Freshman guard Rasir Bolton poured in a career-high 27 points as Penn State held off Colgate for a 76-65 nonconference victory on Saturday afternoon at State College, Penn.
Colgate entered the game allowing opponents to shoot just 29 percent from 3-point range, but that didn't faze Bolton as he drilled 7 of 9 3-pointers to guide Penn State (5-4) to a 19-point first-half lead that dwindled to as little as 3 with 2:44 to go.
Junior center Mike Watkins, who sat out the first five games, started for the first time this season and delivered 18 points and 16 rebounds for his first double-double since Feb. 15 against Ohio State. Junior forward Lamar Stevens, who entered the game averaging 21.1 points per game, managed just 12 points on 5 of 13 shooting and also collected 10 rebounds.
Junior forward Will Rayman, a preseason all-Patriot League pick, paced Colgate (7-4) with 15 points and seven rebounds. Junior forward Rapolas Ivanauskas added 14 points and four assists before fouling out while freshman guard Tucker Richardson added 13 points and four assists.
Sophomore guard Jordan Burns, Colgate's top scorer at 17 points per game, was limited to 10 points while committing a game-high six turnovers.
Bolton drilled four 3-pointers in the first six minutes to spring Penn State to a 19-7 lead. When he canned his fifth 3-pointer with 8:47 left, the Nittany Lions built a 28-13 margin.
Penn State's lead swelled as large at 19 points, but Colgate pulled within 41-30 at the break as Ivanauskas scored 10 first-half points and the Nittany Lions missed seven of their last 10 shots.
Senior guard Josh Reaves (nine points, six rebounds, five assists, three steals) opened the second half by swiping a Colgate pass and breaking away for a lefty jam, but the Raiders didn't get frustrated. When Rayman buried a 3-pointer and then followed it up with a dunk, Colgate pulled within 53-46 with 12:40 to play.
Burns' layup with 7:36 left got the Raiders within three at 58-55 for the first time since the game's opening moments, but Colgate could get no closer.
The Raiders again pulled within 3 on Ivanauskas' layup with 2:44 to play, but Watkins answered with a pair of free throws and a layup and Reaves canned a 3-pointer to guide the Nittany Lions to safety in the 76th edition of the Colgate-Penn State rivalry.
--Field Level Media