LEWISBURG, Pa. - Mike Muscala collected 27 points and 12 rebounds while becoming the second player in school history to record 1,000 career rebounds, leading Bucknell past Colgate 69-61 at Sojka Pavilion on Wednesday evening. The Bison led wire-to-wire and improved to 21-4 overall and 8-1 in the Patriot League. With Lehigh winning as well on Wednesday, the Bison and Mountain Hawks remain in a first-place tie atop the league standings.
Cameron Ayers had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Bryson Johnson tacked on 12 points and three assists for Bison, who have now won five in a row. The Bison have beaten Colgate eight straight times and are now 9-1 at home this season.
The 100th all-time meeting between Bucknell and Colgate was all Bison early on. Ryan Hill burst out of the gates with a slashing layup and a 3-pointer to send Bucknell on its way to a quick 9-0 lead. Colgate finally got on the board 4:22 into the contest on a jumper by Murphy Burnatowski, who would go on to score 23 points.
The Raiders (9-17, 3-6) crept back within two at 20-18 on a 3-pointer by Damon Sherman-Newsome. Muscala still had not scored 12 minutes into the game, but his 3-point play started a 14-4 Bison run. Johnson canned one of his three 3-pointers, Ayers grabbed a defensive rebound on the baseline and went coast-to-coast for a layup, and Muscala hit a five-footer to put the Bison up 34-22, and they would take a 34-23 lead into the locker room at halftime.
With the crafty Burnatowski scoring with an array of leaners and step-back jumpers, Colgate would not go away. He scored 10 of the Raiders' first 12 points of the second half, including a second-chance dunk that brought Colgate within 40-34. After a Willman jumper, Pat Moore scored four straight points to make it a 42-38 game with 13:30 left.
Consecutive shots in the lane by Burnatowski brought Colgate within a pair at 49-47 with 7:49 left, but then Muscala went to work. The senior scored 20 of his 27 points in the second half, including back-to-back buckets that gave the Bison a little bit of separation after Colgate had cut the lead to two. Muscala would score 14 of Bucknell's final 20 points.
Ayers hit a big 3-pointer with 5:12 left that stretched the lead to seven and a pull-up jumper with 3:58 to play that made it an eight-point game at 62-54.
Bucknell left the door open for Colgate with a pair of missed front ends of 1-and-1s in the final 1:30, but Muscala's 1,000th rebound after a miss by Luke Roh and a traveling violation prevented the Raiders from taking advantage. Finally Ayers and Muscala made four straight at the line to help seal it.
Colgate became only the second visiting team this season to shoot better than 40 percent at Sojka Pavilion. The Raiders shot 47.8 percent overall against the ninth-best team in the country in field-goal percentage defense, but they went just 4-for-15 from the 3-point arc. Bucknell shot 47.5 percent from the field and hit 5 of 15 from the arc.
Both teams left points on the foul line, as Colgate finished 13-for-21 and Bucknell 6-for-11. The Bison had only one second-half turnover and eight total, while Colgate committed 14 turnovers that led to 16 Bucknell points.
Muscala became just the second player in Bucknell and Patriot League history to snare 1,000 rebounds. Hal Danzig (1,134 rebounds from 1956-59) is the only other Bison to reach that plateau, while former Colgate star Adonal Foyle (1,103 from 1994-97) is the only other player in the 23-year history of the Patriot League to do it.
Muscala now has 1,875 career points, putting him in an exclusive 1,000-point, 1,000-rebound club. He is also within 98 points of Al Leslie's all-time Bucknell scoring record.
This was Muscala's 18th double-double of the season, extending his school record and keeping him in the national lead in that category. He entered the game ranked third nationally in rebounding average at 11.4 per game.
Bucknell's 21-4 record is the second-best in program history after 25 games. The 1983-84 team started 22-3. The Bison will put that record on the line on Saturday afternoon, when they visit third-place Lafayette for a 2 p.m. start at Kirby Sports Center.