Lehigh and Bucknell crushed the competition Saturday in the Patriot League semifinals to earn their spots in the Tournament Final on Wednesday at 7 p.m. EDT. Defending champions Bucknell will look to become the seventh straight number one seed to earn the automatic bid that comes with a Patriot League Tournament Championship, while Lehigh will look to earn their second championship in three years.
(2) Lehigh 85, (3) American 66
Patriot League Player of the Year C.J. McCollum led the host Mountain Hawks to an easy win with 27 points and 10 rebounds and six assists. The junior guard knocked down 10-of-16 shots and added two of the team's 10 3-pointers, as Lehigh (25-7, 11-3) never let the Eagles (20-11, 10-4) get into their game.
Sophomore guard Mackley McKnight poured in 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds for Lehigh, while junior forward Holden Greiner chipped in 14 points of his own in just 13 minutes off the bench. American seniors Charles Hinkle and Troy Brewer led the Eagles with 15 points apiece and two other starters finished in double-figures but it wasn't enough for American who shot just 36.5 percent (23-of-63).
Lehigh used a 13-2 run midway through the second half to jump out to a 55-36 lead and never looked back en route to just their second Patriot League Tournament Championship Game.
(1) Bucknell 79, (5) Lafayette 52
Behind 36 points and 11 rebounds from starting forwards from Joe Willman and Mike Muscala, the top-seeded Bison rolled all over the Leopards Saturday afternoon. Muscala, the 2011 Patriot League Player of the Year, knocked down 7-of-12 shots, while his junior partner connected on 5-of-11 shots to go along with his team-high seven rebounds.
Bucknell went on a 23-7 run over the final 10:07 of the first half to open up a 40-20 lead and never trailed as the Bison returned to the Patriot League Championship Game for the second consecutive season and ninth time overall.
The Bison shot 46 percent (27-of-57) from the field but more impressively hit all 19 of their free throws, including a perfect 8-of-8 afternoon from Willman. Senior forward Ryan Willen led the Leopards with 11 points and five rebounds in his final collegiate game.