Gamethread: Bucknell Bison (24-9) at Arizona Wildcats (23-11)

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Time: 6 p.m. PT

TV: ESPN2

Heading into the NIT after heartbreak, the No.8 seed Bucknell Bison, winners of the Patriot League regular season, are much like the Arizona Wildcats.

Both were on the outside looking in to the NCAA Tournament. Both made runs in their conference tournaments to put themselves into position to earn their automatic bids.

And in the end, both fell a possession short.

Like Arizona's 53-51 loss to Colorado that ended in a desperation three-pointer by Kyle Fogg, the Bison too had the game down to a single possession with less that 30 seconds to play in the Patriot League Championship game against Lehigh. But with six seconds left, a Cameron Ayers shot was blocked and recovered by Lehigh, and four free throws later Bucknell was out of chances to make the NCAA Tournament.

Such will be motivation for the Bison and the Wildcats when they clash in the first round of the NIT in McKale Center tonight.

A look at the key players

Bucknell

Mike Muscala 33 29.6 16.7 8.9 1.7 0.5 1.6 1.9 .501 .849 .389
Joe Willman 33 27.1 10.8 4.9 1.6 0.7 0.5 1.2 .529 .855 .000
Cameron Ayers 33 31.3 10.8 2.4 1.8 0.7 0.1 1.0 .440 .811 .457
Bryson Johnson 32 25.1 9.3 2.0 1.3 0.3 0.1 1.0 .393 .740 .409
Bryan Cohen 33 27.4 6.7 3.7 2.4 0.5 0.3 1.9 .366 .765 .293

Arizona

Kyle Fogg 35 32.0 13.7 3.8 2.3 1.1 0.4 1.8 .418 .800 .440
Solomon Hill 35 32.2 12.9 7.7 2.6 1.0 0.5 2.4 .507 .722 .387
Jesse Perry 35 30.5 12.1 7.6 1.3 0.4 0.6 1.5 .479 .703 .256
Nick Johnson 35 27.7 9.0 3.2 2.3 0.7 0.5 1.8 .378 .667 .339
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