Bison avenge loss vs. Boston

LEWISBURG — “The last time we played them, we got punked,” a forceful Nate Sestina said.

The senior Bucknell big man takes pride in being the aggressor and the most physical player on the court. The last time the Bison played Boston University, it was their first Patriot League loss and it was a humbling loss.

Boston held an eight rebound advantage and scored 20 second chance points. The Bison were down, but not out.

Bucknell avenged that loss from a month ago with a physical and inside presence on Saturday afternoon as it held on for an 82-76 win at Sojka Pavilion.

Sestina set the tone with his third straight 20-point game, posting 25 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks and fellow senior Kimbal Mackenzie hit big shots late as he finished with 20 points and three rebounds.

But it was Bucknell’s ability to hit tough shots inside and pursue rebounds as it held a 41-31 advantage on the boards.

“I would say since that game, there’s been a concerted effort by everyone to rebound better,” Bucknell coach Nathan Davis said.

“It was frustrating to watch film yesterday … and as a senior I’m expected to help lead us and watching how I played up there (in Boston), I was standing straight up and I got dominated,” Sestina said. “I took it as a personal thing to make sure I didn’t do that today and I was trying to fly around when I was in there.”

First-place Bucknell (16-8 overall, 10-2 Patriot League) came out physical and aggressive from the start, jumping out to a 13-point lead in the opening 10 minutes. Sestina had 11 points in that time, including three deep 3-pointers. The offense ran through the paint for the opening 10 minutes with 20 of Bucknell’s first 24 points coming from frontcourt players. Bruce Moore (10 points, 10 rebounds) had four quick points and John Meeks (10 points) came off the bench and provided a jolt of scoring.

Sestina only played five minutes in the first half and Boston made its move. Sestina gave Bucknell a 13-point lead but exited moments later with his second foul. In the final 10 minutes, the Terriers went on a 26-9 run to take a 40-36 lead into the break.

It was difficult for Sestina to watch his team struggle without him. With him on the floor yesterday, Bucknell outscored Boston by 14.

“Coming into the game we knew they were going to try to out physical us, Sestina said. “That’s what they did up there and being in foul trouble, it usually messes with your head but today I let it go and I was positive. I let Paul (Newman) and Bruce and Meeks do their thing when I was out and then whenever I was in, I did whatever I could to help us out.”

It was a motivated Sestina and clutch Mackenzie that held off one last Boston run. Bucknell turned that halftime deficit into an 11-point advantage on a Mackenzie 3 with just under five minutes remaining. Boston chopped the lead down to six 90 seconds later. But six quick points from Sestina and Mackenzie on back-to-back and 1’s gave the Bison a 12-point lead with 1:25 remaining, putting the game out of reach.

Not coincidentally, Sestina’s and-1 came on a putback with two players draped all over him as he powered through and let out a booming scream.

“The offensive rebounds most of the time you’re either going to get bumped or you’re boxing somebody out so it’s like a personal quest to go get the ball,” Sestina said. “…I think offensive rebounds are game changers because it’s another possession for us.”

Bucknell 82, Boston 76

BOSTON (11-14)

Mahoney 7-13 2-3 16, Scanlon 5-12 4-4 16, Mathon 2-2 0-1 4, McCoy 7-14 0-0 19, Vilarino 4-8 0-2 9, Hemphill 0-3 1-2 1, Pascoe 0-2 2-2 2, Harper 0-4 1-2 1, Petcash 2-7 2-2 8, Tynen 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 27-67 12-18 76.

BUCKNELL (16-8)

Moore 3-7 4-4 10, Sestina 10-15 1-1 25, Mackenzie 6-11 6-7 20, Sotos 1-5 0-0 2, Toomer 2-8 2-4 7, Ellis 0-0 0-0 0, Meeks 4-4 0-0 10, Newman 2-4 1-2 5, Jones 1-1 0-0 3, Funk 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 29-60 14-18 82.

Halftime: Boston U. 40-36. 3-Point Goals–Boston U. 10-26 (McCoy 5-8, Scanlon 2-5, Petcash 2-6, Vilarino 1-1, Pascoe 0-1, Tynen 0-1, Harper 0-2, Hemphill 0-2), Bucknell 10-27 (Sestina 4-6, Meeks 2-2, Mackenzie 2-6, Jones 1-1, Toomer 1-5, Moore 0-1, Sotos 0-2, Funk 0-4). Fouled Out: Boston U.-none; Bucknell-none. Rebounds: Boston U. 24 (Mahoney 10), Bucknell 37 (Sestina 11). Assists: Boston U. 16 (Scanlon 6), Bucknell 20 (Sotos 7). Total Fouls: Boston U. 19, Bucknell 17. A: 3,052 (4,000).

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