BASKETBALL

NIT first round final score: Bucknell 65, Arizona 54

2012-03-14T17:30:00Z 2014-01-24T16:00:12Z NIT first round final score: Bucknell 65, Arizona 54Bruce Pascoe, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 14, 2012 5:30 pm  • 

The first-ever National Invitation Tournament game at McKale Center was one to forget for the Arizona Wildcats.

Eighth-seeded Bucknell came out of the Patriot League to beat top-seeded Arizona 65-54 on Wednesday before about 8,000 fans at McKale.

It was the first time a No. 1 seed has lost a first-round NIT game since ASU lost to Jacksonville at Wells Fargo Arena in 2010.

The loss ended Arizona’s season at 23-12 while Bucknell improved to 25-9 and will face the winner of the Nevada-Oral Roberts game being played tonight in Tulsa, Okla.

Mike Muscala led Bucknell with 20 points while Solomon Hill had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats.

Bucknell led 58-54 with 2:42 to go and its four-point lead continued when Kyle Fogg threw an errant pass that gave Bucknell the ball back with a minute to go.

But Bryson Johnson hit a 25-footer to put the Bisons up 64-54 with 26 seconds left and Bucknell hung on from there. UA coach Sean Miller then put in Alex Jacobson for the final time and the Wildcats quietly played out the final seconds of their season while fans streamed to the exits.

Trailing 32-26 at halftime, UA largely fell into the same trouble in the second half. The Wildcats scored the first five points of the half to take a brief 33-32 lead but Bucknell built a 49-40 lead midway through the half mostly by going inside.

Later in the half, Bryson Johnson hit a three-pointer that opened Bucknell's lead to 52-42 with six minutes left but Nick Johnson had a three-pointer and hit two free throws to bring UA within 52-47.

Earlier, Cameron Ayers hit a three-pointer to give Bucknell a 39-36 lead with 13:10 to go.

In the first half, outshot top-seeded Arizona in the first half to take a 32-26 lead at halftime.

The Wildcats made just 38.5 percent of their field goals and just 4 of 11 threes, with gunner Brendon Lavender missing all four of his three-point tries.

But Bucknell shot 45.8 percent overall and hit 4 of 8 three pointers while outrebounding UA 17-14.

Center Mike Muscala led Bucknell with 10 points and five rebounds, while Solomon Hill had eight points and five rebounds for Arizona.

The Bison built a 13-point lead through the first 14 minutes of the game, shooting 60 percent at that point.

But UA gradually cut the lead down over the rest of the first half.

Angelo Chol scored inside and Solomon Hill hit a three-pointer to cut Bucknell's lead to 30-24, and when Muscala was blocked on Bucknell's next possession, the crowd of about 8,000 roared.

Quiet offensively early in the game, Kyle Fogg hit a three-pointer to cut Bucknell's lead to 27-19.

Bucknell took a 23-14 over UA with 7:41 left in first half. Bison shooting 60 percent from the field.

Earlier, Cameron Ayers hit a three-pointer to give Bucknell a 13-8 lead with 13 minutes left while Kyle Fogg answered with a three to cut the Bison lead to 13-11.

At that point, UA has made just 4 of 13 field goals while Bucknell has hit 7 of 11.

Guard Josiah Turner, who has been suspended for the rest of the season, sat on the UA bench in sweats.

The winner of tonight’s game will face the winner of the Oral Roberts-Nevada game being played tonight in Tulsa, Okla.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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