LEWISBURG, Pa. – Two teams. Similar styles. Nearly identical statistics coming into their matchup. Of course Columbia and Bucknell’s Saturday night contest would go down to the wire. Ultimately, it was the Bison who made enough plays down the stretch and come away with a 57-52 win at Sojka Pavillion.
Trailing by two with 3:07 remaining, Bucknell (5-4) scored five of the final seven points to earn the victory, but not without some late game theatrics.
Chris Hass was fouled while driving to the basket two consecutive Bison drives to swing the score back in favor of Bucknell, 52-50. After a Ryan Hill layup pushed the lead to four, Isaac Cohen cut the deficit in half with a strong finish at the rim with 20 seconds remaining.
The Lions (5-5) fouled Cameron Ayers in the backcourt and the Bison senior guard made just 1-of-2 from the line to leave the door open for Columbia. The Lions raced down the floor and Rosenberg had a good look from the right wing with seven seconds left, but his attempt just rattled off the rim and Bucknell sealed the outcome at the charity stripe.
Columbia jumped out to a 9-3 lead after a pair of nice plays by Lo, who fed Luke Petrasek with a nifty wraparound feed for a layup and followed with a slashing drive for another easy two with 14:05 remaining in the period.
A steal by Grant Mullins led to a transition layup from Alex Rosenberg to give the Lions their largest lead of the half, 16-8, with 7:44 before the break. However, the Bison held Columbia without a field goal in the final 5:52 of the frame to make it 25-22 at the intermission.
Brian Fitzpatrick started the second half with four quick points to give Bucknell the lead with 18:28 to go. However, the Lions responded swiftly and went back on top, 29-28, after an Isaac Cohen bucket just moments later.
An 8-0 run, aided by six free throws, put the Bison ahead, 38-31, at the 12:40 mark, but Columbia fought back again by getting to the paint and pulled within one with 8:53 remaining. Bucknell countered with Fitzpatrick scoring six in a row to bring the margin to 48-44 at the 5:12 mark before another rally by the Lions.
Rosenberg capped a 6-0 spurt with a pair of free throws which gave Columbia a two-point cushion with 3:07 on the clock. The Lions had a chance to extend the lead after a turnover, but could not convert on the other, leading to the Bison’s strong finish.
Junior Cory Osetkowski led the way with 12 points and six rebounds. Lo and Rosenberg each chipped in 10 points.
As expected, the teams’ stat lines nearly mirrored each other. Columbia shot 39.5 percent from the floor, while Bucknell converted on a 39.1 percent rate. Rebounds were 31-29 in favor of the Lions and each squad posted 10 assists. Columbia shot an uncharacteristic 3-for-16 from 3-point range.
Fitzpatrick led all scorers with 16 points, while Ayers posted 11 points and 10 boards.
The Lions will host UMass-Lowell on Monday, Dec. 9 in Levien Gymnasium at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by clicking here. Fans can also catch the action live on the Ivy League Digital Network.