Bucknell 86, Towson St. 74
TOWSON, Md. (AP) _ Mark Atkinson scored 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds Sunday to help Bucknell gain an 86-74 victory over Towson State for the East Coast Conference tournament championship and an automatic NCAA tournament berth.
Three other Bison players scored in double figures as Bucknell won its first ECC basketball championship. Bucknell entered the championship game as the first seed for the third time in four years, having lost the previous two title games in overtime.
Sixth-seeded Towson, trailing 50-34 with 19:27 to play, went on a 15-1 streak, narrowing the margin to 51-49 with 15:06 remaining. Bill Leonard sparked the run with eight points, including a pair of 3-point field goals.
Atkinson responded with six of Bucknell’s next 10 points as the Bison opened their lead back to 61-51 at 10:46. Towson got no closer than eight the rest of the game.
Bucknell took a 19-10 lead in the opening minutes, hitting eight of its first 10 shots, and extended the lead to 48-34 at halftime.
Mark Allsteadt scored 15 points for Bucknell. Chris Seneca scored 14 and Bo Heiden, 13. Seneca, who averaged 18 points and almost seven assists in the tourney’s three games, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Leonard paced the Tigers with 27 points. Marty Johnson and Michael Fink scored 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Johnson joined Atkinson and Seneca and Lehigh’s Daren Queenan and Mike Polaha on the all-tournament team. Polaha established a new tourney record with 42 points in an opening round win over Drexel, only to have Queenan break it with 49 in a semifinal loss to Bucknell.