LEWISBURG — Princeton scored 17 straight points as part of a 25-3 run early in the second half and then withstood a furious Bucknell rally to post an 87-77 win on Saturday afternoon at Sojka Pavilion. Jimmy Sotos scored 20 points and Avi Toomer added 19 points and seven rebounds to lead the Bison.
Jaelin Llewellyn and Ryan Schwieger tallied 17 points each to lead five Princeton players in double figures in the scoring column. The Tigers snapped a five-game losing streak to start the season, while the Bison fell to 3-6.
Bucknell shot 53.3 percent from the field and hit 6 of 12 from 3-point range on the way to a 43-39 halftime lead. John Meeks converted a layup in the opening minute of the second half to give the Bison their largest lead of six points, but the Tigers took control shortly thereafter. Llewellyn and Schwieger hit 3-pointers, and later Llewellyn’s 3-point play gave Princeton a 50-47 lead.
Andrew Funk (14 points) tied it at 50 with a 3-pointer, but those would be Bucknell’s final points for nearly five minutes as the Tigers rattled off 17 straight. Princeton hit its first four 3-pointers and started the half 7-for-8. Llewellyn, who scored 15 of his 17 in the second half, connected on a trey at the 13:06 mark to give Princeton a 67-50 lead.
Sotos powered to the basket for a layup to end the run, and as the Bison started piling up defensive stops they got themselves back in the game. At the other end, Funk scored on two straight drives to the basket, and Bucknell pulled within 70-66 when freshman Malachi Rhodes came up with a steal near midcourt and took it all the way for a breakaway dunk.
Bucknell’s 16-3 run might have been more if not for a pair of missed front ends of 1-and-1s and a couple of other close-range misses, and Princeton heated back up from long distance to pull away once again. Two threes from Schwieger, the last a desperation heave at the end of the shot clock, pushed the margin back into double digits, and Drew Friberg followed with another triple from the corner to make it an 85-71 game with 3:29 to go.
Princeton went 9-for-15 from the 3-point arc in the second half and 13-for-25 for the game. The Tigers shot 50.8 percent overall.
Bucknell played shorthanded in the frontcourt as starting center Paul Newman could not go due to injury, and then Meeks left early in the second half and did not return. Forward Bruce Moore was in foul trouble most of the game and departed with his fifth with 5:30 remaining. Rhodes gave the Bison a nice lift off the bench with two points, three rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots in 17 minutes.
Bucknell shot 46.6 percent overall and hit 7 of 19 from long range. The Bison committed only seven turnovers but were outrebounded 36-25.
Next up is a trip to Rider on Tuesday at 7 p.m. on ESPN+. The Broncs are 4-2 on the season after beating Vermont on Nov. 24.
Princeton 87, Bucknell 77
Saturday at Bucknell University
Jaelin Llewellyn 6-14 2-4 17; Richmond Aririguzoh 5-9 5-6 15; Tosan Evbuomwan 3-5 3-4 10; Ryan Langborg 3-5 0-0 8; Drew Friberg 1-5 2-2 5; Ryan Schwieger 6-9 2-2 17; Jerome Desrosiers 4-6 0-0 10; Ethan Wright 1-4 0-0 3; Elijah Barnes 1-1 0-0 2; Jose Morales 0-1 0-0 0; Max Johns 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 30-59 14-18 87.
Jimmy Sotos 7-9 5-5 20; Avi Toomer 5-12 7-9 19; Andrew Funk 5-11 2-3 14; Bruce Moore 2-8 1-2 5; Kahliel Spear 2-4 0-0 5; John Meeks 3-7 1-2 8; Malachi Rhodes 1-4 0-0 2; Ben Robertson 1-1 0-0 2; Walter Ellis 1-1 0-0 2; Xander Rice 0-0 0-0 0; Jake van der Heijden 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 27-58 16-21 77.
Halftime: Bucknell, 43-39. 3-point goals: Princeton 13-25 (Schwieger 3-4, Llewellyn 3-5, Desrosiers 2-3, Langborg 2-4, Evbuomwan 1-2, Wright 1-3, Friberg 1-4); Bucknell 7-19 (Funk 2-3, Toomer 2-8, Sotos 1-1, Spear 1-1, Meeks 1-3, van der Heijden 0-1, Moore 0-2). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Princeton 36 (Evbuomwan 8); Bucknell 25 (Toomer 7). Assists: Princeton 16 (Schwieger 4); Bucknell 10 (Toomer 3). Technical fouls: None. A: 1,959.