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Monday, March 19, 2012

CWOSSA Alumni: Patriot League Teams Come Up Just Short in Respective Tournaments

There was certainly some CWOSSA flavour in NCAA arenas on Sunday as both Bryson Johnson (Bucknell - NIT) and Stefan Cvrkalj (Lehigh - NCAA) were in action.

Johnson's Bison were first up with a 3:00pm second-round NIT game against the University of Nevada.  Though Nevada held a double-digit lead (as many as 12) in the second half, Bucknell battled back to get things within 3 points (70-67) and :44 remaining in the game.  Unfortunately, they would not score again and the 'Pack hit five free-throws down the stretch for the final margin.

Johnson played 31 minutes, scoring 6 points (1-8 FG, 1-7 3PT, 3-4 FT), and adding 3 rebounds, 2 assists and one steal.

Meanwhile, later in the evening, Stefan Cvrkalj (Lehigh) became the first CWOSSA player -- to my knowledge -- to participate in the NCAA's second round since Cameron Heights grad Dave Kipfer was a key member of Providence's Final Four team back in 1987 as a senior (11.3 PPG).

Cvrkalj saw action late in Lehigh's game against Xavier as part of Coach Brett Reed's "offensive substitution" package.  Cvrkalj went 0-1 from the floor and grabbed an offensive rebound during his on-court appearance.

As most of you know, Lehigh dropped the game 70-58, though it was tied at 52-52 before Xavier closed on an 18-6 run.

Despite the losses, both teams obviously did their respective schools proud by pulling a couple of upsets --- Lehigh's 75-70 win over Duke obviously being the more impressive of the two.  That fact wasn't lost on LU students, who lined up to welcome the team back to campus early this morning at 2:45am (!).  Here's the video, courtesy of LehighValleyLive.com:

We can look forward to another year of great opportunities for both of these players; Johnson, a junior, will have one more year of eligibility at Bucknell while Cvrkalj still has another three years to play at Lehigh.

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