Bucknell Men Fight Back to Defeat Columbia 65-57
Dec. 1, 2012
NEW YORK - Trailing by as many as 17 points in the first half, Bucknell got a monster effort from senior center Mike Muscala and came all the way back to beat Columbia 65-57 in front of a very spirited, bipartisan crowd at Levien Gymnasium on Saturday night. Muscala recorded 29 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, including 19 and 11 in the second half alone, to help the Bison improve to 7-1 on the season.
Joe Willman added 13 points, Cameron Ayers had eight points and seven rebounds, and the Bison got some big minutes from freshmen Ryan Frazier and Dom Hoffman en route to their eight victory in a row against Ivy League opponents. Brian Barbour led Columbia (4-4) with 19 points, while Alex Rosenburg had 15.
Columbia gave Bucknell fits in the opening minutes, pouring in 21 straight points to take an early 23-6 lead. The Bison got the deficit to a manageable seven points by halftime, and after falling behind again by 11, Bucknell used a pivotal 14-2 run to set up a wild finish.
Rosenberg's 3-pointer put Columbia up by 11 at 44-33 with 14:52 left, but the Bison scored 10 straight points to get within one. After two free throws by Rosenburg, Muscala scored on a dunk. Bucknell came up empty on two shots to take the lead, but they finally got back on top at 47-46 on Muscala's spinning shot in the lane with 6:57 to play.
That would be the first of five lead changes, and there were also two ties, over the next three minutes as both teams' large fan bases traded loud chants and cheers. Columbia led 55-54 after Barbour scored at the end of the shot clock after a loose ball scramble in the lane.
Muscala, who moved into the top five on Bucknell's career scoring list, swished a 19-footer at the other end, and after both teams traded stops, Willman hit a reverse off a backdoor feed from Johnson to make it 58-55. Muscala got fouled on a rebound and made both ends of a 1-and-1 with 1:58 left. Frazier forced Barbour into a wild shot in the paint, and Ayers hit two free throws to make it a seven-point lead at 62-55 with 30.4 seconds left.
After two Rosenburg free throws, Frazier missed two at the other end, but Willman came up with the biggest rebound of the night on the offensive glass. Willman then sank 1 of 2, and Muscala finished it off with his 18th rebound a pair at the line with 9.3 ticks left.
Bucknell had an early 6-2 lead but then Columbia ripped off 21 points in a row over a seven-minute stretch. The Bison missed 13 straight shots over that span, while the Lions went 9-for-12 from the field and 4-for-4 from the foul line.
Cory Osetkowski's free throws at the 8:56 mark gave Columbia a 23-6 lead before Hoffman ended Bucknell's drought with a layup off a nice feed from Frazier. The Bison still trailed by 17 at 28-11 but got back in it with a 14-2 run late in the half.
Muscala had eight of the points in that surge, including a follow dunk off a missed layup. Johnson hit a deep 3-pointer from the left wing to bring the Bison within 30-25 with 1:49 left in the half, but they missed a chance to get closer in the final seconds. Hoffman missed two free throws with 13 seconds remaining, and then Brian Barbour hit two with 1.3 seconds left to give Columbia a 32-25 lead at the break.
Muscala went over the 800-rebound plateau, and he joins former Colgate star Adonal Foyle as the only two players in Patriot League history with 1,500 points and 800 rebounds. Muscala, Bob Barry and Mike Bright are the only Bison to accomplish the feat.
His 19 boards were two more than his previous career best of 17 against Navy in 2010-11. Muscala moved all the way up from eighth to fifth on Bucknell's career scoring chart. He has 1,541 career points after passing Mike Joseph, Chris McNaughton and Jaye Andrews.
Hoffman had two points and five rebounds, including three offensive boards. Frazier had a bucket, and most importantly played terrific defense and handled the ball well down the stretch.
Bucknell shot 51.7 percent in the second half and 39.7 percent overall. The Bison went 3-for-12 from 3-point range and an uncharacteristic 12-for-20 from the foul line. Columbia made all 15 of its foul shots but shot only 23.3 percent in the second half and 33.3 percent overall.
Columbia scored 21 of its 57 points in that seven-minute spurt in the first half. The Bison, who had only four turnovers in the game, outscored Columbia 40-25 in the second half.
Bucknell wraps up the first-semester schedule on Tuesday night against Kent State at 7 p.m. at Sojka Pavilion. The Bison will then take an 11-day break for final exams.