What: Bucknell (8-8, 2-1 PL) at Lafayette (4-10, 2-1 PL)
Where: Kirby Sports Center, Easton, Pa.
When: Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, 7 p.m. (ET)
Webcast: Patriot League Network
Local Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 FM WEGH)
Listen Live: BucknellBison.com and Eagle107.com
Live Stats: GoLeopards.com
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (12.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 5.1 apg)
G: Jimmy Sotos (6.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.1 apg)
F: Bruce Moore (6.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 0.3 apg)
F: Zach Thomas (21.7 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 2.3 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (16.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.6 bpg)
With a Win over Lafayette, Bucknell Would ...
• ... win its third straight road game and improve to 9-8 overall, 3-1 in the Patriot League and 4-7 on the road this season.
• ... maintain a share of first place in the Patriot League.
• ... win for the ninth time in the last 13 games and move over .500 for the first time this season.
• ... beat the Leopards for the fifth straight time.
• ... improve to 52-31 under Nathan Davis.
• Two of the seven teams tied for first place in the Patriot League meet on Monday when Bucknell travels to Lafayette. The Bison bounced back from a loss to Boston University with an 83-66 road win over Army West Point, while the Leopards have back-to-back wins over Holy Cross and Colgate after opening league play with a loss to rival Lehigh.
• Bucknell’s 17-point win at Army on Friday was all the more impressive considering that three of the team’s top six projected rotation players did not play due to injury, and that First Team All-Patriot Leaguers Nana Foulland (8) and Zach Thomas (4) were held to a combined 12 points. The Bison got scoring contributions from up and down the lineup, and they held the high-scoring Black Knights to season lows in points (66) and field-goal percentage (.371).
• Bucknell saw its 15-game home winning streak snapped last Tuesday with an 84-79 loss to Boston University. That streak was tied for the seventh-longest nationally. The Bison came within nine days of going a full calendar year without losing at Sojka Pavilion.
• Bucknell has been playing without two starters in recent weeks. Sophomore Avi Toomer has missed the last 13 games with a leg injury. Junior Kimbal Mackenzie has missed the last nine after undergoing surgery to repair an abdominal muscle tear. Reserve center Nate Sestina also missed the most recent game at Army with a hip strain.
• Zach Thomas is enjoying a monster senior year, averaging 21.7 points and 9.3 rebounds thus far. Thomas is one of four Division I players currently leading his conference in both scoring and rebounding:
PLAYERS LEADING A CONFERENCE IN SCORING AND REBOUNDING
Zach Thomas, Bucknell (PL) 21.7 ppg/9.3 rpg
Marvin Bagley III, Duke (ACC) 22.5 ppg/11.5 rpg
Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s (WCC) 21.3 ppg/10.2 rpg
Brandon McCoy, UNLV (MWC) 19.3 ppg/10.3 rpg
• Thomas has earned four Patriot League Player of the Week honors, giving Bucknell five this season (Nana Foulland has the other). Thomas has 10 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 22nd nationally in scoring, third in free throw attempts and fifth in made free throws.
2017-18 NCAA LEADERS, FREE THROW ATTEMPTS
- Jon Elmore, Marshall 152
- Bryson Scott, Fort Wayne 149
- Zach Thomas, Bucknell 148
- Matt Scott, Niagara 147
- Trae Young, Oklahoma 137
• 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.
• Lafayette fell to 2-10 on the season after a 79-74 loss to Lehigh in the Patriot League opener, but the Leopards are 2-0 in 2018 after beating Holy Cross 60-48 at home and Colgate 71-68 on the road. Most recently, Lafayette overcame a 12-point halftime deficit and beat Colgate on Justin Jaworski’s 3-pointer with 0:03 remaining. The Leopards are paced by senior center Matt Klinewski, who is the Patriot League’s second-leading scorer behind Zach Thomas at 18.6 points per game. Klinewski rarely misses, shooting 55.3 FG%, 50.0 3FG% and 80.6 FT%. Freshmen Alex Petrie (11.1)and Jaworski (11.0) also score in double digits.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Lafayette game will be televised by the Lafayette Sports Network on RCN cable and WBPH-60 in the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia. The game will also stream live on the Patriot League Network at PatriotLeague.tv.
• The game can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM), with Doug Birdsong handling the play-by-play. 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 GoLeopards.com.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Last Time Out
• On a night when top scorers Zach Thomas and Nana Foulland were kept in check in the points column, Stephen Brown, Bruce Moore and Ben Robertson had big games, and Bucknell used depth, defense, and 3-point shooting to race past Army West Point 83-66 on Friday night at Christl Arena.
• Brown logged 19 points and five assists, and Moore hit four treys and tossed in 17 points, one game after scoring a career-high 18 against Boston University. Robertson, helping to make up for some of the lost production from the injured Nate Sestina, scored a career-high 11 points and threw down another highlight-reel dunk in traffic.
• Freshman Jimmy Sotos added 13 points and a career-high five steals. The Bison had nine steals and eight blocked shots on the night, and they held the high-scoring Black Knights to a season-low-tying 66 points on 37.1% shooting. Army came in ranked second in the Patriot League (behind Bucknell) scoring 80.8 points per game, and their 47.5 FG% was tied for the league lead with the Bison. But Bucknell kept Army to 33.3% shooting in the first half and 37.1% overall, and the Bison forced 17 turnovers.
• Even though Thomas (4) and Foulland (8) were held to a combined 12 points — they averaged a combined 38 points per game coming in — both still had major impacts on the game. Thomas grabbed 10 rebounds for his seventh double-digit effort of the season. Foulland had eight rebounds, four blocked shots, two assists and two steals. He altered numerous other shots, and offensively his presence in the paint left shooters open left and right, leading to a season-high 14 treys.
• Brown finished 8-for-12 from the floor and 3-for-6 from 3-point range, and he added five assists from his point-guard spot. Robertson went 4-for-6 from the field and 2-for-4 from the arc, giving him 11 points and five rebounds in 15 minutes.
Bucknell vs. Lafayette
• Bucknell and Lafayette have met 163 times previously, making the Leopards Bucknell’s second most-played opponent (the Bison have played Lehigh 169 times). Since the series began in 1915, Lafayette leads 89-74.
• Since the start of Patriot League play in 1990-91, however, Bucknell has won 45 of 62 meetings.
• Lafayette won 33 of the first 37 meetings and led the series 60-14 at one point.
• Bucknell had been 15-0 all-time against Lafayette in Sojka Pavilion until the Leopards posted their first win there in 2013-14. The Bison are now 18-2 against Lafayette in Sojka Pavilion and 26-5 against the Leopards in Lewisburg going back to the Patriot League’s first season.
• The Bison and Leopards have met in a conference championship game four times, with Bucknell winning three of those. The Bison defeated Lafayette 71-65 in the 1989 East Coast Conference final in Towson, Md., and they also won Patriot League championship games in Sojka Pavilion in 2011 (72-57) and 2013 (64-56). Lafayette claimed the 1999 Patriot League title with a 67-63 win over the Bison in Easton.
• Bucknell has won the last four in the series, including sweeps in each of the last two seasons. Lafayette’s last win over the Bison was an 80-74 verdict in the 2015 Patriot League semifinals.
• Last season, Bucknell won 78-55 in Easton and 94-64 in Lewisburg. In the game at Kirby Sports Center, Zach Thomas recorded 14 points and 10 rebounds, and the Bison parlayed 22 offensive rebounds into 21 second-chance points. They hit 12 3-pointers in that game, and then in the rematch at Sojka Pavilion Bucknell tied a school record with 17 treys and set a record with 40 3-point attempts. Thomas led the Bison with 20 points, and Stephen Brown hit five treys and scored 17. Matt Klinewski scored 20 for the Leopards.
Patriot League Success
• Bucknell is 267-116 (.697) all-time in Patriot League regular-season games, the best record of any league team. The Bison last season compiled at least a .500 record in PL play for the 23rd time in 27 Patriot League seasons.
• Bucknell won three straight outright Patriot League regular-season titles from 2011-13, becoming the first team in league history to accomplish that feat. The Bison have now won another three in a row and six of the last seven.
• Bucknell has won 11 Patriot League regular-season titles in 27 years. No other team has more than five.
• Last year Bucknell made its eighth Patriot League Tournament appearance as the No. 1 seed.
• Dating back to mid-2010, Bucknell has won 98 of its last 125 league games.
• Bucknell won Patriot League Tournament titles in 2005, 2006, 2011, 2013 and 2017. The Bison have made it to the semifinals 20 times and to the championship game 11 times in the 27-year history of the league.
• The Bison are the only team to go unbeaten in league play in a season (14-0 in 2006).
Numbers Worth Noting
• Bucknell leads the Patriot League in scoring offense at 81.9 points per game, but the Bison have also given up the most points (80.9) in the league. The Bison are scoring 1.09 and allowing 1.08 points per possession on the season.
• The Bison are 8-1 when scoring 80 or more points, but 0-7 when scoring fewer than 80. The lone exception to the 80-point rule is a 93-81 loss at North Carolina.
• Bucknell has logged a positive assist-to-turnover ratio in 11 of 16 games this season. Point guard Stephen Brown has 81 assists and only 26 turnovers on the year. He ranks 21st nationally in assist-turnover ratio.
• Nate Sestina has been productive off the bench for the Bison. He is averaging 7.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, but when pro-rated for 40 minutes he is tallying 18.4 ppg and 10.2 rpg.
• Bucknell is shooting 52.4% from the field at home this season, led by Sestina (.724) and Nana Foulland (.688).
• Bucknell is averaging 44.3 points in the second halves of games this season, the 12th-best figure in the country.
• 28.4% of Bucknell’s offensive plays have resulted in free throws, which is the 45th-highest rate in the country.
• Thomas ranks 10th nationally in defensive rebounds per game at 7.9.
• According to the Hollinger Player Efficiency Rating formula at ESPN.com, Thomas ranks 47th out of all Division I players with a score of 27.84. PER measures the aggregate of a player’s statistical efficiency.
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell hosts Lehigh on Thursday in a rematch of the 2017 Patriot League title game. The contest will be televised on Stadium TV.