Starkey grabbed a rebound and scored with 40 seconds left, then grabbed a defensive board and hit a free throw after American's John Schoof missed a 3-pointer.
Cold-shooting American (17-12, 13-5 Patriot), hit 33.9 percent and had its title hopes dashed.
After eight lead changes in the first 13 minutes, back-to-back 3-pointers by Cameron Ayers and John Azzinaro lifted Bucknell (16-13, 11-7) into the lead and the Bison held a narrow advantage the rest of the way.
American was never out of range, closing to 51-49 on a pair of Jesse Reed free throws with 1:11 to play. Reed scored 16 but top scorers Schoof and Darius Gardner were held to 2 and 6.
Chris Hass led Bucknell with 15 points. Starkey added 9 with 11 boards.
- Sports & Recreation