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Spear scores 20 to carry Bucknell past American 72-68

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Kahliel Spear scored a career-high 20 points and Bucknell hung on to beat American 72-68 on Saturday, a day the Bison retired the jersey of former star Mike Muscala.

John Meeks added 11 points and eight rebounds for Bucknell (10-17, 6-8 Patriot League), which snapped its five-game losing streak, and Walter Ellis scored 10.

The Bison were up 66-59 entering the last minute when Meeks was fouled. He made 1 of 2 free throws before the Eagles scored the five points to close within 67-64 with 26 seconds left.

After Bucknell went 1 of 5 from the line, Jimmy Sotos finally made a pair of throws at 24 seconds and from there the Bison made 3 of 6 to just hold on. They went 6 of 14 in the last minute.

Sa'eed Nelson hit two milestones as he scored a season-high 28 points with four assists and had eight rebounds for the Eagles (13-12, 9-5) and Josh Alexander added a season-high 12. Nelson now has 2,008 career points for third on the Bison list and needs 49 points to break the school record. His career assist total jumped to 503 and he needs three more to move into third on the school list.

Muscala, who joins school Hall of Famers Hal Danzig and Al Leslie with retired numbers, was Patriot League Player of the Year in 2011 and 2013, a four-time all-league player and at the end of his senior season he was also the Defensive and Scholar-Athlete of the year. His 2,036 points broke Leslie's school record and he had 1,093 rebounds. He currently plays for the Oklahoma Thunder, the only Bison to every play in an NBA game.

American defeated Bucknell 61-60 on Jan. 15. Bucknell plays Holy Cross on the road on Monday. American plays Navy at home on Wednesday.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights, http://www.automatedinsights.com/ap, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.com