Bison defeat Colgate in wild comeback win, go on to clinch regular season title

Michael Caruso, Staff Writer

The Bison men’s basketball team defeated the Colgate Raiders, ranked second in the Patriot League, 65-64 on a last second buzzer beater from Kimbal Mackenzie ’19 on Feb. 12 at Sojka Pavilion. With a ten point deficit and 1:31 left to play in regulation, the final shot generated enough buzz to land the team a number one spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays the following morning. With Mackenzie’s clutch shot, Zach Thomas ’18 notching 18 points, and Nana Foulland ’18 recording a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, the Bison were able to complete a comeback unlike any other.

At first, the Orange and Blue were unable to find an answer to the Colgate offense, which went on a 19-9 run to start the first half. On top of that, the Raider defense did not allow the Bison to take efficient shots, and at the end of the first half it was evident that Colgate had the upper hand, as they led by 11 points. The Raiders held the Orange and Blue to a season-low 20 points and a shooting percentage of 25 percent heading into the game.

Though Colgate seemed to control the contest, the Bison never let the game become a runaway. They saw themselves down 14 with 12:45 left to go, which proved to be the perfect amount of time to mount a comeback. Jimmy Sotos ’21 began the long rally when he hit a three-pointer from the corner, a critical shot considering that the Orange and Blue were just 1-for-14 behind the arc before that point. From then on, it was a back and forth battle.

Colgate found themselves up 61-51 with 1:31 remaining in the contest, and at that point, it looked pretty apparent that the Raiders would attempt to maintain possession and milk the clock until the buzzer sounded. However, the Bison had other plans. After Stephen Brown ’18 rushed up the court for a quick three with 48 seconds left, the Bison quickly sent the Raiders to the foul stripe. The Bison were then down by 8 with 33 seconds remaining.

Mackenzie ignited the run when he converted a three point play with a put-back jump shot and a free throw on one possession. He also recorded an assist to feed Foulland in the paint for a layup on the next play. The Raiders were then called for a flagrant foul, which gave the Bison two free throws and the ensuing possession with 11 seconds left.

All five players on the floor for the Orange and Blue touched the ball in the final possession. The passing play culminated with Bruce Moore ’20 finding Mackenzie in the corner for a contested three-point bomb as the clock struck zero. To top off the storybook ending, the shot was right in front of the Bison bench.

“The fuel was the will to win. We’re a very competitive group of guys, and we know that we played poorly throughout the game,” Mackenzie said. “We just continued to fight because we know that in a sport like basketball, it’s not over until it’s over.”

On Feb. 14, the Bison took on the Loyola Greyhounds in Sojka Pavilion and pulled off a convincing 94-53 victory to clinch the regular season Patriot League title. As opposed to the game against Colgate, the Bison took a dominant lead just two minutes into the contest and never looked back. Led by Brown and Sestina with 20 and 18 points, respectfully, the team cruised to a win.

The men will be back on the court Feb. 17 when they travel to Holy Cross to take on the Crusaders. The tip-off is set for 12 p.m.

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