What: Colgate (6-6, 0-1 PL) at Bucknell (5-7, 0-1 PL)
Where: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pa.
When: Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, 2 p.m.
Internet Video: Bison Vision on the Patriot League Network (free)
Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH)
Internet Radio: BucknellBison.com
Live Statistics: BucknellBison.com
Tickets: 570-577-1000 or buy online
Promotions: 10th Annual Dirk Sojka's Slam Dunk with Bison Basketball
With a Win over Colgate, Bucknell Would ...
• ... snap a three-game losing streak and improve to 6-7 overall, 1-1 in the Patriot League.
• ... avoid its first four-game losing streak in more than four years. The last time the Bison dropped four straight was at the end of a six-game losing streak in December 2009.
• ... defeat the Raiders for the ninth straight time.
• ... improve to 3-3 at home this season.
• ... improve to 115-36 all-time at Sojka Pavilion and 79-16 against Patriot League foes at Sojka.
• Bucknell looks to shake its post-finals struggles on Sunday afternoon when it hosts Colgate in a Patriot League contest. Coming out of the 13-day layoff for exams, the Bison have dropped three straight games, including a 67-57 setback to American in the PL opener on Thursday. Colgate also dropped its first league contest, 88-81 in double overtime at home against Lehigh.
• Bucknell has not had much recent practice breaking losing streaks. Prior to this season it had been more than two years since the Bison had even lost two consecutive games and more than three years since their last three-game losing streak. The last three-game slide happened in November 2010 against Princeton, James Madison and Wagner.
• Senior Cameron Ayers continues to lead the team in scoring at 14.5 ppg. Chris Hass (8.4 ppg) is coming of a career-best 18-point performance against American.
• This is a “new-look” Bison squad, as three standout players from last year’s NCAA Tournament team have graduated (Mike Muscala, Bryson Johnson, Joe Willman). Three Bucknell players made their first career starts at Stanford (Brian Fitzpatrick, Dom Hoffman, Ben Brackney), Ryan Frazier started for the first time in his career at Penn State, and Chris Hass did the same against Saint Francis.
• Bucknell returned two starters and 11 lettermen from last year’s squad that won a school-record 28 games, captured Patriot League regular-season and tournament titles, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in program history.
• Colgate played some very good basketball in the non-conference portion of its schedule and was 6-5 before dropping its Patriot League opener to Lehigh in double overtime. The Raiders boast one of the league’s top players in Murphy Burnatowski (15.1 ppg), and Monmouth transfer Austin Tillotson (14.7 ppg, 4.6 apg, 64.4 FG%) has been outstanding in his first year with the team. Damon Sherman-Newsome (12.4 ppg) and Ethan Jacobs (11.1 ppg) also score in double figures for the Patriot League’s top-shooting (.491) and highest-scoring (75.7) team. Colgate ranks No. 1 in the nation in 3-point percentage (.440).
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Colgate game will not be televised, however a free live webcast will be available on Bison Vision on the Patriot League Network.
• 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 via BucknellBison.com.
• Live stats can be accessed at BucknellBison.com.
Dirk Sojka’s Slam Dunk With Bison Basketball
• Throughout the day on Sunday Bucknell will host the Tenth Annual Dirk Sojka’s Slam Dunk with Bison Basketball event. There will be a raffle drawing (top prize a $1,000 Visa gift card) and a silent auction, with all proceeds benefitting SUNCOM Industries, Inc.
• Located in Northumberland, Pa., SUNCOM Industries is a private, non-profit organization providing services to adults with disabilities. It offers many services to help people reach their potential to be a contributing member of their community. Suncom was the workplace of Dirk Sojka, the son of Gary and Sandy Sojka, until Dirk’s passing in July 2002.
Bucknell vs. Colgate
• This will be the 101st all-time meeting between Bucknell and Colgate in a series that dates back to 1920. The Bison have a 60-40 series lead. The only other opponents that Bucknell has played at least 100 times are Lehigh (160), Lafayette (154), Gettysburg (126) and Penn State (101).
• As Patriot League rivals, Bucknell has won 39 of the 52 meetings, including 20 of 23 in Lewisburg.
• Bucknell is 10-1 against Colgate at Sojka Pavilion. The Raiders won there in the arena’s inaugural season (2002-03), but since then the Bison have won 10 in a row, including a 69-61 verdict last year.
• Bucknell is 12-4 in its last 16 games in Hamilton, including at 73-59 win there last season.
• Bucknell has won eight straight over Colgate, sweeping the season series in each of the last four seasons. The Raiders last win over the Bison was 68-57 decision at Cotterell Court on Feb. 4, 2009.
• Last season in Hamilton, Mike Muscala had a monster game with 25 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, seven blocked shots and two steals in Bucknell’s 14-point victory. Bryson Johnson added 15 points and Cameron Ayers had 14. Murphy Burnatowski led Colgate with 17, and Damon Sherman-Newsome had 13 off the bench. In the rematch at Sojka Pavilion later in the year, Muscala netted 27 points and 12 boards, including his 1,000th career rebound, in Bucknell’s 69-61 win. Burnatowski again paced Colgate with 23 points.
Patriot League Success
• Bucknell is 211-97 (.685) all-time in Patriot League regular-season games, the best record of any league team. They have finished at least .500 in PL play in 19 of 23 seasons.
• Bucknell won the last three outright Patriot League regular-season titles, becoming the first team in league history to accomplish that feat.
• The Bison went 13-1 in the league in 2011 and 12-2 in each of the last two seasons, making them 37-5 over the previous three campaigns. Dating back to mid-2010, Bucknell has won 44 of its last 52 league games.
• Bucknell won Patriot League Tournament titles in 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2013. The Bison have made it to the semifinals 18 times and to the championship game 10 times in the 23-year history of the league.
• The Bison are the only team to go unbeaten in league play in a season (14-0 in 2006).
Last Time Out
• Bucknell fell behind 9-0 and was playing catch-up all night against American on Thursday. The Bison trimmed a 17-point deficit down to four in the final stages, but the Eagles went 9-for-10 from the foul line in the final minute to clinch the victory.
• American snapped an eight-game losing streak against Bucknell and improved to 2-11 against the Bison in Sojka Pavilion.
• Chris Hass sparked Bucknell’s comeback with a couple of second-half 3-pointers, and he finished with a career-high 18 points.
• Cameron Ayers added 17 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Ayers’ 21 field-goal attempts marked a career high.
• The Eagles outshot Bucknell 53.8% to 33.3%.
• Bucknell came up with a season-high eight steals while committing only six turnovers.
• Tony Wroblicky had a big night for American with 24 points (8-12 FG, 8-12 FT), 11 rebounds, six blocks and five assists.
Numbers Worth Noting
• Through six games Bucknell was shooting 50.6% as a team, but in the last six games the Bison have shot just 36.3%, bringing their season mark down to 43.6%.
• Oddly, Bucknell has shot much better on the road (45.8 FG%, 44.7 3FG%, 78.8 FT%) this season than at home (40.6 FG%, 36.8 3FG%, 71.1 FT%).
• In each of the last two seasons, Bucknell led the nation in defensive rebounding percentage (i.e. percentage of opponents’ missed shots that Bucknell has rebounded). This year, despite playing almost exclusively with a four-guard lineup, the Bison still rank a respectable 14th out of 351 Division I teams in DR%. Last year, led by senior big men Mike Muscala and Joe Willman, Bucknell grabbed 79.0% of its opponents’ misses. This year that figure is still a solid 76.9%.
• Bucknell has typically ranked among the very best in the nation in fewest turnovers under coach Dave Paulsen, and this year has been no different. The Bison are averaging only 9.6 turnovers per game to rank ninth nationally.
• Last season Bucknell featured one of the nation’s most prolific shot-blockers in Mike Muscala. So far this season the Bison have blocked only eight shots in 12 games, compared to 59 by their opponents.
• Through 12 games the Bison are shooting 43.6% from the field and 41.7% from 3-point range. They rank 10th nationally in 3FG%.
• Bucknell has upped its steal totals in recent games. The Bison recorded 30 steals in their first nine games (3.3 spg), but now they have 21 thefts in their last three contests (7.0 spg), including a season-high eight against American on Thursday.
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell travels to Lafayette on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. contest, which will be a rematch of the 2011 and 2013 Patriot League championship games, both won by the Bison.
• Lafayette is 4-8 overall and 0-1 in the Patriot League after falling at home to Army on Thursday.