thomas missed 3-pt. jump shot  
12:18   Offensive rebound by Kimbal Mackenzie  
12:09   Personal foul on Tim Kempton  
12:06 +2 Zach Thomas made layup, assist by Bruce Moore 39-60
11:48   Commercial timeout called  
11:38   Austin Price missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:36   Offensive rebound by Kyle Leufroy  
11:30 +2 Kyle Leufroy made layup 41-60
11:08   Personal foul on Austin Price  
11:03   Zach Thomas missed jump shot  
11:01   Defensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
10:51   Shooting foul on Bruce Moore  
10:51 +1 Kyle Leufroy made 1st of 2 free throws 42-60
10:51 +1 Kyle Leufroy made 2nd of 2 free throws 43-60
10:31   Avi Toomer missed layup  
10:31   Offensive rebound by Bucknell  
10:25   Stephen Brown missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:23   Defensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
10:04   Bad pass turnover on Austin Price  
9:50   Official timeout called  
9:40   Nana Foulland missed jump shot  
9:38   Defensive rebound by Kahron Ross  
9:25 +2 Tim Kempton made reverse layup, assist by Brandon Alston 45-60
9:05 +2 Nana Foulland made hook shot, assist by Stephen Brown 45-62
8:51   Tim Kempton missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:49   Defensive rebound by Avi Toomer  
8:30   Bad pass turnover on Nana Foulland, stolen by Lehigh  
8:12   Personal foul on Avi Toomer  
8:12   Shooting foul on Nate Sestina  
8:12   Tim Kempton missed 1st of 2 free throws  
8:12   Tim Kempton missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
8:12   Tim Kempton missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
8:12   Defensive rebound by Zach Thomas  
7:53 +2 Nate Sestina made jump shot, assist by Zach Thomas 45-64
7:40   Personal foul on Stephen Brown  
7:40   Commercial timeout called  
7:28 +2 Brandon Alston made layup 47-64
6:59   Zach Thomas missed jump shot  
6:57   Offensive rebound by Bruce Moore  
6:50   Bruce Moore missed tip-in  
6:50   Defensive rebound by Kahron Ross  
6:50 +3 Kyle Leufroy made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Kahron Ross 50-64
6:14   Zach Thomas missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:12   Defensive rebound by Austin Price  
6:03   Kahron Ross missed layup  
6:01   Defensive rebound by Stephen Brown  
5:37   Zach Thomas missed reverse layup  
5:35   Defensive rebound by Tim Kempton  
5:29   Brandon Alston missed layup  
5:27   Defensive rebound by Avi Toomer  
5:08   Lost ball turnover on Zach Thomas  
5:08   Lost ball turnover on Zach Thomas  
5:00   Shooting foul on Nana Foulland  
5:00 +1 Tim Kempton made 1st of 2 free throws 51-64
5:00 +1 Tim Kempton made 2nd of 2 free throws 52-64
4:42 +2 Kimbal Mackenzie made driving layup 52-66
4:42   Shooting foul on Austin Price  
4:42 +1 Kimbal Mackenzie made free throw 52-67
4:29 +2 Tim Kempton made layup 54-67
3:59 +2 Nana Foulland made hook shot, assist by Avi Toomer 54-69
3:42 +2