Nevada beats Bucknell 75-67 in NIT second round
RENO, Nev. (AP) Bucknell coach Dave Paulson said his plan on defense was to stop Nevada's leading scorer Deonte Burton.
That allowed Olek Czyz to take advantage for the Wolf Pack.
Czyz scored 24 points and the Wolf Pack beat Bucknell 75-67 in the second round of the NIT on Sunday.
"I felt like I had a mismatch all night," Czyz said. "I just felt I had to be aggressive all night and I was. I was just going at them. No matter who was guarding me, I found a way to score."
The No. 5 seed Wolf Pack (28-6) will take on the winner of Monday's Illinois State-Stanford game.
No. 8 seed Bucknell (25-10) was down 13 at halftime 42-29, before rallying to within three points with 44.6 seconds left after two Mike Muscala free throws.
Bison guard Bryson Johnson missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with 30 seconds left. Then forward Joe Willman committed a turnover with about 15 seconds left and Nevada's Burton sealed the game with two free throws.
Burton, the Western Athletic Conference player of the year, finished with 10 points, five below his average.
"We had a good lead there, but they came back which we knew they would," Nevada coach David Carter said. "We held on. These guys finished up strong."
For Bucknell, Muscala scored a game-high 25 points with 15 rebounds, but had six turnovers.
Nevada double-teamed him throughout the game, which opened up perimeter shots for Cameron Ayers, who had 21 points including four 3-pointers.
Muscala and Ayers combined for 15 field goals, the rest of the team had just seven.
"You got to give credit to Nevada, that's a good team," Paulson said.
"We scratched and clawed our way back, and I'm proud of them, but we just didn't have enough."
Czyz came out aggressive to start the game and had 12 of Nevada's first 18 points.
Three-time Patriot League defensive player of the year Bryan Cohen guarded Burton to start the game and switched to Czyz early on. The 6-foot-6, 213-pound Cohen couldn't handle the 6-foot-8, 240-pound Czyz.
When the double teams came, Czyz created contact and got to the free throw line, where he hit 9 of 11.
"It became pretty apparent pretty quickly that we had no chance of guarding him," Paulson said.
Updated March 18, 2012