What: Bucknell (6-2) at La Salle (3-2)
Where: Tom Gola Arena, Philadelphia, Pa.
When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, 2 p.m.
Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH FM)
Internet Radio: BucknellBison.com
Live Statistics: GoExplorers.com
• COMPLETE GAME NOTES
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (7.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 4.4 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (9.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.6 apg)
G: Nate Jones (3.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.5 apg)
F: Zach Thomas (17.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.8 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (14.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.9 bpg)
With a Win over La Salle, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 7-2 on the season.
• ... extend its winning streak to five straight games, which would equal its longest streak from last season.
• ... defeat the Explorers for the second straight time and improve to 7-18 all-time against them.
• ... even its road record at 2-2 on the season.
• ... clinch a winning record in non-conference play this season.
• The red-hot Bison carry a four-game winning streak into Saturday afternoon’s game at La Salle. After suffering a 26-point loss at Butler on Nov. 19, Bucknell has rattled off consecutive wins over Vanderbilt, Norfolk State, Northern Colorado and Richmond. The middle two came in Las Vegas, where the Bison claimed the “Upper Division” title at the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.
• Bucknell returned home after a 10-day road trip through three time zones and defeated Richmond 73-68 on Wednesday behind a career-high 25 points from sophomore guard Kimbal Mackenzie.
• Bucknell’s 75-72 victory over Vanderbilt was the team’s first win over a Southeastern Conference team since 2006, when it took down Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It was the first victory over a “major conference” team since 2013-14, when Bucknell won at Penn State.
• Only 22 teams in the country have more than Bucknell’s six wins (through Thursday’s games). Of those 22, UCLA has eight wins, and the other 21 are on seven wins.
• Junior center Nana Foulland is heating up, and he received some honors on Monday after a terrific Thanksgiving week. He had a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double against Vanderbilt, one game after scoring 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting at Butler. Foulland added 14 points and 11 rebounds against Norfolk State and 18 points on 9-for-10 shooting against Northern Colorado. He was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Las Vegas Invitational, and on Monday he was named Patriot League Player of the Week and Bison Athlete of the Week. Foulland, who had 14 points and seven rebounds against Richmond on Wednesday, is shooting 68.5% on the season, the 13th-best mark in the country.
• Junior forward Zach Thomas had one of the best games of his career against Manhattan ... and then he surpassed it with an even better performance against Robert Morris just five days later. In the Manhattan game, Thomas scored 25 points on 7-12 shooting from the floor and 10-14 from the free-throw line, and he also added eight rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals. Against Robert Morris, he nearly recorded the first triple-double in program history with 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Thomas also had 16 points against Wake Forest, 12 against Butler, , 17 at Vanderbilt and 22 against Northern Colorado, and he comes into the Richmond game with a team-best 17.9 ppg scoring average.
• Junior point guard Stephen Brown was coming off a sub-par performance by his standards in the Butler game, but he was terrific against Vanderbilt, scoring 15 points with only one turnover in 34 minutes. He scored 10 points in the second half, including the tie-breaking jumper with 2:30 to go that gave the Bison the lead for good. He had two more strong games in Las Vegas and is now averaging 7.8 ppg.
• The Bison were picked to finish third (behind Lehigh and Boston University) in the Patriot League in a preseason poll of the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. Foulland was named to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.
• A year ago, the Bison captured the outright Patriot League regular-season title for the fifth time in the last six years before being upset by Holy Cross in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals.
• Bucknell has had to replace three starters and four lettermen from last year’s squad, including leading scorer and First Team All-Patriot League selection Chris Hass (17.2 ppg), who is now playing professionally in Germany. Also graduated are starting off-guard Ryan Frazier (8.2 ppg), who was a member of the Patriot League All-Defensive Team; starting power forward Dom Hoffman (6.2 ppg), and reserve forward Matt Banas (1.1 ppg).
• The two returning starters are the team’s two junior co-captains: Foulland and Brown. Foulland was a Second Team All-Patriot League pick a year ago after posting 11.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Brown was a Third Team All-PL selection, recording 9.2 points and 5.3 assists per game.
• A pair of sophomores have joined the starting lineup. Mackenzie made his first career start in the season opener against Manhattan. Wing Nate Jones made just his second career start in the season-opener. He replaced an injured Hass for one game last year at Boston University.
• While Bucknell will be playing an Atlantic 10 team for the second straight game, La Salle will be playing a team from the Patriot League for the second time in a row. The Explorers defeated Lehigh 89-81 in Philadelphia on Wednesday night behind 26 points from Jordan Price and 22 from Syracuse transfer B.J. Johnson. La Salle has a new-look roster after finishing 9-22 last season. Johnson, Demetrius Powell (South Carolina) and Pookie Powell (Memphis) are all first-year transfers playing significant minutes for the Explorers. Price leads the team in scoring at 18.2 ppg, followed by Johnson at 18.0. La Salle averages 84.0 points per game as a team, the 31st-highest mark in the nation. The Explorers are also making more than 10 3-pointers per game.
• Bucknell does not have any players from Philadelphia on this year’s roster, however two members of the coaching staff have strong ties to the City of Brotherly Love. John Griffin and Joe Meehan were both high school standouts at Saint Joseph’s Prep. Griffin went on to play at Bucknell, while Meehan went on to Lebanon Valley. Griffin’s father, John, is the former head coach at Saint Joseph’s University, while Meehan’s grandfather, Joe, played college basketball at La Salle and was a team captain.
How to Get the Game
• Saturday’s game will not be televised, however a live webstream will be available through Atlantic10.com.
• The game can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on Eagle 107 (107.3 FM WQKX), with Doug Birdsong calling the action. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off.
• The audio feed is also available online free of charge via BucknellBison.com.
• Live stats can be found at GoExplorers.com.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
• Bucknell and La Salle are former conference rivals in both the Middle Atlantic Conference and the East Coast Conference.
• La Salle has an 18-6 lead in a series that dates all the way back to 1903.
• Bucknell’s series wins came in 1903, 1904, 1979, 2007, 2010 and 2012.
• The Bison were 0-11 against La Salle on the Explorers’ home floor until 2010-11, when Bucknell prevailed 89-77 behind 21 points from Mike Muscala.
• The last time these two teams met was December 15, 2012 at Sojka Pavilion. The Bison won that one 74-66 to improve to 9-1 at the time. Joe Willman recorded 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Muscala tallied 18 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three blocks for the Bison.
Bucknell vs. The Atlantic 10
• Bucknell is 37-73 (.336) all-time against the teams that currently comprise the Atlantic 10.
• In addition to their 6-18 record against La Salle, the Bison are 3-3 vs. Richmond, 3-17 vs. St. Joseph’s, 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, and 0-1 vs. Dayton. Bucknell has never played Massachusetts or VCU.
• This will be the second of two back-to-back games against A-10 opponents for the Bison. On Wednesday, they defeated Richmond 73-68 at Sojka Pavilion.
Last Time Out
• Kimbal Mackenzie scored a career-high 25 points to help Bucknell to its fourth straight victory, 73-68 over Richmond on Wednesday night at Sojka Pavilion. Zach Thomas and Nana Foulland both had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Bison, who are now 6-2 on the season.
• Now 3-0 at home this season, the Bison also got eight points off the bench from Matt O’Reilly and eight assists and five rebounds from point guard Stephen Brown.
• Bucknell shot just 40.7% on the night but had 10 fastbreak points and had assists on 19 of 24 field goals.
• Mackenzie had the hot hand. He scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half, including a huge baseline fadeaway jumper with 51 seconds left that stretched a four-point lead back up to six. He then capped off the performance with a pair of clinching free throws with nine seconds left. Mackenzie was 9-for-15 from the floor, including 4-for-7 from 3-point range, and he hit all three of his free throws. Mackenzie’s previous high-water mark was a 17-point game against Shenandoah in the first game of his career last season..
• Richmond was coming off a strong showing at the Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn, where it took No. 23 Maryland to overtime and then came back and defeated Boston College a day later. The Spiders outrebounded Bucknell 45-37 but hit just 4 of 19 from 3-point distance. They shot 40.3% overall and were led by T.J. Cline’s 22 points.
• Bucknell was 9-for-22 from the arc and 16-for-23 from the foul line. Most notably, Foulland, who came in shooting 35.7% from the line, hit 8 of 10. Foulland also entered the night ranked 10th nationally in field goal percentage at 71.2%. He was hampered by some early foul trouble and finished 3-for-7 from the field in this one.
• The Bison have now beaten Richmond three straight times to even up the all-time series at 3-3.
Numbers Worth Noting
• Bucknell has better shooting percentages in all areas in road games than home games this season. At home, the Bison are shooing 44.8% from the field, 32.3% from 3-point range and 66.7% from the foul line. In true road games, they are 47.0% from the field, 38.1% from the arc and 74.4% from the foul line.
• Through eight games, Bucknell’s frontcourt (“4” and “5” positions) is shooting 55.3% from the field, while the guards are shooting 37.6%.
• Bucknell’s starting frontcourt of Zach Thomas (17.4 ppg) and Nana Foulland (14.8 ppg) have scored 43.4% of the team’s points on the season.
• Bucknell’s transition defense has been strong thus far. The Bison have given up only 15 fastbreak points through eight games, including a total of four over the last four games. They went three straight contests (Vanderbilt, Norfolk State, Northern Colorado) without giving up any fastbreak points.
• Thomas is 25-29 (.862) from the FT line in his last six games.
• During this four-game winning streak, Stephen Brown is averaging 9.8 ppg, shooting 42.9 FG%, and has 20 assists with only seven turnovers. In the four previous games, he averaged 5.8 ppg on 36.8% shooting and had 15 assists with 10 turnovers.
• Matt O’Reilly has attempted 61 shots during his career at Bucknell. Of those, 59 have come from beyond the 3-point arc. He is 1-for-2 in his career on 2-point shots, with his first make coming last time out against Richmond.
• Bucknell is 31-for-35 (.886) from the free-throw line in the final 5:00 games this season.
• The Bison have outscored their opponents 98-80 in the final 5:00 of games.
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell has one more game before the final exams break. The Bison will play at Fairfield on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
• The Stags are 5-1 on the season, including a 76-67 win over Rider on Thursday in their MAAC opener. They will have another conference game on Saturday at Siena before the Bison come to Bridgeport on Tuesday. Fairfield’s lone loss came against a Patriot League team in Loyola, and the Stags also have a one-point win over Army West Point.