What: Bucknell (13-8, 7-1 PL) at Navy (13-8, 4-4 PL)
Where: Alumni Hall, Annapolis, Md.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 24, 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: NavySports.com
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (13.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.6 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (6.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.6 apg)
F: Bruce Moore (6.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.9 bpg)
F: Zach Thomas (21.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.1 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (16.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.7 bpg)
With a Win over Navy, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 14-8 overall, 8-1 in the Patriot League and 7-7 on the road this season.
• ... maintain sole possession of first place in the Patriot League.
• ... win its seventh straight game, 10th in its last 11, and 14th in its last 18.
• ... win its sixth straight road game, which would equal its longest in the last six years.
• ... beat the Midshipmen for the ninth straight time and 17th in the last 18 meetings.
• ... improve to 57-31 under Nathan Davis and give Davis his 198th career win as a head coach.
• Bucknell puts a couple of streaks on the line when it travels to Navy on Wednesday night to close out the first round of Patriot League play. The Bison have won six straight games and five straight on the road. Dating back to mid-December, they have won nine of their last 10 games, and they are 13-4 since starting the season with consecutive road losses at Monmouth, Arkansas, North Carolina and Maryland. The Bison also carry an eight-game series winning streak against Navy.
• At 7-1 in Patriot League play, Bucknell has a one-game lead over Boston University atop the league standings. The Terriers are responsible for Bucknell’s lone PL loss, and the two teams will meet again on Sunday afternoon in Boston.
• The Bison have been getting it done with defense of late. In Patriot League play, Bucknell is holding opponents to 38.1% shooting from the field and 29.8% from the 3-point arc while yielding only 65.2 points per game and 0.88 points per possession. The Bison are also +7.6 on the glass and are averaging 5.9 blocks per game.
• Offensively, Bucknell averages a league-best 77.8 points per game in league play, even though at times it has struggled with 3-point shooting (.309) and turnovers (14.5 per game).
• 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 on Jan. 11 against Lehigh, and he rejoined the starting lineup at Colgate on Jan. 15. Sophomore Avi Toomer missed 16 games with a leg injury before returning to the rotation at Loyola last Wednesday. Reserve guard Matt O'Reilly has missed the last four contests with a foot injury and is out 4-6 weeks.
• Zach Thomas is enjoying a monster senior year, averaging 21.2 points and 9.5 rebounds thus far. Thomas, who was named to the Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year Award mid-season watch list, 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) 21.2 ppg/9.5 rpg
Marvin Bagley III, Duke (ACC) 21.9 ppg/11.5 rpg
Yante Maten, Georgia (SEC) 19.6 ppg/9.1 rpg
Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s (WCC) 22.4 ppg/10.2 rpg
• Thomas has earned five Patriot League Player of the Week honors, including this week’s, giving Bucknell six this season (Nana Foulland has the other). Thomas has 12 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 21st nationally in scoring, 29th in rebounding, sixth in defensive rebounding, first in free throw attempts and third in made free throws.
2017-18 NCAA LEADERS, FREE THROW ATTEMPTS
- Zach Thomas, Bucknell 195
- Bryson Scott, Fort Wayne 193
- Jon Elmore, Marshall 184
- Matt Scott, Niagara 181
- Nick Dixon, UTRGV 177
2017-18 NCAA LEADERS, DEFENSIVE REBOUNDS
- Alize Johnson, Missouri State 8.62
- Iba Camara, New Hampshire 8.50
- Deandre Ayton, Arizona 8.30
- Devontae Cacok, UNC Wilmington 8.30
- Leland Kingil, UCSB 8.26
- Zach Thomas, Bucknell 7.95
• Bucknell’s three seniors — Stephen Brown, Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas — are averaging 50.3 points per game and have combined for 62.6% 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. At Loyola last week, the trio topped the combined 4,000-point mark.
• 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.
• Bucknell head coach Nathan Davis will be going up against his old team. Davis was an assistant coach under Don DeVoe at Navy from 1998-2003. He also spent one season (2008-09) working under current Navy assistant Emmett Davis when Davis was head coach at Colgate.
• Navy has alternated wins and losses over the last two weeks and comes in with a 13-8 overall record and a 4-4 mark in Patriot League play. The Midshipmen are all alone in fifth place in the PL standings. Navy is 7-3 at home, including a season-opening win over Pittsburgh. Shawn Anderson leads the team in scoring at 13.0 points per game, while Bryce Dulin (10.9) and Hasan Abdullah (10.2) also score in double figures. Navy leads the Patriot League in scoring defense (67.5 ppg) and has been the league’s best rebounding team this season. The Midshipmen are +5.3 on the glass, and they rebound 77.2% of opponent misses and 32.7% of their own misses.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Navy game will not be televised, but a live 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 (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 NavySports.com.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Last Time Out
• Paced by 18 points from Zach Thomas, Bucknell defeated Holy Cross 77-56 in a Saturday matinee at Sojka Pavilion. Bucknell never trailed in its 21-point victory, winning its sixth consecutive game and maintaining its place alone atop the Patriot League standings.
• Point guard Stephen Brown ignited the Bison attack with an excellent all-around game. In addition to scoring 10 points, Brown stuffed the stat sheet with six rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block.
• Thomas hit 9 of 11 at the line, moving him past Bill Courtney into second place in school history with 408 free throws made. Nana Foulland scored 14 points to go along with a team-high seven rebounds and three blocked shots, while Avi Toomer scored 10 points off the bench in his second game back from injury.
• Continuing its trend of strong defense in conference play, Bucknell smothered the Crusaders right from the opening tap. The Bison conceded only five first-half field goals in 22 attempts and led 36-19 at intermission. They would lead it by as many as 29 in the second half, before Holy Cross scored 17 of its 56 points in the final seven minutes after the Bison starters got an early breather.
• No Bison played more than 27 minutes, and every reserve got extended time late in the contest. Freshman center Paul Newman hit a pair of free throws for his first career points.
• Bucknell shot 44.3% for the game, including a 7-for-27 showing from the 3-point arc. The Bison had 15 assists and 11 turnovers, and they outrebounded Holy Cross 43-36.
• The Crusaders, who were coming off a win over Army, shot 35.6% overall and hit 4 of 18 from the arc.
Bucknell vs. Navy
• This will be the 77th all-time meeting between the Bison and Midshipmen, with Bucknell holding a 41-35 edge in the series.
• Bucknell has won eight straight and 16 of the last 17 meetings, including a season sweep in each of the last three seasons. Navy’s last win over the Bison was 62-61 verdict in Annapolis on Jan. 15, 2014.
• The Mids won 12 of 16 from the Bison prior to joining the Patriot League in 1991-92.
• As conference rivals, Bucknell leads 37-23, with the home team winning most of the time. Since Navy joined the league, Bucknell is 25-5 against the Mids at home but is only 12-18 against Navy in Alumni Hall, although the Bison have won six of their last seven there.
• These two teams typically play close games in Annapolis. The last four games there have been decided by four points or fewer.
• Bucknell is 5-3 all-time against Navy in the Patriot League Tournament, including the Midshipmen’s 76-75 win in the 1997 championship game. Navy won the first three postseason clashes, but the Bison have won the last five, including a 70-65 decision in last year’s semifinal round.
• Bucknell took three games from Navy last season, including that postseason win at Sojka Pavilion. In that game, Zach Thomas (22 points) and Nana Foulland (18 points) both battled through foul trouble to lead the Bison to victory. Shawn Anderson scored 21 points and Bryce Dulin had 15 for Navy. The teams went a combined 4-for-28 from 3-point distance. Earlier in the season, Bucknell won 59-55 in Annapolis, coming from 13 points down in the second half as Kimbal Mackenzie scored 19 of his 22 points after the break. Anderson had 12 for Navy. At Sojka Pavilion, Bucknell trailed 3-0, then went on a 30-1 run to take a commanding 30-4 lead en route to an 82-60 win. Mackenzie had 18 points and seven assists for the Bison, while Hasan Abdullah led Navy with 18 points.
Patriot League Success
• Bucknell is 272-116 (.701) 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.
• Since the start of the 2010-11 season, Bucknell is 97-25 (.795) in Patriot League play.
• 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 80.3 points per game (50th nationally), but the Bison have also given up the second-most points (76.8) in the league (286th nationally). The Bison are scoring 1.08 and allowing 1.03 points per possession on the season.
• Bucknell has ramped up the defense in Patriot League play, however. The Bison have limited seven of their eight PL foes to 70 points or fewer in regulation, including two of the last three in the 50s. In PL games only, Bucknell is yielding only 0.88 points per possession, as opponents are shooting just 38.1% overall and 29.8% from the arc.
• Bucknell is averaging 44.2 points in the second halves of games this season, the ninth-best figure in the country. That figure jumps to 48.4 ppg at home, which is the second-highest figure in the country.
• Bucknell’s first half vs. second half production has been even more pronounced in Patriot League play, where the Bison are averaging nearly 15 more points per game in the second half than the first.
FIRST HALF SECOND HALF
PL Opponent Points FG% Turnovers Points FG% Turnovers
American 35 .500 7 49 .679 3
Boston U. 30 .458 14 49 .417 5
at Army 37 .464 9 46 .552 10
at Lafayette 31 .250 4 39 .516 2
Lehigh 28 .333 6 50 .485 5
at Colgate 23 .296 14 40 .462 4
at Loyola 28 .423 12 50 .556 10
Holy Cross 36 .448 5 41 .438 6
Average 31.0 .391 8.9 45.5 .508 5.6
• The Bison are 9-1 when scoring 80 or more points, but 4-7 when scoring fewer than 80. The lone exceptions to the 80-point rule are a 93-81 loss at North Carolina and the four most recent wins over Lehigh (78-65), Colgate (63-51), Loyola (78-70) and Holy Cross (77-56).
• Stephen Brown is averaging 15.5 ppg in his last six games and 13.9 ppg in Patriot League play. The senior is taking more shots than at any other point in his career. Brown is averaging 11.3 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 6.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, but when pro-rated for 40 minutes he is tallying 17.2 ppg and 11.2 rpg.
• Bucknell is shooting 49.6% from the field at home this season and 44.0% on the road.
• 28.1% of Bucknell’s offensive plays have resulted in free throws, which is the 42nd-highest rate in the country. Bucknell’s 495 free-throw attempts are ninth-most in the nation.
• Zach Thomas ranks sixth nationally in defensive rebounds per game at 8.0. He is averaging a double-double (19.3 ppg/10.5 rpg) in Patriot League play.
• According to the Hollinger Player Efficiency Rating formula at ESPN.com, Thomas ranks 45th out of all Division I players with a score of 27.23. PER measures the aggregate of a player’s statistical efficiency.
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell continues its road swing on Sunday at Boston University. The noon game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
• The Boston University game will be Bucknell’s sixth road game in an eight-game span. After that, the Bison will play five of its next seven at home.