Bucknell vs Lehigh Preview and Prediction
Bucknell vs Lehigh Preview
At a glance
Bucknell and Lehigh clash on Saturday in a showdown for first place in the Patriot League. Both teams come in with 4-1 conference records. The Bison just completed a perfect three-game homestand with wins over Colgate, American and Holy Cross. The Mountain Hawks bounced back from a loss at Colgate with an 83-76 home win over American on Wednesday. Army and Navy sit one game off the lead at 3-2, and those two teams will also meet on Saturday at West Point.
Lehigh and Bucknell has developed into a strong rivalry, with one of the two teams winning six of the last nine Patriot League Championships. Last season, the teams split with each winning on their home court. In the most recent meeting, the Mountain Hawks picked up a thrilling 92-89 win over the Bison in overtime.
The Sestina Show
If Bucknell is going to take sole possession of first place in the Patriot League, senior forward Nate Sestina will need to play his usual role for the Bison. His usual role is do-it-all.
In his last outing, Sestina scored a career-high 32 points on 11-of-11 shooting. For the season he is leading Bucknell in scoring (17.1), rebounding (8.0), free-throw percentage (.882) and 3-point percentage (.472).
His improvement from last season to this year is mind-blowing. A lot of it had to do with playing time, he is getting two-times the amount of minutes but has increased his scoring average from six points to 17, along with basically every other statistical category seeing an uptick in production.
Lehigh’s best player, Pat Andree, will be matched up with Sestina all game long. Both are similar in size (Sestina is 6’8, 240lbs| Andree is 6’7, 225lbs) and both lead their team in scoring. How Andree will handle the weight and strength disparity down low against Sestina could be the difference.
Andree is scoring 15.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Like Sestina, he can knock down the three-pointer shooting 47 percent from deep this year.
LINE: -4 Lehigh
Dan’s Bet: Bucknell +4
Score Prediction: Bucknell 76 Lehigh 74
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