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Princeton wins thanks to second-half runs vs. Bucknell

LEWISBURG – Princeton scored 17 straight points as part of a 25-3 run early in the second half and then withstood a furious Bucknell rally to post an 87-77 win Saturday afternoon at Sojka Pavilion. Jimmy Sotos scored 20 points and Avi Toomer added 19 points and seven rebounds to lead the Bison.

Jaelin Llewellyn and Ryan Schwieger tallied 17 points each to lead five Princeton players in double figures in the scoring column. The Tigers snapped a five-game losing streak to start the season, while the Bison fell to 3-6.

Bucknell shot 53.3% from the field and hit 6 of 12 from 3-point range on the way to a 43-39 halftime lead. John Meeks converted a layup in the opening minute of the second half to give the Bison their largest lead of six points, but the Tigers took control shortly thereafter. Llewellyn and Schwieger hit 3-pointers, and later Llewellyn’s 3-point play gave Princeton a 50-47 lead.

Andrew Funk (14 points) tied it at 50 with a 3-pointer, but those would be Bucknell’s final points for nearly five minutes as the Tigers rattled off 17 straight. Princeton hit its first four 3-pointers and started the half 7 for 8. Llewellyn, who scored 15 of his 17 in the second half, connected on a trey with 13 minutes, 6 seconds remaining to give Princeton a 67-50 lead.

Sotos powered to the basket for a layup to end the run, and as the Bison started piling up defensive stops they got themselves back in the game. At the other end, Funk scored on two straight drives to the basket, and Bucknell pulled within 70-66 when freshman Malachi Rhodes came up with a steal near midcourt and took it all the way for a breakaway dunk.

Princeton went 9-for-15 from the 3-point arc in the second half and 13 for 25 for the game. The Tigers shot 50.8% overall.

Bucknell travels to Rider on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game.

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