"We just didn't execute," said DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright. ‘We forced threes at the end of the shot clock."
"We need to start scoring more and we need to find ways to take better shots," said guard Sammy Mejia, who led all scorers with 20 points. "It was converting on the offensive end that I think got to us a little bit."
In the first half, the game was close despite Bucknell holding a 17-9 rebounding advantage. Free throw shooting helped keep the Blue Demons in it as they were 8 of 10 from the line in the half. Sammy Mejia led all scorers with 11 points as the teams entered the break with the Bison leading 32-27.
With the Bison leading 53-45 with four minutes remaining in the game, DePaul went on a six point run. Mejia's free throws brought DePaul to within two with 2:14 to play.
Freshman Wilson Chandler had an opportunity to tie the game, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one with 53 seconds remaining.
Guard Kevin Bettencourt led the Bison with 16 points and center Chris McNaughton added 12. "I thought Chris played well," said Bison coach Pat Flannery. In the end, the inside-outside combination of Bettencourt and McNaughton was too much for DePaul to handle.
The game was scheduled in Chicago for Bucknell point guard Abe Badmus, a product of Notre Dame High School in Niles. "We try to schedule games for kids in places where they are from," said Flannery. It was ironic that Badmus, one of the shortest players on the floor, lead all players in rebounding with seven boards.
"I remember watching Quentin Richardson play here," said Badmus. "That was a real good team that went to the tournament. It just an honor and I'm really glad that Coach Flannery brought me down here for the second time in three years. It's fun to play against a team so close to home. Especially coming out with the victory, is really the icing on the cake."
Official Box Score
DePaul center Marlon Brumfield left the game with an ankle injury. His status at this time is uncertain.
Badmus showed his teammates his hometown and took them to Giordano's pizza for dinner the night before the game. "That was some of the heaviest pizza I've ever eaten," said Flannery.
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