Bucknell Men's Basketball Clinches Patriot League Regular-Season Title with 77-69 win at Colgate
Feb. 20, 2011
**Check back on BucknellBison.com on Monday for Patriot League Tournament ticket information**
HAMILTON, N.Y. -- A 31-point, 26-rebound performance by the bench carried Bucknell to a come-from-behind 77-69 win at Colgate on Sunday. The Bison earned their 20th win of the season and clinched the 2011 Patriot League regular-season championship, assuring them of home-court advantage throughout the league tournament.
Now 20-8 overall and 11-1 in the Patriot League, Bucknell had five players score in double figures, two grab double-digit rebounds and another with double-figure assists. Freshman Cameron Ayers led the way with 14 points, including four straight pressure free throws in the final 30 seconds after Colgate had reduced a nine-point deficit down to two.
Bryson Johnson went 4-for-8 from 3-point range to pace a 50-percent deep shooting day by the team, and he finished with 12 points. G.W. Boon came off the bench to record his first career double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Darryl Shazier added 11 points and equaled his career high with 10 assists, and Enoch Andoh had his second straight big game off the bench with six points and 10 rebounds. Andoh, who played 16 important minutes with Mike Muscala in foul trouble, tied his career rebounding high, set against Colgate two seasons ago.
Bryan Cohen added 10 points and made a big defensive play in the final seconds to seal the win.
Nick Pascale had a monster game for Colgate (7-20, 4-8) with 18 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots. Joe Hoban had 16 points and seven rebounds on his Senior Day, and Yaw Gyawu added 13 points and six boards.
Colgate had topped the 90-point barrier twice in its last five games, and it appeared headed there again after making its first six shots of the night. Colgate shot 56 percent in the first half and led 38-33 at the break, then scored points on its first three possessions of the second half to go up 43-33.
But the Bison defense buckled down in the second half, holding the Raiders to 31-percent shooting, including 1-for-10 from the arc, in the second half.
Down 10, Bucknell made its first mini-run early in the second half when Shazier fed Joe Willman for a layup and Bryan Cohen for a 3-pointer, then scored himself on a pull-up jumper. Colgate stretched the lead back to seven on two buckets inside by Pascale, but a driving layup by Shazier and a deep three by Johnson made it a two-point game.
After Gyawu brought the large Cotterell Court crowd of 1,013 to its feet with a transition jam to put the Raiders ahead 51-47, the Bison countered with an 8-0 run to take the lead for good.
Willman tied it with two free throws, then a driving layup by Cohen and an Ayers jumper gave the Bison a 55-51 lead, forcing a Colgate timeout.
Inside the eight-minute mark, Muscala scored on an inbounds play and turned it into a 3-point play, but seconds later Muscala picked up his fourth foul while trying to trap Hoban 94 feet from the hoop. A minute later Shazier scored on a sweet scoop shot over Pascale, but then he went out with his fourth foul on a charging call with 6:09 left.
Bucknell actually stretched its lead with Muscala and Shazier on the bench, as Boon hit a 3-pointer and then fed Cohen for a reverse layup on a nice backdoor play. That gave Bucknell a 69-60 lead with 4:12 left, but Colgate had one run left.
The Bison committed only five turnovers in the game, but one of them led to a Mike Venezia 3-pointer with 1:47 to play, cutting the Raiders' deficit to 69-65. Boon scored for Bucknell, but then Sterling Melville hit two free throws and then Ayers was called for a foul going for an offensive rebound. Mitch Rolls hit two more from the stripe to make it 71-69 with 34.8 seconds left.
After a timeout, Bucknell beat the Colgate trap, and Ayers was fouled just past midcourt. The freshman calmly stroked both ends of the 1-and-1 to put the Bison back up by three. At the other end, Rolls lost control of the ball trying to drive baseline, and Ayers snatched the loose ball. Ayers made two more in a 1-and-1 situation with 20.7 seconds left to make it a two-possession game.
Cohen then contested Venezia's shot from the left corner, and Muscala rebounded and hit two clinching free throws with seven seconds left.
Bucknell went 9-for-11 from the foul line and 8-for-16 from the 3-point arc. After struggling in the first half, the Bison shot 52 percent from the field in the second and finished at 42.6 percent for the game. Bucknell had 13 assists and only five turnovers.
Colgate came out of the gates flying, making its first six shots of the day en route to a quick 13-8 lead. Bucknell went back ahead on two straight threes by Boon, but the Raiders countered with a 13-0 run to go up 28-18. Pat Moore drained two 3-pointers and Mitch Rolls added a 3-point play to highlight the surge.
Johnson got hot from long distance, hitting three in a span of 4:17 to help the Bison get back within three points. A Gyawu jumper in the lane and two free throws by Pascale gave Colgate a 38-31 lead before Andoh scored at the buzzer to make it 38-33 at the half.
Bucknell is assured of being the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament, which gets underway March 2 at Sojka Pavilion. The Bison have a two-game lead over American with two games remaining, and the Bison swept the season series from the Eagles.
Now 18-2 since Dec. 1 and 10-6 on the road this season, Bucknell has won 20 games in a season for the 10th time in program history.
Bucknell returns to action on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at home against Lehigh. The Bison defeated the Mountain Hawks 81-68 in Bethlehem last month.