Bucknell Men Grind Out 73-59 Win at Colgate
Jan. 16, 2013
HAMILTON, N.Y. - Mike Muscala had another big night with 25 points, 10 rebounds, seven blocks and four assists, and brand new 1,000-point scorer Joe Willman made some clutch plays down the stretch to lift Bucknell to a hard-fought 73-59 road win over Colgate on Wednesday night at Cotterell Court. The Bison improved to 15-3 overall and 2-0 in the Patriot League, while Colgate dropped to 6-11, 0-2.
Bryson Johnson added 15 points, Cameron Ayers had 14 and Willman 10 for the Bison, who are off to their second-best 18-game start in program history. The Bison improved to 7-3 on the road this season, tying them for the most road wins in the country, and they defeated Colgate for the seventh straight time.
Bucknell was stellar defensively in the second half, holding Colgate to 0-for-6 3-point shooting and 27 points in what was a tight game throughout. The Bison forced 14 turnovers, had 10 steals and blocked nine shots on the night.
Murphy Burnatowski scored 17 points to lead Colgate, while Damon Sherman-Newsome had 13 off the bench.
Bucknell's lead was just three at the half at 35-32, but the Bison stretched it out a bit early in the second. Muscala and Johnson hit two buckets each in an 8-2 run that gave them a nine-point advantage at 45-36. Colgate got right back in it on a 3-point play and another baseline jumper by Burnatowski.
The Bison got it back up to nine again on a Muscala baseline jumper and a Johnson 3-pointer off a Muscala kick-out from the post. After a bank shot by Sherman-Newsome, Muscala had a tip-dunk and a free throw to push the lead to double digits for the first time at 55-45.
Johnson made a terrific flying no-look pass to Ayers for a 3-pointer to make it an 11-point game at 58-47. Four straight points by Sherman-Newsome got Colgate back within seven at 60-53.
Willman, who had been quiet in the second half to that point, knocked down both ends of a 1-and-1 then buried a baseline jumper off a feed from Kaspar. Willman then contested a Burnatowski 3-point attempt, Muscala rebounded, and Ayers made two free throws at the other end to get the lead all the way up to 13 at 66-53.
Later, Willman grabbed the offensive rebound off a missed free throw, which led to two more charity tosses for Ayers and a commanding 14-point lead with 1:32 to play.
A fast-moving first half featured six ties and four lead changes. It was 21-all when Ayers knocked down a three off a feed from Johnson. At the two-minute mark Muscala put back a miss then fed a cutting Steven Kaspar for a runner off the glass to push the lead up to 32-27.
Colgate got two back on a goaltending call against Muscala. The Raiders then jumped Kaspar with a trap just inside midcourt, but he was able to pass out of it, resulting in a Johnson trey from the right corner to give Bucknell its largest lead of six points at 35-29. But Pat Moore quickly answered with a 3-pointer for Colgate, and the Bison lead was just 35-32 at the break.
Fittingly, Willman reached the 1,000-pioint mark with one of his patented spot-up jumpers at the 9:51 mark of the first half. He became the 37th member of the Bucknell 1,000-point club, and he joined teammates Muscala and Johnson in that exclusive fraternity. Bucknell joins Santa Clara as the only programs in the nation with three active 1,000-point scorers.
Bucknell outscored Colgate 18-4 from the free throw line, going 18-for-22 on the night. The Bison shot 45.5 percent overall and went 5-for-11 from the 3-point arc. Johnson hit three of those treys, moving him within three of Kevin Bettencourt's career record of 294.
Brian Fitzpatrick had six points and five rebounds in a five-minute stretch in the first half to lead a strong bench effort.
The Bison play their next two games at home, first on Saturday at 7 p.m. against Lafayette and then the following Wednesday, Jan. 23 against Lehigh at 6 p.m. Please note the special starting time for the Lehigh game to accommodate the CBS Sports Network national telecast.