What: Bucknell (11-8, 5-1 PL) at Loyola (5-12, 3-3 PL)
Where: Reitz Arena, Baltimore, Md.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, 7 p.m. (ET)
TV: Stadium TV (Station List)
Webcast: Patriot League Network
Local Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 FM WEGH)
Listen Live: BucknellBison.com and Eagle107.com
Live Stats: LoyolaGreyhounds.com
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (13.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.6 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (5.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.7 apg)
F: Bruce Moore (5.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.8 bpg)
F: Zach Thomas (21.2 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.1 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (16.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.6 bpg)
With a Win over Loyola, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 12-8 overall, 6-1 in the Patriot League and 6-7 on the road this season.
• ... maintain at least a share of first place in the Patriot League (co-leader Boston University hosts American on Wednesday).
• ... get to 6-1 after seven PL games for the third straight year.
• ... win its fifth straight game, eighth in its last nine, and 12th in its last 16.
• ... win its fifth straight road game and improve to 4-0 on the road in league play.
• ... improve to 55-31 under Nathan Davis and give Davis his 196th career win as a head coach.
• Bucknell is back on the road on a short turnaround on Wednesday at Loyola. The Bison are coming off a 63-51 win at Colgate on Monday, their season-best fourth straight victory. Bucknell is 2-1 this season with just a single day off between games (loss to Arkansas, wins over Siena and Ball State).
• Bucknell and Boston University enter the night tied for the Patriot League lead at 5-1. Army is one game back at 4-2, and four others (including Loyola) are 3-3.
• Bucknell is starting to get healthier after playing without two starters for most of the season. Junior Kimbal Mackenzie missed 10 games after undergoing surgery to repair an abdominal muscle tear, but the 2017 Third Team All-Patriot League selection returned last Thursday against Lehigh, and he rejoined the starting lineup at Colgate on Monday. Sophomore Avi Toomer has missed the last 16 games with a leg injury, but he is expected to play some minutes off the bench at Loyola. Reserve guard Matt O'Reilly has missed the last two contests with a foot injury and is out 4-6 weeks.
• Despite the depleted lineup, Bucknell has won seven of its last eight games and is 11-4 since starting the season with consecutive road losses at Monmouth, Arkansas, North Carolina and Maryland.
• Zach Thomas is enjoying a monster senior year, averaging 21.2 points and 9.6 rebounds thus far. Thomas, who was named to the Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year Award mid-season watch list this week, is one of five Division I players currently leading his conference in both scoring and rebounding:
PLAYERS LEADING A CONFERENCE IN SCORING AND REBOUNDING
Zach Thomas, Bucknell (PL) 21.2 ppg/9.6 rpg
Marvin Bagley III, Duke (ACC) 22.0 ppg/11.7 rpg
Deandre Ayton, Arizona (Pac-12) 20.2 ppg/11.3 rpg
Yante Maten, Georgia (SEC) 19.6 ppg/8.9 rpg
Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s (WCC) 21.7 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 11 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 23rd nationally in scoring, first in free throw attempts and sixth in made free throws.
2017-18 NCAA LEADERS, FREE THROW ATTEMPTS
- Zach Thomas, Bucknell 171
- Matt Scott, Niagara 169
- Bryson Scott, Fort Wayne 168
- Jon Elmore, Marshall 165
- Nick Dixon, UTRGV 160
• Bucknell’s three seniors — Stephen Brown, Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas — are averaging 50.7 points per game and have combined for 62.9% of the team’s points this season. All three have now topped the 1,000-point plateau, with Brown the latest to reach the milestone on Jan. 8 at Lafayette. With a combined 11 points at Loyola, the trio would become a 4,000-point class.
• 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.
• This game will feature a battle of terrific senior point guards, as Bucknell’s Stephen Brown will go up against Loyola’s Andre Walker, who is coming off a 43-point performance in an 83-77 win over Lafayette on Sunday. Walker, this week’s Patriot League Player of the Week, leads the Greyhounds in scoring at 15.9 ppg. Loyola has four other double-digit scorers in Chuck Champion (13.7), Cam Gregory (12.9), Isaiah Hart (11.2) and Andrew Kostecka (10.0). Gregory ranks second in the Patriot League behind Zach Thomas in rebounding at 9.1 per game. The Greyhounds were riddled by injuries early in the year and went 2-9 in non-conference play. They have beaten Navy, Boston University and Lafayette at home in the PL, while losing to Army, Holy Cross and American on the road. Overall, Loyola is 5-2 at home and 0-10 on the road this season.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Loyola game will be televised on Stadium TV and will stream live on the Patriot League Network at PatriotLeague.tv. Patrick Kinas (play-by-play), former Army star Chris Spatola (color) and Morgan Uber (sideline) will call the action.
• 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 LoyolaGreyhounds.com.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Last Time Out
• Zach Thomas recorded 17 points and 15 rebounds, Nana Foulland also had a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards, and Bucknell rallied from nine points down to beat Colgate 63-51 in a defensive struggle at Cotterell Court on Monday night.
• Stephen Brown scored eight of his 10 points in a decisive two-minute stretch early in the second half.
• On a night when buckets were extremely hard to come by, the Bison continued their recent trend of stellar defense, cooling off a team that had won five of its last seven. They held Colgate to 27.1% shooting on its home floor and limited dangerous scorers Will Rayman (14.8 ppg) and Jordan Burns (11.7 ppg) to a combined 1-for-22 shooting. Bucknell also controlled the glass, outrebounding the Raiders 48-33.
• Bucknell used that strong defense to hang around despite a dreadful offensive opening 20 minutes. Down 25-16 after a rash of turnovers and a field-goal percentage hovering in the low-20s, the Bison kept Colgate scoreless (0-for-10 FG) over the final 4:19 to climb within a pair at 25-23 at halftime.
• Bucknell shot 37.7% for the game and hit 6 of 22 from the arc and a strong 17 of 20 from the foul line. After shooting 29.6% with 14 turnovers in the first half, the Bison improved to 46.2% with four turnovers in the second stanza. They came in to the game ranked 12th nationally in second-half scoring at 44.3 points per game. Bucknell had 40 in this one after producing 23 in the opening 20 minutes.
Bucknell vs. Loyola
• TThe Bison and Greyhounds have met 16 times previously, with Bucknell leading 13-3 in the series, including a 7-1 mark at Reitz Arena.
• Bucknell had beaten Loyola eight straight times, including a 7-0 mark as Patriot League rivals, until the Greyhounds won 78-77 in Baltimore last season.
• The first series meeting came on Jan. 7, 1987 in Lewisburg. The Bison prevailed that day 72-70. A year later Bucknell won 80-60 on Loyola’s home floor.
• Bucknell and Loyola played twice within the 1992-93 season. The Bison won 75-59 in Baltimore, and in late February at Davis Gym the Bison rolled to a 116-85 victory. In the latter game the Bison produced their second-highest point total in program history, led by an incredible 9-for-10 3-point shooting performance by Hall-of-Famer Mike Bright.
• Bucknell and Loyola split the season series last year. At Sojka Pavilion, the Bison shot a blistering 72.0% from the field in the first half en route to a 76-63 win. Zach Thomas paced the Bison with 18 points (8-10 FG) and 11 rebounds. The Bison led 46-26 at the half and by as many as 28 in the second half. KaVaughn Scott led Loyola with 12 points. In the rematch at Reitz Arena, Loyola used a Jared Jones fadeaway jumper with 45 seconds left to prevail 78-77. Jones had 23 points and 12 rebounds in the game. Nana Foulland had 17 points for the Bison, who rallied from 15 points down to take the lead before Loyola won it in the final minute. Both teams shot very well from long distance, with Bucknell making 12 of 19 from the arc and Loyola 7 of 11. The Bison responded to that loss by winning six straight games, including three in the Patriot League Tournament, with the next setback coming to West Virginia in the NCAA Tournament.
Patriot League Success
• Bucknell is 270-116 (.699) 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.
• 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 80.6 points per game (52nd nationally), but the Bison have also given up the second-most points (78.2) in the league (304th nationally). The Bison are scoring 1.06 and allowing 1.02 points per possession on the season.
• Bucknell has ramped up the defense in Patriot League play, however. The Bison have limited four of their six PL foes to 66 points or fewer, including holding Colgate to a season-low 51 on Monday. In PL games only, Bucknell is yielding only 0.88 points per possession, as opponents are shooting just 37.6% overall and 30.3% from the arc.
• The Bison are 9-1 when scoring 80 or more points, but 2-7 when scoring fewer than 80. The lone exceptions to the 80-point rule are a 93-81 loss at North Carolina and the two most recent wins over Lehigh (78-65) and Colgate (63-51).
• Bucknell has logged a positive assist-to-turnover ratio in 13 of 19 games this season. Point guard Stephen Brown has 88 assists and only 30 turnovers on the year. He ranks 22nd nationally in assist-turnover ratio.
• Brown is averaging 17.7 ppg in his last three games and 14.8 ppg in Patriot League play. The senior is taking more shots than at any other point in his career. Brown is averaging 11.5 FGA per game this season, nearly three more attempts above his previous career high of 8.6 last year.
• Nate Sestina has been productive off the bench for the Bison. He is averaging 6.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, but when pro-rated for 40 minutes he is tallying 18.1 ppg and 10.6 rpg.
• Bucknell is shooting 50.4% from the field at home this season and 44.0% on the road.
• Bucknell is averaging 44.1 points in the second halves of games this season, the 12th-best figure in the country. That figure jumps to 49.4 ppg at home, which is the fifth-highest figure in the country.
• 28.0% of Bucknell’s offensive plays have resulted in free throws, which is the 53rd-highest rate in the country.
• Thomas ranks eighth nationally in defensive rebounds per game at 8.1. He is averaging a double-double (18.5 ppg/11.0 rpg) in Patriot League play.
• According to the Hollinger Player Efficiency Rating formula at ESPN.com, Thomas ranks 56th out of all Division I players with a score of 27.74. PER measures the aggregate of a player’s statistical efficiency.
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell is back at home on Saturday to host Holy Cross at noon on WQMY-TV and PatriotLeague.tv. It will be just the second afternoon game all season for the Bison.