Bucknell Comeback Falls Short This Time, Bison Season Ends at Colgate, 54-40
March 9, 2008
HAMILTON, N.Y. - For the second straight Patriot League Tournament game Bucknell made a spirited comeback from a 17-point second-half deficit. Unlike last week's triple-overtime win at Navy, this time the rally fell short, and Bucknell's season came to an end after a 54-40 semifinal loss at third-seeded Colgate at jam-packed Cotterell Court.
Kyle Roemer scored 25 points for the Raiders (18-13), including three clutch baskets down the stretch after Bucknell had cut that 17-point deficit down to four in the final four minutes. Kendall Chones added 11 points for Colgate, which advances to play top-seeded American in the Patriot League championship game on Friday.
Justin Castleberry scored 12 points off the bench for the Bison, who finish the season 12-19. Senior Darren Mastropaolo scored 11 points in his final collegiate contest. Fellow seniors John Griffin and Rob Thomas also saw their terrific careers come to an end.
After a frustrating first half in which it managed only three field goals and 10 points, Bucknell came charging back behind its own stellar defense in the second period. Trailing 29-12 after an Alex Woodhouse basket in the first minute of the second half, the Bison embarked on a 20-7 run to get back in it.
While holding Colgate to 2-for-14 and 5-for-23 to open the half, Bucknell's offense began to heat up. Castleberry's second 3-pointer of the half eight minutes in got it back to single digits at 31-22. After Roemer hit a baseline jumper for Colgate's only points in a 10-minute stretch, Castleberry tallied four straight and Rob Thomas made a spinning layup to make it 33-28 with 8:17 to play.
Two minutes later Stephen Tyree tipped in a Griffin missed 3-pointer, and the Bison were within four at 36-32. But Roemer, who scored 32 points in the Raiders' semifinal win over Lafayette, hit a long 3-pointer with 6:30 left. Bucknell got back within four once more after Mastropaolo scored inside and Griffin made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 39-35 with 3:23 to play.
The Bison might have had a chance to regain possession down four when Daniel Waddy tossed up a 30-foot leaner as the shot clock expired, but Chones rebounded the long miss and was fouled. He made 1 of 2 free throws and the Bison never got closer than four the rest of the way.
With 1:55 left Roemer swished a fallaway jumper from deep in the right corner to make it 42-36, then Waddy intercepted a cross-court pass and made two free throws with 1:33 left, giving the Raiders a 44-36 lead. Roemer provided the final dagger with a steal and breakaway layup while being fouled intentionally by Castleberry. That gave Colgate a 48-36 lead, and the Raiders made their final six free throws.
Bucknell had all sorts of trouble at the offensive end in the first half and went to the locker room behind 27-10. The Bison had as many turnovers as shot attempts (13) in the first half and were held to only three field goals. Stephen Tyree's 17-foot jumper 8:20 into the game was the team's first field goal, but the Bison trailed only 10-4 at that time as Colgate also got off to a slow start.
But Bucknell could not muster another anything more than two Darryl Shazier free throws over the next 6:38, and during that span the Raiders began to heat up. Roemer scored nine straight points to boost Colgate's lead to 21-6.
Patrick Behan's elbow jumper made it 23-10 with 3:39 left, but Trevaron Vinson's driving layup at the end of the shot clock and Peter Minchella's layup gave the Raiders a 27-10 lead at intermission.
Griffin, a First Team All-Patriot League selection who made the national highlights with his 40-foot buzzer-beater against Navy on Wednesday, was held without a field goal in this one. He went 0-for-5 from the floor and scored all three of his points from the foul line.
The Bison outrebounded Colgate 34-28 but could not overcome 22 turnovers, compared to only three assists.