HAMILTON, N.Y. – Zach Thomas recorded 17 points and 15 rebounds, Nana Foulland also had a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards, and Bucknell rallied from nine points down to beat Colgate 63-51 in a defensive struggle at Cotterell Court on Monday night.
Stephen Brown scored eight of his 10 points in a decisive stretch early in the second half, and Bucknell won its fourth straight game to get to 11-8 overall and rejoin Boston University atop the Patriot League standings at 5-1. The Bison have now won 7 of 8 and 11 of 15 heading into a short-turnaround trip to Loyola on Wednesday.
On a night when buckets were extremely hard to come by, the Bison continued their recent trend of stellar defense, cooling off a team that had won five of its last seven. They held Colgate (8-9, 3-3 PL) to 27.1-percent shooting on its home floor and limited dangerous scorers Will Rayman (14.8 ppg) and Jordan Burns (11.7 ppg) to a combined 1-for-22 shooting. Bucknell also controlled the glass, outrebounding the Raiders 48-33.
The Bison have kept five of their six Patriot League opponents to 41-percent shooting or worse, including four under 40 percent.
Bucknell used that strong defense to hang around despite a dreadful offensive opening 20 minutes. Down 25-16 after a rash of turnovers and a field-goal percentage hovering in the low-20s, the Bison kept Colgate scoreless (0-for-10 FG) over the final 4:19 to climb within a pair at 25-23 at halftime.
But Brown got them going with two tough treys and a spinning pull-up in the lane in the first four minutes of the second stanza, giving the Bison the lead for good. Up 35-33, Bucknell broke it open with a 15-1 run over a seven-minute stretch and led by double digits the rest of the way.
Kimbal Mackenzie, who scored nine points in his first start since returning from injury, opened that decisive surge with a 3-pointer. Thomas scored in the lane, and after Burns made 1 of 2 at the line for his only point of the night, Foulland hit a jump-hook from the short corner to lead off a run of 10 points in a row.
With nine minutes to play Ben Robertson chased down his own missed jumper near the free throw line, then drove and dished to Foulland for a 3-point play and a 50-34 Bison lead. Bucknell would go on to lead by as many as 17 after another Mackenzie triple, and Colgate never got closer than 12.
Sean O’Brien paced Colgate with 14 points, while Jordan Swopshire had 11, but only two in the second half after he connected on three first-half treys.
Bucknell shot 37.7 percent for the game and hit 6 of 22 from the arc and a strong 17 of 20 from the foul line. After shooting 29.6 percent with 14 turnovers in the first half, the Bison improved to 46.2 percent with four turnovers in the second stanza. They came in to the game ranked 12th nationally in second-half scoring at 44.3 points per game. Bucknell had 40 in this one after producing 23 in the opening 20 minutes.
Thomas, the Patriot League’s scoring and rebounding leader, recorded his eighth double-double of the season and 20th of his career, while Foulland notched his sixth of the year and 21st of his career. It was Thomas’s third game this season with at least 15 rebounds.
With his 13 points, Foulland jumped all the way up from 10th to a tie for seventh on Bucknell’s all-time scoring list with 1,529 points. He surpassed Mike Joseph and Cameron Ayers and tied Chris McNaughton for the No. 7 spot. He needs just six points to match Jaye Andrews for sixth place. Foulland also tied McNaughton for sixth on the career chart for made field goals with 609.
Now 5-1 after six conference games for the fourth year in a row, Bucknell goes for its fifth straight road win on Wednesday at Loyola. The game will be televised by Stadium TV and will stream on the Patriot League Network at PatriotLeague.tv.
Some postgame thoughts on the defensive effort from Coach Davis after tonight’s win at Colgate. pic.twitter.com/RRdpkldc9s— Bucknell MBasketball (@Bucknell_MBB) January 16, 2018
More from Coach Davis on Stephen Brown taking over early in the second half and the short turnaround before playing at Loyola on Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/Aj5M0ATQtX— Bucknell MBasketball (@Bucknell_MBB) January 16, 2018