Bucknell Men Ride Fast Start to 65-61 Win over Colgate
Jan. 26, 2008
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Justin Castleberry tied his career high with 22 points and Bucknell used a red-hot start and a strong finish to hold off Colgate 65-61 Saturday night at sold-out Sojka Pavilion. The Bison (9-10, 4-1) won their 38th straight home Patriot League game and moved back into a tie for first place in the league standings with Lafayette's 60-55 loss at Lehigh.
Bucknell seemingly buried the Raiders (9-10, 1-4) with a 23-0 run to start the game, but Colgate whittled the lead to just two with 11 minutes to play. The Bison never let the Raiders get even, however, then pulled away again with an 11-0 run. A 2-for-7 stretch from the free-throw line in the final 1:11 made the home fans nervous, but Colgate never had a possession in the final minute where it could shoot for a tie or the lead.
John Griffin compiled 10 points, three assists and four steals for Bucknell, and Darren Mastropaolo and G.W. Boon added eight points apiece. Willie Morse scored 19 off the bench to lead Colgate, while Kyle Roemer finished with 12 points and Kendall Chones 11.
Just three nights after falling behind by a big margin early in a loss at Lafayette, the Bison came flying out of the gates in this one. Castleberry opened the game with back-to-back 3-pointers, and Bucknell made eight of its first 11 shots in the Sojka Pavilion-record 23-0 start.
Six different players scored in the run. Griffin had a 3-pointer and a 3-point play in succession, Mastropaolo cut down the lane for a layup, and Stephen Tyree had a baseline jumper, two free throws and two assists. When the Bison went to the bench about seven minutes in, Darryl Shazier buried a 3-pointer and Todd O'Brien capped the run with a short jumper.
While the offense was scoring on nearly every possession, the defense was terrific early on. In the first 10 minutes the Bison forced 11 turnovers and held Colgate to 0-for-10 shooting.
Colgate finally scored on two free throws by Morse at the 11:25 mark, and Morse accounted for the team's first field goal on a 3-pointer with 10:12 left in the first half.
The Raiders made up some of the damage before halftime, pulling within 14 at 39-25. Morse scored 10 points in the half, and a 3-point play by Roemer and a breakaway jam by Alex Woodhouse helped cut into the lead.
Castleberry opened the second stanza just like the first, canning a left-corner trey to make it 42-25, but the Raiders went on a 19-4 run over the next eight minutes, pulling within 46-44 on Morse's layup at the 10:59 mark. Backup guard Mike Venezia scored seven points in the run and Chones picked up two inside buckets.
Castleberry stopped the surge with a drive to the basket, then after Daniel Waddy hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it 48-45 with 8:51 to play, the Bison regained control.
Griffin made a nice bounce pass to a cutting Rob Thomas for a layup, then Castleberry followed with another slashing layup with 7:58 left. Those marked Bucknell's first back-to-back baskets since the end of the 23-0 run, and put it back up by seven at 52-45.
Mastropaolo then finished a 3-point play after another Tyree assist, his fourth of the night. After Thomas scored inside, Griffin made two free throws to cap the 11-0 run and give the Bison a 14-point lead back at 59-45 with 5:43 to play.
Bucknell pressured Colgate into five turnovers in that stretch, as the Raiders went 4:17 without even attempting a field goal.
It was still a 13-point lead inside five minutes remaining when Colgate scored eight points in a row, the last six coming thanks to some aggressive offensive rebounding. After a Waddy layup, Chones scored on a put-back to make it 61-52. Then the Raiders grabbed three consecutive offensive caroms, all after missed 3-pointers, leading to two free throws by Waddy. One possession later Tim Pounds put back a second offensive rebound, and it was a 61-56 game with 2:02 to play.
Bucknell burned most of the shot clock at the other end and Tyree finished a drive down the lane to make it a seven-point game with 1:24 left. The Bison then went ice cold at the foul line, with Tyree, Castleberry and Griffin all missing front ends of 1-and-1 situations. Leading 63-58, Griffin made 1 of 2 before Morse canned a 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left. Griffin was fouled on the inbounds and made 1 of 2 again to make it a two-possession game.
The victory was Bucknell's seventh in a row over Colgate, and the Bison improved to 6-3 at home this season and 55-12 all-time in Sojka Pavilion.
Colgate outrebounded the Bison 44-25, with 21 of those coming at the offensive end. The Raiders could not overcome 22 turnovers, however. Colgate shot 38.3 percent from the floor and 26.9 percent (7-26) from 3-point range.
Thomas, a senior co-captain, made his first career start and finished with four points, three rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes. Tyree, who had scored in double figures in four of his last five games and was shooting 80 percent from the field in league play, was 2 of 4 from the floor and cashed in six points, four rebounds and four assists.
The Bison shot 47.8 percent overall, 36.8 percent (7-19) from the arc. Bucknell was 12 of 13 from the foul line before the 2-for-7 finish.
Bucknell is back in action on Wednesday night at home against Lehigh.