What: Bucknell (6-3) at Fairfield (5-2)
Where: Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Conn.
When: Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, 7 p.m.
TV: SportsNet New York (SNY)
Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH FM)
Internet Radio: BucknellBison.com
Live Statistics: FairfieldStags.com
• COMPLETE GAME NOTES
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (8.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.6 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (8.6 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.7 apg)
G: Nate Jones (4.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.3 apg)
F: Zach Thomas (16.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.6 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (14.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.1 bpg)
With a Win over Fairfield, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 7-3 on the season.
• ... avenge last season’s 101-91 home loss to the Stags and improve to 2-4 in the all-time series.
• ... up its road record to 2-3 on the season.
• ... clinch a winning record in non-conference play this season.
• Bucknell wraps up a busy first semester of action on Tuesday night at Fairfield. Following the game, the Bison will go on hiatus until Dec. 17 for final exams. Including the Fairfield game, Bucknell will have played 10 games in 22 days to start the season.
• Bucknell's four-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday with an 83-73 loss at La Salle. The Bison led by two at halftime but were outscored 41-29 in the second half against a talented Explorers squad.
• During the four-game win streak, Bucknell 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. The 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.
• Junior forward Zach Thomas continues to lead the team in scoring at 16.6 points per game, the fourth-best mark in the Patriot League. Thomas is shooting 50.0 FG%, 44.4 3FG% and 81.4 FT% on the season, and he also ranks second on the team in assists and rebounds from his power forward position. Thomas had 25 points against Manhattan in the season opener, and he just missed a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists against Robert Morris.
• Junior center Nana Foulland received some honors last week 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 he was later named Patriot League Player of the Week and Bison Athlete of the Week. Foulland is shooting 64.6% from the field this season, the 19th-best figure in the nation.
• A pair of sophomores had breakout games last week. Kimbal Mackenzie exploded for a career-high 25 points in the win over Richmond, and then Nate Jones tallied a career-high 15 points — all in the first half — against La Salle.
• 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.
• Bucknell will be playing a MAAC team for the second time this season, following a 76-64 win over Manhattan on opening night. Fairfield fell to 5-2 on the season with an 80-73 conference loss at Siena on Saturday. The Stags are 1-1 in early MAAC play, and they are also 1-1 against Patriot League opponents with a home win over Army West Point and an away loss to Loyola. Tyler Nelson leads the MAAC in scoring at 21.0 ppg, while Amadou Sidibe leads the league in rebounding at 11.4 rpg.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Fairfield game will be televised on SNY in the New York market, and a live webstream will be available through ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
• 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 (personal computers) and the official Bucknell Athletics app (iPhone and Android devices).
• Live stats can be found at FairfieldStags.com.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Bucknell vs. Fairfield Series Notes
• Bucknell and Fairfield played a two-game series in 1990-91 and 1991-92, and those were the only two all-time meetings between the two programs until the start of this current series in 2013-14. Fairfield holds a 4-1 series lead, with Bucknell’s lone win coming in 2014-15 in overtime in Bridgeport.
• In the first meeting at Fairfield on Dec. 3, 1990, the Stags won handily 94-67. A year later in Davis Gym, Fairfield won again 77-70.
• Last season at Sojka Pavilion, Fairfield tied the arena record with 17 made 3-pointers (in 32 attempts) in a 101-91 victory over the Bison. Tyler Nelson hit four of those deep balls and scored 25 points to lead the Stags, while Ryan Frazier led the Bison with 20 points. Bucknell outrebounded Fairfield 51-24 but was undone by 23 turnovers and poor defense. The good news for the Bison was that they rebounded from the Fairfield game with an 88-58 win over Navy, which launched a five-game winning streak.
• In the last meeting at Webster Bank Arena, the Bison beat the Stags for the very first time, rallying for a 72-66 overtime win. The Bison trailed by 12 points with 11 minutes to play before storming back. Chris Hass scored all 18 of his points after halftime, and Steven Kaspar had all eight of his points in overtime. Dom Hoffman (14) and Nana Foulland (12) added 26 more for the Bison, who scored 18 points in the first half, 29 in the second, and then a team record 25 in the five-minute overtime period.
Bucknell vs. The MAAC
• Bucknell is 48-53 (.475) in 101 all-time against the teams that currently comprise the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, including a victory earlier this year over Manhattan and a 1-3 record last season (win over Manhattan, losses to Siena, Fairfield, Monmouth). The Bison are 30-24 against Rider, 6-4 against Marist, 4-5 vs. Niagara, 4-2 vs. Manhattan, 2-4 vs. Iona, 1-0 vs. St. Peter’s, 1-4 vs. Fairfield, 0-6 vs. Canisius, 0-3 vs. Siena, and 0-1 vs. Monmouth.
Last Time Out
• B.J. Johnson scored 22 points and Jordan Price added 20 for La Salle, which used a big second half to turn back Bucknell 83-73 on Saturday afternoon at Tom Gola Arena.
• The Bison led by two at halftime, but saw their four-game winning streak come to an end despite a career-high 15 points from Nate Jones and 15 points, six assists and three steals from Stephen Brown.
• Nana Foulland (12 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists) and Zach Thomas (10 points) also scored in double figures for the Bison.
• Jones hit four of Bucknell’s eight first-half 3-pointers, and he scored all 15 of his points in the first half.
• Bucknell had a 44-42 lead at the end of an up-and-down first half, but the Explorers ratcheted up their defense to start the second half took over the game. La Salle outscored Bucknell 41-29 in the final 20 minutes.
• Bucknell shot 58.6% in the first half but only 39.1% in the second. After making those eight 3-pointers in the first half, the Bison were 0-for-7 in the second to finish 8-for-21 on the day. Despite the second-half struggles, Bucknell still shot an even 50% (26-52) for the game.
• Meanwhile, La Salle shot 55.2% in the second half after converting at a 46.4% clip in the second. The Explorers finished with a 33-26 rebounding edge and finished with 15 turnovers compared to Bucknell’s 17.
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 47.7% from the field, 38.1% from the arc and 75.0% from the foul line.
• Bucknell has allowed 87.7 points per game in its three losses and 64.5 ppg in its six victories.
• The Bison have scored at a fairly consistent rate this season. They have totaled between 73-76 points in seven of their nine games. The only exceptions are an 84-58 win over Norfolk State and an 86-60 loss to Butler.
• Through nine games, Bucknell’s frontcourt (“4” and “5” positions) is shooting 54.0% from the field, while the guards are shooting 39.8%.
• Bucknell’s starting frontcourt of Zach Thomas (16.6 ppg) and Nana Foulland (14.4 ppg) have scored 42.0% of the team’s points on the season.
• Bucknell’s transition defense has been strong thus far. The Bison have given up only 22 fastbreak points through nine games, including a total of 11 over the last five 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 seven games. He has scored in double figures in 11 straight games.
• Foulland is 14-for-18 (.778) from the free-throw line in the last two games after going 10-for-28 (.357) in his first seven games.
• Matt O’Reilly has attempted 68 shots during his career at Bucknell. Of those, 66 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. O’Reilly has attempted seven or more 3-pointers in each of his last four games (10-30).
• Stephen Brown has 20 assists in his last three games after totaling 21 in his first six.
• The Bison have made eight or more 3-pointers in five straight games.
• Bison opponents have shot 50% or better from the field three times this season. Those are Bucknell’s only three losses (Wake Forest, Butler, La Salle).
• Bucknell is 38-for-43 (.884) from the free-throw line in the final 5:00 games this season.
• The Bison have outscored their opponents 109-86 in the final 5:00 of games.
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell will be off for final exams until Dec. 17 when it visits Siena. The game will be played at the Glens Falls (N.Y.) Civic Center, which is not Siena’s normal home court.
• Siena was picked second in the MAAC preseason poll. The Saints are off to a 3-5 start, including a conference win over Fairfield.