What: Bucknell (10-5, 2-0 PL) at American (4-9, 1-1 PL)
Where: Bender Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Webcast: Patriot League Network
Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 FM WEGH)
Internet Radio: BucknellBison.com
Live Statistics: AUEagles.com
• COMPLETE GAME NOTES
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (9.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.7 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (9.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.0 apg)
G: Avi Toomer (2.4 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.5 apg)
F: Zach Thomas (16.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.7 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (14.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.1 bpg)
With a Win over American, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 11-5 overall, 3-0 in the Patriot League, and 4-4 on the road this season.
• ... start 3-0 in Patriot League play for the second year in a row and 10th time overall.
• ... avenge a loss to Eagles in D.C. last year and improve to 38-22 all-time against them.
• ... improve to 253-112 all-time in Patriot League regular-season games.
• Bucknell travels to American on Thursday night, starting a stretch of three out of four games on the road.
• Bucknell and Boston University are the only 2-0 Patriot League teams. The Bison came from 13 points down in the second half to beat Navy 59-55 in the PL opener, and then they topped Army West Point 84-76 on Monday in Lewisburg.
• Junior center Nana Foulland was named Patriot League Player of the Week on Tuesday after recording double-doubles against both of the service academies. Foulland had 12 points and 12 rebounds at Navy and 20 points and 12 boards against Army. This is his second league honor of the season.
• Bucknell had used the same starting lineup in each of the first 13 games this season, but a foot injury to sophomore guard Nate Jones necessitated a lineup change in the Navy game. Freshman Avi Toomer made his first career start. After a quiet night statistically against the Midshipmen, Toomer broke out with 11 points, five rebounds and three steals — all career highs — in the victory over Army.
• Bucknell went 8-5 against a tough non-conference schedule, including a 4-1 mark at home. This was Bucknell’s most successful pre-conference slate since 2012-13, when the Bison went 13-3 before the start of Patriot League action.
• Bucknell closed the month of November with a four-game winning streak that consisted of victories over Vanderbilt, Norfolk State, Northern Colorado and Richmond. The middle two came in Las Vegas, where the Bison claimed the “Upper Division” title at the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. The 75-72 victory over Vanderbilt was the team’s first win over a Southeastern Conference team since 2006, when it took down Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It was the first victory over a “major conference” team since 2013-14, when Bucknell won at Penn State.
• Junior forward Zach Thomas leads the team and ranks No. 5 in the Patriot League in scoring at 16.0 points per game. Thomas also ranks second on the team in assists and rebounds from his power forward position. Thomas had 25 points against Manhattan in the season opener, and he has been on triple-double watch on two occasions. He registered 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists against Robert Morris on Nov. 16, and he had 16 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, four blocks and three steals the win over Mount St. Mary’s. Thomas had scored in double figures in 15 straight games before being held to five at Navy on Friday, but he came up with two critical buckets in the final three minutes to key Bucknell’s comeback. He bounced back with 19 points in the win over Army
• Foulland now averages 14.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He ranks in the top seven in the Patriot League in four different statistical categories, including first in blocks (2.1), second in field-goal percentage (.613)and rebounding, and seventh in scoring. Foulland has seven double-doubles this season.
• The Bison were picked to finish third (behind Lehigh and Boston University) in the Patriot League in a preseason poll of the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. Foulland was named to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.
• A young American squad has played two close games to start the Patriot League slate. The Eagles are coming off a 67-64 overtime victory at Colgate on Monday. They fell at home to Loyola 68-66 in the PL opener. American features the Patriot League’s top freshman scorer in Sa’eed Nelson at 16.4 points per game. Sophomore Delante Jones, the 2016 PL Rookie of the Year, averages 12.1 ppg, as does freshman center Mark Gasperini.
• This will be Bucknell’s fourth game of the year against a team coached by a Princeton graduate. American head coach Mike Brennan was a four-year starter under the legendary Pete Carril before graduating in 1994. The Bison have already gone up against Carril disciples Chris Mooney (Richmond), Sydney Johnson (Fairfield) and Mitch Henderson (Princeton). Next up for Bucknell is Holy Cross, which is coached by Bill Carmody, a longtime Princeton assistant who succeeded Carril upon his retirement in 1996.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-American game will not be televised, however a free webcast will be available on the Patriot League Network at PatriotLeague.TV.
• The game can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH), with Doug Birdsong calling the action. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off.
• The audio feed is also available online via BucknellBison.com (personal computers) and the official Bucknell Athletics app (iPhone and Android devices).
• Live stats can be found at AUEagles.com.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Bucknell vs. American
• Bucknell has an overall 37-22 lead in an all-time series with American that includes some historic dates. The very first meeting on Jan. 14, 1939 also happened to be the first game ever played in Davis Gym (AU won 38-33). Coincidentally, American was also the opponent for the very last game ever played in Davis Gym on Jan. 11, 2003 (a 63-52 Bison win).
• Bucknell has won 21 of 28 series meetings in Lewisburg, including 13 out of 15 at Sojka Pavilion, but the Bison are just 8-7 at Bender Arena since American joined the Patriot League in 2001-02.
• As Patriot League rivals, Bucknell leads 22-10, including victories in the 2005 and 2006 PL Tournament semifinals.
• The two teams split last year’s season series, with the home team winning each game. Bucknell won the first meeting 72-54 at Sojka Pavilion. Nana Foulland scored 18 points, and Stephen Brown had 15 on perfect shooting (5-5 FG, 5-5 FT) to lift the Bison, who outscored the Eagles 37-24 in the second half to break open a close game. Jesse Reed led American with 13 points. In the rematch in D.C., the Eagles won 69-55 for their fifth straight win, while ending Bucknell’s four-game win streak. Delante Jones had 18 points for AU, while Brown had 13 points and Foulland 11 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Bison.
• Bucknell went 1-for-26 from 3-point range in the two games against American last season. The Bison were 1-for-11 in the home victory and 0-for-15 in the loss at Bender Arena. That snapped a streak of 374 straight games with a 3-pointer, dating back to Feb. 29, 2004 against Colgate.
Last Time Out
• Led by 20 points and 12 rebounds from Nana Foulland, Bucknell saw all five starters score in double figures in a fast-paced, 84-76 victory over Army West Point on Monday night at Sojka Pavilion.
• The Bison improved to 10-5 overall and 2-0 in the Patriot League, while the Black Knights fell to 6-8, 0-2, despite a career-high 26 points from Jordan Fox.
• Zach Thomas added 19 points, freshman Avi Toomer had a career-high 11 in his second career start, and Stephen Brown and Kimbal Mackenzie chipped in 10 apiece for Bucknell, which trailed for only one possession early in the first half.
• The Bison equaled their season scoring high with 84 points, but they had to ward off a number of late runs by a young Army squad that came in ranked No. 2 in the Patriot League in both scoring and 3-point percentage.
• After Army took its only lead of the night at 18-17 on a Fox 3-pointer at the 12:42 mark of the first half, D.J. MacLeay bookended an 11-0 surge that gave the Bison the lead for good. Bucknell finished the half on a 9-0 spurt, keyed by a layup by Toomer and a 3-pointer by Mackenzie, to go up 41-29 at the break.
• The lead ballooned to as many as 16 at 56-40 after Foulland’s free throw with 14:27 remaining, but the Black Knights answered with an 11-2 surge to get back in the game. Tommy Funk’s runner in the lane made it 58-51, but the Bison had enough answers down the stretch.
• Bucknell finished at 50.8% shooting for the game, compared to Army’s 44.8%. Army was 8-for-28 from 3-point distance, while the Bison were 6-for-18. All but two of Bucknell’s 43 second-half points came in the paint (28) or at the foul line (13).
Numbers Worth Noting
• Bucknell has allowed 81.2 points per game in its five losses and 64.6 ppg in its 10 victories.
• Bucknell’s starting frontcourt of Zach Thomas (16.0 ppg) and Nana Foulland (14.7 ppg) have scored 41.7% of the team’s points on the season.
• Bucknell’s transition defense has been strong thus far. The Bison have given up only 53 fastbreak points through 15 games. They went three straight contests (Vanderbilt, Norfolk State, Northern Colorado) without giving up any fastbreak points. Meanwhile, Bucknell has scored 94 fastbreak points on the season.
• Matt O’Reilly has attempted 103 shots during his career at Bucknell. Of those, 98 have come from beyond the 3-point arc. He is 2-for-5 in his career on 2-point shots, with his first make coming against Richmond earlier this season.
• Kimbal Mackenzie is 9-for-17 from 3-point range in his last four games.
• Stephen Brown leads the Bison in +/- with a +98 on the season. Foulland is next at +66.
• Brown has played his best basketball of the season over the last seven games. Over that span he is averaging 11.0 points, 5.1 assists, and 2.4 steals.
• Bison opponents have shot 50% or better from the field three times this season, and Bucknell is 0-3 in those games (Wake Forest, Butler, La Salle).
• Bucknell is averaging a solid 1.04 points per possession this season, while opponents are averaging 0.99.
• D.J. MacLeay leads the team with a total rebounding percentage of 22.9. In other words, MacLeay pulls down 22.9% of all missed shots (offensive and defensive) when he is on the floor.
• Bucknell is 67-for-88 (.761) from the foul line in the last five minutes of games this season, but just 144-for-230 (.626) in the first 35 minutes of games. Even Foulland, who is shooting 53.5% from the line on the season, is 18-for-23 (.782) in late-game situations.
• Foulland recorded his 500th career rebound in the Princeton game, and he needs 69 points to reach 1,000. Only 18 players in Bucknell history have recorded 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
Who’s Got Next?
• After facing American on Thursday, Bucknell heads back on the road for a Sunday afternoon tilt against Holy Cross at the Hart Center.
• Holy Cross is the defending Patriot League Tournament champion. The Crusaders won four straight games as the No. 9 seed to claim the title, including a wild double-overtime victory over top-seeded Bucknell in the quarterfinals.
• The Crusaders a 7-8 overall and 1-1 in the Patriot League heading into a Thursday road trip to Colgate.