What: Bucknell (4-7) at Richmond (2-8)
Where: Robins Center, Richmond, Va.
When: Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, 7 p.m. (ET)
Local Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 FM WEGH)
Listen Live: BucknellBison.com and Eagle107.com
Live Stats: RichmondSpiders.com
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (12.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 5.0 apg)
G: Jimmy Sotos (7.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.2 apg)
F: Bruce Moore (5.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.3 apg)
F: Zach Thomas (22.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.5 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (16.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.5 apg)
With a Win over Richmond, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 5-7 overall and 2-7 on the road this season.
• ... beat the Spiders for the fourth straight time and break a 3-3 tie in the all-time series.
• ... improve to 1-2 this season against the Atlantic 10.
• ... improve to 48-30 under Nathan Davis.
• Bucknell plays its second of three straight games against Atlantic 10 teams when it visits Richmond on Tuesday night. The Bison dropped a hard-fought 85-79 decision at VCU on Saturday. They battled back from 10 points down at the half to take the lead, but the Rams prevailed in a game that was not decided until the final minute.
• Bucknell has faced the seventh-toughest schedule in the country, according to Ken Pomeroy’s rankings. Bucknell’s opponents rank seventh nationally in offensive efficiency. The Bison currently rank No. 101 out of 351 teams, and they are the third-highest-ranked team with a losing record, behind Wisconsin (5-7, 63rd) and Vanderbilt (3-7, 75th).
• Bucknell has two Virginia natives returning to their home state on this two-game trip to Richmond. Stephen Brown is from Manassas and attended Christ Chapel High School, where he graduated as the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,512 points. Nate Jones is from Radford and attended Radford High School. His father, Mike Jones, is the head coach at Radford University.
• In addition, head coach Nathan Davis grew up in the D.C. area and played and coached just up the road at Randolph-Macon.
• Bucknell has been playing without two starters in recent weeks. Sophomore Avi Toomer has missed the last eight games with a leg injury. Junior Kimbal Mackenzie is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair an abdominal muscle tear.
• Senior Zach Thomas is off to a terrific start, averaging 22.5 points and 8.9 rebounds in the first 11 games of the season. Already a three-time Patriot League Player of the Week, Thomas became the first Bison in 26 years to start a season with three straight 20-point games. He now has seven 20-point games (including two 30-point games) on the season, headlined by a 38-point, 11-rebound, 7-assist gem at Stony Brook on Nov. 26. Thomas now ranks 15th nationally in scoring, fourth in free throw attempts and seventh in made free throws.
• Thomas’ fellow seniors, Nana Foulland and Stephen Brown, are also off to fast starts. Foulland is coming off a monster game at VCU (23 points, 14 rebounds, four assists) and is averaging 16.1 ppg, while Brown tallied a career-high 23-point game at Maryland and is averaging 13.0 ppg and 5.0 apg. The three seniors have combined for 62.5% of the team’s points this season.
• The Bison were the unanimous favorite in the Patriot League Preseason Poll of head coaches and sports information directors. Nana Foulland was voted PL Preseason Player of the Year and was joined on the Preseason All-Patriot League Team by Thomas.
• Richmond finished 22-13 overall, 13-5 in the Atlantic 10, and made it to the third round of the NIT last season. But the Spiders suffered some graduation hits and are 2-8 thus far in 2017-18. The Spiders did win their most recent contest, a 74-71 home win over James Madison last Sunday before breaking for finals. Richmond’s other win was a 63-50 verdict over UAB on Nov. 20. Grant Golden leads the team in scoring at 15.0 points per game, while De’Monte Buckingham also scores in double figures at 12.8 ppg.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Richmond game game will be televised on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), which is available on regional cable systems and satellite sports packages. The game will also stream live on the A-10 Network at Atlantic10.com.
• The game can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM), with Doug Birdsong calling the action. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off.
• The audio feed is available online free of charge on personal computers via BucknellBison.com and Eagle107.com. To listen on iPhone and Android devices, download the official Bucknell Athletics app.
• Live statistics can be accessed via RichmondSpiders.com.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Last Time Out
• Nana Foulland recorded 23 points, 14 rebounds and four assists — all career highs — but the Bison dropped a hard-fought 85-79 decision to VCU in front of the 106th consecutive sellout crowd at Wade Arena.
• Zach Thomas added 16 points, Jimmy Sotos had a career-high 13, and Nate Jones tallied a season-high 10 for the Bison, who battled back from a 10-point halftime deficit to take the lead in the second half.
• Justin Tillman paced the Rams with 26 points and seven rebounds, and Jonathan Williams tallied 17 points and six rebounds.
• A battle between longtime coaching friends Nathan Davis and Mike Rhoades came right down to the wire, as it was a one-possession game in the final 15 seconds. VCU made a late surge to take a 46-36 lead at halftime, but Bucknell opened the second stanza on a 17-6 run and it was a thriller from there.
• Bucknell shot an even 50% for the game and hit 8 of 26 from 3-point range. The Bison had an uncharacteristic 17 turnovers — they came in ranked 21st nationally with 11.0 per game — but they handled VCU’s “havoc” full-court press well. Of the 17 turnovers, only three came from guards, and the Rams were held to four fastbreak points.
• Bucknell recorded a 33-29 edge on the glass and led 15-6 in second-chance points. VCU shot 47.5% overall and 7 of 18 from the 3-point arc. VCU was also 20-for-23 from the foul line, while Bucknell was 13-for-16.
Bucknell vs. Richmond
• The Bison and Spiders have met six times previously, with Richmond winning the first three and Bucknell the most recent three. The series consists of an 81-63 Richmond home victory in 1957-58; a 79-57 Spiders home win in 2008-09; a Richmond 59-50 decision at Sojka Pavilion in 2009-10; a dramatic 62-61 Bison win at Richmond in 2010-11; a 79-65 Bucknell verdict at Sojka in 2011-12; and a 73-68 Bison win in the resumption of the series last season in Lewisburg.
• The late Bucknell Athletics Hall of Famer and former assistant basketball coach Tommy Thompson led the Bison with 13 points in the 1958 game against Richmond. That Bucknell team finished 16-8 and won 10 of its last 11 after the Richmond loss.
• The Jan. 2, 2011 game was one for the ages from Bucknell’s perspective. Taking advantage of some missed free throws down the stretch by Richmond, the Bison stole a 62-61 victory when Mike Muscala caught a 75-foot inbounds pass from Joe Willman, spun around and drained a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer. That capped off a 17-point night for Muscala and proved to be a good road win over a team that would later advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
• In last year’s game at Sojka Pavilion, Kimbal Mackenzie scored a career-high 25 points to help Bucknell to the 73-68 victory. Zach Thomas and Nana Foulland both had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Bison. Richmond received 22 points from T.J. Cline and 19 from Khwan Fore, but the Spiders were hampered by 15 turnovers and 10-for-19 shooting from the free-throw line, all in the second half.
Bucknell vs. the Atlantic 10
• This will be the second of three straight Atlantic 10 opponents on this week’s schedule. The Bison lost 85-79 at VCU on Saturday, and then they will play at home against La Salle this Friday. Bucknell also faced another A-10 squad, falling 83-70 at Saint Joseph’s on Nov. 29.
• Bucknell is 37-76 (.327) all-time against the teams that currently comprise the Atlantic 10.
• The Bison are 6-19 against La Salle, 3-18 against Saint Joseph’s, 3-3 vs. Richmond, 4-7 vs. George Mason, 7-2 vs. George Washington, 5-8 vs. Fordham, 3-5 vs. Duquesne, 3-5 vs. Rhode Island, 1-5 vs. St. Bonaventure, 1-2 vs. Davidson, 1-0 vs. Saint Louis, 0-1 vs. VCU and 0-1 vs. Dayton. Bucknell has never played Massachusetts.
Numbers Worth Noting
• Bucknell has recorded single-digit turnover totals in two of its last four games, and its season average of 11.5 turnovers per game ranks 35th nationally. The Bison also lead the Patriot League and rank 43rd in the nation in assist-turnover ratio (1.32).
• Bucknell has logged a positive assist-to-turnover ratio in every game this season except Arkansas and VCU. Point guard Stephen Brown has 55 assists and only 18 turnovers on the year, and freshman Jimmy Sotos has 24 assists and only 10 turnovers.
• Bucknell has done well to get to the free-throw line this season, attempting 22.9 foul shots per game. Zach Thomas has been the leader of that parade to the foul line. After setting school records for free throws made (19) and attempted (22) in the Siena game, he hit 12 of 14 against Ball State, 13 of 13 against Stony Brook, and 8 of 10 against Saint Joseph’s. After an uncharacteristic 2-for-8 showing on opening night at Monmouth, Thomas has his season average back up to 75.0%. He made 20 in a row at one point, spanning the Siena and Ball State games.
• Thomas has scored in double figures in 25 games in a row, topping the 20-point mark in 12 of those 25 games.
• Bucknell has made 10+ 3-pointers in seven of the first 11 games of the season, and the Bison have not allowed more than 10 in a game all year. The Bison have 96 treys, compared to just 77 for their opponents.
• According to the Hollinger Player Efficiency Rating formula at ESPN.com, Thomas ranks 57th out of all Division I players with a score of 28.59. PER measures the aggregate of a player’s statistical efficiency.
NCAA LEADERS, POINTS PER GAME
- Trae Young, Oklahoma 28.8
- Matt Scott, Niagara 24.9
- Femi Olujobi, North Carolina A&T 24.3
- Jon Elmore, Marshall 24.2
- Fletcher Magee, Wofford 23.8
- Kevin Hervey, UT Arlington 23.6
- Max Heidegger, UCSB 23.4
- Jordan Howard, Central Arkansas 23.3
- Matt Morgan, Cornell 23.1
- Justin Wright-Foreman, Hofstra 23.1
- Junior Robinson, Mount St. Mary’s 23.1
- Nick King, Middle Tennessee St. 22.9
- Demontrae Jefferson, Texas Southern 22.8
- Bryson Scott, Fort Wayne 22.8
- Zach Thomas, Bucknell 22.5
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell will host La Salle on Friday in the final game before the start of Patriot League play. The Bison will be looking to avenge an 83-73 loss to the Explorers last season in Philadelphia. The game will be televised locally on WQMY-TV in Northeastern Pennsylvania.