WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Cameron Ayers scored 18 points to help Bucknell pull the upset and beat Purdue 70-65 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams at the 2K Sports Classic.
Mike Muscala had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Bryson Johnson added 14 points for the Bison. Donnie Hale scored 15 points, D.J. Byrd and Ronnie Johnson each added 12 for the Boilermakers.
Terone Johnson, Purdue's top scorer during exhibition play, sat out with an ankle injury.
Bucknell led 68-65 in the closing seconds, but Byrd, Purdue's best 3-point shooter, missed an open 3-pointer that could have tied the game. Bucknell made 20 of 25 free throws while Purdue made just 7 of 15. The Bison also out-rebounded the Boilermakers 36-33.
Ayers, an 83 percent free-throw shooter last season, made one of two free throws with 19 seconds left to give the Bison a 66-63 lead. Anthony Johnson quickly scored on the other end for Purdue to cut Bucknell's lead to 66-65.
The Boilermakers fouled Bryson Johnson with 9.5 seconds left, and he made both free throws to give Bucknell a 68-65 lead.
After Byrd missed the 3-pointer and Bucknell rebounded, Joe Willman was fouled and made both free throws for the Bison to seal the deal.
Hale's bank shot in the closing seconds of the first half gave Purdue a 33-27 lead at halftime. The Boilermakers held Muscala, last year's Patriot League Player of the Year, to four points on 2 for 5 shooting in the first half.
Five freshmen played in the first half for Purdue, combining for 23 points and 11 rebounds before the break.
A free-throw line jumper by Muscala two minutes into the second half cut Purdue's lead to 33-31, but Anthony Johnson quickly answered with a floater.
Willman's 3-point play gave Bucknell a 36-35 lead with 16:21 remaining. Another 3-point play, this one from Ayers, pushed Bucknell's lead to 39-36, and a dunk by Muscala pushed the Bison lead to four.
Purdue came roaring back. Rapheal Davis made a layup, then a short jumper, to put the Boilermakers up 43-41. Bucknell took a 46-43 lead on a 3-point play by Ayers, but a 3-pointer by Byrd put the Boilermakers back up 50-49 with 8:30 remaining.
Again, Bucknell responded. Bryson Johnson's 3-pointer gave the Bison a 61-57 lead with 4:09 to go. Bryson Johnson's fade-away made it 63-58.
Byrd's 3-point play made it 63-61 and setup the final two minutes.