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Party like it’s 1996: Colgate is dancing after taking the Patriot League title

The Raiders ran over Bucknell in the title game Wednesday night, powered by a career performance from Jordan Burns.

NCAA Basketball: Colgate at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The drought is over.

For the first time since 1996, the Colgate Raiders are going dancing.

Matt Langel’s side won the Patriot League championship Wednesday night at Cotterell Court in Hamilton, New York, topping Bucknell, 94-80.

A ridiculous performance from Jordan Burns powered the Raiders. The 6-foot sophomore poured on a career-high 35 points, along with six assists and three steals. Pretty good night to have the best performance of your collegiate career, right?

Burns got some help from Will Rayman and Rapolas Ivanauskas, who scored 18 and 14 points, respectively.

Bucknell, winner of the last two Patriot League crowns, only led briefly in this game. The Bison were up 5-4 after a Nate Sestina layup at the 16:50 mark in the first half, and then Colgate embarked on a 17-7 run to grab a comfortable lead. A later Colgate run, capped off by a pair of free throws from Burns, gave the Raiders a 17-point lead.

A three-pointer from Sestina at the 12:22 mark in the second half cut the deficit to four points for Bucknell, but Colgate would go on to pull away again, taking a 19-point lead with about seven minutes left to play. Sestina tallied 21 points and five rebounds in the defeat.

Colgate was fantastic in this game from three-point range, knocking down 57.1 percent of its 21 attempts. The Raiders shot 57.7 percent from the floor and also made 22 of 29 free throw attempts. They also out-rebounded Bucknell 35-24 and forced the Bison into 12 turnovers.

While Colgate’s NCAA tournament appearance drought is over, it still has never won a game in the Big Dance. The Raiders fell in 1995 to No. 1 Kansas (82-68) and in 1996 to No. 1 UConn (68-59).

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Raiders pegged as a 15 seed in the East, set to face No. 2 Tennessee in Jacksonville.

Langel is no stranger to the NCAA Tournament. He went there four times as an assistant with Temple, twice as an assistant with Penn and twice as a player for Penn.