LEWISBURG, Pa – Kimbal Mackenzie drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer, capping a dramatic 65-64 comeback victory for the Bucknell men’s basketball team over Colgate on Monday night in a battle of the Patriot League’s top two teams at Sojka Pavilion. The first-place Bison, trailing 64-56, scored nine straight points in the final 21 seconds, punctuated by Mackenzie’s three right in front of the Bison bench. Bucknell (18-9, 12-2 PL) now has a three-game lead over Colgate (14-11, 9-5 PL) with four games to play in the regular season.
OMG! Mackenzie at the buzzer and the Bison win!!!!!!!!!! What a finish!!!! Fans rushing the floor!!!!!— Bucknell MBasketball (@Bucknell_MBB) February 13, 2018
Mackenzie started the run by scoring on a put-back jumper in the paint and drawing a foul. He converted the free throw, and the Bison defense forced a Colgate turnover on the inbounds play. Mackenzie had his ensuing 3-point attempt blocked, but he grabbed his own miss and fed Nana Foulland for a layup. The Raiders were called for a flagrant foul on the play, leading to two free throw attempts for Foulland and possession of the ball for the Bison. Foulland split a pair at the line, cutting the Colgate lead to 64-62 with 11 seconds remaining.
After a Bison timeout, all five players touched the ball. Zach Thomas looked inside to Foulland, who kicked the ball out to Stephen Brown at the top of the key. Brown swung the ball to Bruce Moore, who then passed to Mackenzie in the corner. The ball was deflected on the way, but Mackenzie made a nice one-handed catch on the short hop, and with a defender flying out at him, he swished the game-winner. Mackenzie was immediately swarmed by his teammates on the bench, and they were soon joined by the students storming the court.
“I’m not sure how to explain what just happened,” said head coach Nathan Davis afterward. “Give coach [Matt] Langel and Colgate a lot of credit for coming in with a great desire to win and a great purpose. I thought they executed their plan I thought very well. Give our guys credit. They didn’t quit and found a way to make some shots. You just want guys to play together and make the right play. It was a pressure-packed situation, and they didn’t panic.”
Thomas led the Bison with 18 points, while Foulland registered a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Mackenzie and Brown scored 11 each. Jordan Robertson led Colgate with 11 points off the bench, while Will Rayman had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
This was a defensive struggle for most of the night, and it was Colgate with the upper hand throughout. The Raiders led for 37:54 of the 40 minutes, using an early 15-4 to go up 19-9 midway through the opening half. Colgate held the Bison to a season-low 20 points in the first half and led by 11 at the break, and the Raiders would go up by as many as 14 at 40-26 after a Rayman 3-pointer with 12:45 to go.
Bucknell, which averages a league-high 81.2 points per game coming in, could not get anything going offensively against a smothering Colgate defense until Jimmy Sotos knocked down a right-corner 3-pointer in response to the Rayman triple. The Bison were 1-for-14 from the arc before that shot, but they made five of their last 10 down the stretch.
Brown’s deep three with 2:31 to go cut it to 54-49, but the Raiders hit two shots that appeared to be daggers. First it was Rayman with a 4-point play to make it 58-49 with 2:04 left. Thomas was fouled shooting a three, and he made 2 of 3 at the line, but Jordan Swopshire followed with a 3-pointer that put Colgate up 61-51 with 1:31 to go.
Thomas was called for an offensive foul at the other end, and Colgate had possession of the ball and a 10-point lead as the clocked went inside one minute. The Bison got the stop they needed, with Foulland rebounding a Robertson miss. Brown rushed the ball up the court and made a 3-pointer with 48 seconds to go.
Bucknell fouled on the inbounds and Robertson made both free throws. Moore fed Foulland for a dunk, and then Sean O’Brien made 1 of 2 at the line for a 64-56 Colgate lead with 33 seconds left, setting up the improbable finish.
After shooting 25.0 percent (6-24) in the first half, the Bison shot 53.6 percent (15-28) in a 45-point second half, hitting 12 of 20 shots in the final 12:18.
Bucknell limited Colgate to 41.5 percent shooting, including 6 of 19 from the arc. The Raiders were 14-for-16 from the foul line, while Bucknell was 17-for-23.
With his 18 points, Thomas (1,607) joined Foulland (1,639) in the 1,600-point club. Brown (1,155) moved past Charles Lee into 28th place on the career scoring list, while Foulland and Thomas rank fifth and sixth, respectively.
Bucknell returns to action on Wednesday at home against Loyola, where it will look to clinch at least a share of the Patriot League regular-season title. Game time is 7 p.m. on the Patriot League Network.