LEWISBURG, Pa. -- On Monday, Feb. 12, the Bucknell men's basketball team seemed to be headed for certain defeat. In a nationally televised game against Colgate at Sojka Pavilion, the Bison trailed by eight points with just 21 seconds remaining in regulation. A loss would have been Bucknell's second in a row, and it would have reduced its lead in the Patriot League standings to just a single game over the Raiders. Instead, the Bison staged one of the unlikeliest comebacks in college basketball history, scoring nine points in those final 21 seconds to stun Colgate, 65-64. The final three points came off the hand of guard Kimbal Mackenzie, who buried a 3-pointer from deep in the right corner as the buzzer sounded, capping off a remarkable game-winning sequence in which all five Bucknell players on the floor -- and even one Colgate player -- touched the ball.
On Wednesday, Mackenzie's shot was named the Patriot League Top Play of the Year, after several rounds of online fan voting. The play was originally seeded 15th in a 16-play bracket, but it pulled in enough votes in each round to cruise through to the top spot. It was an all-Bucknell final, as Mackenzie beat out field hockey's Chloe Poltonavage, whose sensational, back-to-the-goal swat out of mid-air against Columbia finished as the runner-up play of the year.
Chloe Poltonavage and her mid-air deflection for a goal has made it to the final round of the @PatriotLeague Top Play Challenge. You can vote for the @Bucknell_Bison field hockey forward right now @PatriotLeagueTV. pic.twitter.com/cKAy5nuxm8— Patriot League Network | PatriotLeague.tv (@PatriotLeagueTV) June 19, 2018
At Sojka Pavilion with 21 seconds remaining, Mackenzie started the improbable 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.
Earlier, Bucknell's deficit was 10 points with 49 seconds left. It was just the sixth time in NCAA history that a team overcame a double-digit deficit in the final minute to win a game, and Bucknell became the first team to do so in regulation.
NCAA RECORD, DEFICIT OVERCOME WITH LESS THAN 1:00 TO WIN GAME
1. 12 points with 0:33 left -- Texas A&M def. Northern Iowa (NCAA Tourn.) (2OT), 3/20/16
2. 11 points with 0:59 left -- UNLV def. San Diego State (OT), 2/12/05
3. 11 points with 0:59 left -- Nevada def. New Mexico (OT), 1/7/17
4. 10 points with 0:48 left -- Arizona def. Houston (OT), 1/24/09
5. 10 points with 0:49 left -- Bucknell def. Colgate, 2/12/18
6. 10 points with 0:55 left -- Duke def. Maryland (OT), 1/27/01
Not only was the final sequence voted as the league's Top Play of the Year, but it was featured as the lead story on ESPN's SportsCenter that night.