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Bucknell beats PSU for 1st time since 1976
By Jim Carlson, Associated Press
STATE COLLEGE (AP) -- He's seen it before and he hopes to see it again, but the wild shooting spree that led Bucknell to a 90-80 victory over Penn State on Wednesday night was described rather simply by coach Dave Paulsen as being "fun."
Steven Kaspar scored 25 points and Cameron Ayers added 19 as the Bison (1-1) pulled away in the second half in a wild, back-and-forth game between two nearby Pennsylvania rivals.
Ben Brackney (16) and Brian Fitzpatrick (13) combined for 29 more to give Paulsen his 100th Bucknell victory.
Bucknell (1-1) shot a blistering 61 percent from the floor (28 for 46) and an even hotter 67 percent from 3-point range (10 for 15) to contribute to the Bison's second victory over a Big Ten team in 19 tries and first win over Penn State since 1976.
"Well, I've seen it happen on occasion and I've seen it not happen on occasion," Paulsen said. "We have guys we think are talented offensive players who can shoot and score off the bounce but hadn't played a lot in the past.
"I've said there are going to be days where we really shoot the ball well and there are going to be days when I hope I'm wrong we might come in saying, 'was that the same team we saw at Penn State?'" Paulsen added. "It was fun."
Not so much for Penn State (1-1), which yielded 54 second-half points, including 20 by Kaspar and 16 by Ayers.
"Bottom line, they made a ton of shots," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said.
"This is the fourth time I played Bucknell as a head coach. They always have guys who can handle the ball, guys who can pass the ball, guys who can shoot the ball and a high IQ. That's what you saw."
Penn State, led by D.J. Newbill (18), Ross Travis (17) and Brandon Taylor (17), found itself in foul trouble early. Taylor fouled out and playmaker Tim Frazier was held to 13 points and played much of the second half with four fouls.
Bucknell's shooting stayed consistently on target throughout the second half as the Bison put together a 22-5 run and an 11-point lead as Kaspar couldn't miss.
"Certainly Brackney got us off to a good start and Kaspar played great down the stretch," Paulsen said.
Bucknell also had a 28-25 edge in rebounds and sank 24 of 31 free throws, many late in the game, to hold off the Lions.
"Our rebounding was pretty good," Paulsen said. "We're playing four guards a lot. We're giving up some size, but we did a pretty good job on the glass.
"And I thought we defended better in the second half. Kaspar did a good job driving the ball to the basket, getting them into some foul trouble. I thought we did a pretty good job in that regard."
With Penn State's Frazier on the bench with four fouls, Bucknell's Ayers blocked a Graham Woodward shot from behind the arc and took off for an easy layup and a four-point lead as the Bison began to pull away.
Fitzpatrick and Dom Hoffman converted back-to-back buckets and the hot-shooting Bison were rolling.
"They did a great job; they shot well," Penn State's Frazier said. "It's definitely tough (to play with four fouls). Obviously I couldn't be as aggressive as I was.
"They did a tremendous job on defense in the second half to stop myself and D.J."
The game turned at 59-59 when Bucknell was able to string together a series of defensive stops.
"It was definitely frustrating," Newbill said. "Sometimes we were doing the right things and they were still hitting shots. Other times we missed transitions and we gave them wide open shots, so it was definitely frustrating down the stretch."
Chambers pointed out that Penn State isn't a team that routinely scores 80 points.
"Any time Penn State basketball scores 80 points, we should win the game," he said. "But you're going to run into these nights. They had players step up.
"And there were times we completely lost our focus; we didn't know who we had. Once we get past our first line, we are very young and inexperienced. We got to second level and sometimes the third level and tonight they were exposed.
"This may sound crazy, but I like playing Bucknell, I do. He's a great coach and Bucknell will get us ready for the Big Ten."
Copyright The Associated Press