Thomas records double-double as Bison advance in PL

Patriot League Player of the Year Zach Thomas logged 27 points and 11 rebounds, and top-seeded Bucknell held off No. 8 Loyola (Md.), 83-78, on Thursday night at Sojka Pavilion in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal round.

Bucknell, now 23-9 on the season, will host fifth-seeded Boston University in the semifinals on Sunday at 2 p.m. It will be the 21st time in the 28-year history of the Patriot League that the Bison have reached the semis.

Thomas, who went 6-for-11 from the field and 13-for-17 from the foul line, hit the 20-point mark for the 17th time this season, a new school record. Kimbal Mackenzie added 18 points, hitting four 3-pointers, while backcourt-mate Stephen Brown scored 16 points to go along with four assists and two steals in 37 minutes of turnover-free basketball. Nana Foulland also had an excellent all-around game with 14 points, eight rebounds, a career-high five assists, and a season-best five blocked shots.

“Give Loyola a ton of credit. They fought hard, they played hard, they never quit,” said coach Nathan Davis afterward. “They made it tough, like we knew it was going to be. It’s tournament time, it’s March, and every game is hard. It’s all about winning the game and advancing to the next one. I thought we made a lot of plays when we needed to.”

Loyola really hurt the Bison on the offensive glass, parlaying 18 offensive rebounds into a 26-4 advantage in second-chance points.