By Chris McCree
The men’s basketball team closed out its regular season with a pair of wins over American and Navy, claiming its second consecutive Patriot League regular season title. Mike Muscala ’13 led the Bison with a combined 45 points and 20 rebounds over the two games, recording his team-leading 14th double-double and 11th 20-point game of the year.
Coming off their first conference losses of the season, the Orange and Blue rebounded with a tight 55-50 win over American last Thursday. With the win, the Bison snapped American’s 11-game home winning streak and earned its third-straight season sweep over the Eagles.
After trailing the Eagles for almost the entire first half, the Bison claimed their first lead since early in the first half off a three-pointer from Bryson Johnson ’13 with 13:25 remaining in the second half. For the next seven minutes, the game underwent numerous lead changes until the Orange and Blue reeled off 11 consecutive points, extending their lead to 10 points with less than three minutes to play. Led by stout defensive play by Cohen down the stretch, the Orange and Blue were able to limit American to 12 points in the final nine minutes of play and come away with the five-point victory.
Two days later, the Bison squad secured home court advantage throughout the playoffs with a 64-55 win over the Midshipmen. Muscala led the Bison once again with 19 points and six rebounds on the day, going six for eight from the field and seven for seven from the foul line.
After leading by 11 at the half, the Bison managed to maintain a double-digit lead for most of the second half, allowing head coach Dave Paulsen to give reserve seniors Enoch Andoh ’12 and Probese Leo ’12 some much-deserved playing time.
The Orange and Blue earned their 200th all-time Patriot League regular season win, becoming the first team to do so in league history.
With the regular season under their belt, the Orange and Blue now set their sights on repeating as Patriot League champions and earning a second-consecutive NCAA berth.