By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
LEWISBURG -- Signs of a breakout were figuratively on the wall for Chris Hass after the Bucknell guard scored 18 in the Patriot League opener.
In a back-and-forth game Sunday against Colgate, Hass poured in jumpers early and finished with drives late to take over the game.
Behind his 26 points, Bucknell weathered a second-half comeback from Colgate to grab their first conference win of the season and snap a three-game skid, 68-57, at Sojka Pavilion.
"I feel a lot more confident now than what I did in the past three games," Hass said. "We just went out there and tried to hit some buckets."
After knocking down three 3-pointers in a loss to American to open the Patriot League slate, Hass did seemingly everything he could to prevent a Colgate win.
"Chris played a terrific game," Bucknell coach Dave Paulsen said.
Needing only the slightest amount of space to hoist a 3-pointer with his smooth shooter's touch, Hass found the bottom of the net consistently from the perimeter.
While he was a scoring threat from the outside throughout the game, finishing four-of-eight from beyond the arc, arguably Hass' biggest shot came not on a 3-pointer but on a drive inside with 3:39 left to play.
Colgate (6-7, 0-2 PL) had cut the Bison lead to two, 55-53, taking advantage of a Bucknell cold stretch, but Hass was there when the Bison needed him to spark a late momentum shift.
The layup from Hass extended the lead to four, and the Bison capitalized on a miss and a turnover at the other end to push their lead to 61-53 on a layup from Dom Hoffman and a Steven Kaspar jumper.
Before the late run, Paulsen rallied his players during a timeout with the Bison clinging to a four-point lead, 55-51.
"We told the guys, 'We're not playing to hold on. We're playing to win,'" Paulsen said.
With the Bison having walked the tightrope of a late Colgate run with Hass as their safety net, Bucknell turned to him once more for a layup that extended the margin to double digits with 1:43 left.
The Bison (6-7, 1-1) were able to hit free throws down the stretch for the win.
"It's a terrific bounce-back win for our guys," Paulsen said.
Hass' play allowed the Bison to stay in front early in the second half after the Raiders turned the tables following a 16-point Bison halftime lead.
With height down low, the Raiders were able to convert in close and get to the foul line if the shots did not fall in the opening minutes of the half. Cleaning the defensive glass and scoring at the other end, Colgate turned a 16-point game into a tight five-point deficit, scoring the first 11 points of the second half.
However, Hass did not let the Bison fall behind and stopped the Colgate streak, coming off of a screen to knock down a 3-pointer.
After Colgate drove to the rim to cut the lead to six, both teams endured a two-minute stretch without a point before Hass gathered a miss and scored to push the Bison lead to 45-37.