What: Princeton (4-6) at Bucknell (8-4)
Where: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pa.
When: Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, 7 p.m.
Webcast: Patriot League Network
Radio: The Valley (100.9 FM WVLY)
Internet Radio: BucknellBison.com
Live Statistics: BucknellBison.com
Tickets: 570-577-1000 or Buy Online
Promotions: Geisinger Water Bottle Giveaway, Community Night, Scout Night
• COMPLETE GAME NOTES
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (9.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.7 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (8.8 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 2.1 apg)
G: Nate Jones (4.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg)
F: Zach Thomas (16.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.8 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (14.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.3 bpg)
With a Win over Princeton, Bucknell Would ...
• ... win for the seventh time in the last nine games and improve to 9-4 on the season.
• ... snap a three-game losing streak to the Tigers and improve to 5-13 all-time against them.
• ... improve to 5-0 at home this season, which would match the best home start since the 2012-13 team started 7-0 at home.
• ... improve to 145-50 all-time at Sojka Pavilion.
• Bucknell closes out the non-conference portion of its 2016-17 regular-season schedule with a home game against Ivy League power Princeton. Following the game, the Bison will have eight days off before opening up Patriot League play on Dec. 30 at Navy.
• Bucknell has had a successful non-league run thus far, winning 8 of 12 games, including a 4-0 mark at home. This is Bucknell’s most successful pre-conference slate since 2012-13, when the Bison went 13-3 before the start of Patriot League action.
• Bucknell closed the month of November with a four-game winning streak that consisted of victories 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 16.3 points per game, the third-best mark in the Patriot League. Thomas 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 has been on triple-double watch on two occasions. He registered 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists against Robert Morris on Nov. 16, and he had 16 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, four blocks and three steals in Monday’s win over Mount St. Mary’s. Thomas has scored in double figures in 14 straight games dating back to last season.
• Junior center Nana Foulland has been hot of late and is now averaging 14.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Foulland ranks in the top 16 in the Patriot League in five different statistical categories, including first in blocks (2.3) and field-goal percentage (.622). He also ranks 2nd in rebounding, sixth in scoring and 16th in steals (1.3). Foulland has five double-doubles this season.
• 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 the Czech Republic. 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 has used the same starting lineup in all 12 games this season.
• Princeton was tapped as the preseason favorite to win the Ivy League after returning all five starters from a team that finished 22-7 overall and 12-2 in league play last season. The Tigers have had to deal with some injuries, however, as last year’s leading scorer Henry Caruso and 2014-15 leading rebounder and No. 2 scorer Hans Brase have been lost for the season. Brase was just coming back after missing all of last season with an injury. There is still plenty of talent left on the roster, however. Steven Cook, the team’s leading scorer at 15.1 points per game, is coming off a 30-point game in Tuesday’s 96-90 loss at Monmouth. Devin Cannady, who had 26 against Monmouth, averages 13.1 ppg. The Tigers are 4-6 on the season, but they have played only twice at home and have lost to some quality competition, including BYU, VCU, California, Saint Joseph’s, Monmouth and Lehigh.
• Bucknell sophomore guard Matt O’Reilly’s father, Robert, played basketball at Princeton under coach Pete Carril from 1981-85. The elder O’Reilly was part of two NCAA Tournament teams (1983, 1984) with the Tigers, and he went 2-1 against Bucknell in his career.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Princeton game will be televised throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania on WQMY-TV out of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Joe Vasile will handle the play-by-play duties, while former Bucknell guard Abe Badmus will be the color analyst.
• The game can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on The Valley 100.9 FM (WVLY), with Doug Birdsong calling the action. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off. (Note that this game will not air on Eagle 107 as usual, due to a conflict with the Philadelphia Eagles game.)
• The audio feed is also available online via BucknellBison.com (personal computers) and the official Bucknell Athletics app (iPhone and Android devices).
• Live stats can be found at BucknellBison.com.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Bucknell vs. Princeton Series Notes
• The Bison are 4-13 all-time against Princeton, with the Tigers claiming the last three series clashes.
• Last season at Jadwin Gym, Princeton jumped out to a huge early lead and went on to defeat Bucknell 89-77. The Tigers closed the first half on a 31-13 run and led 48-29 at the break. The Bison shot 66.7 percent (20-30) in the second half, but the deficit was just too big to overcome. Chris Hass led all scorers with 21 points, Zach Thomas had 16 points, and Stephen Brown tallied 10 points and eight assists for Bucknell. Devin Cannady scored 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting to lead a balanced Princeton attack.
• Bucknell’s most recent series win came in 2010-11 at Sojka Pavilion as part of the TicketCity Legends Classic. Bucknell triumphed 62-56 behind 25 points and 12 rebounds from Mike Muscala. That snapped a five-game series losing streak and was Bucknell’s first win over Princeton since a 74-62 overtime decision at Jadwin Gym in December 1996, a game in which the Bison rallied from 19 points down. That loss was one of only four all season for the Tigers (the others were Indiana, North Carolina and California).
• These two teams first met on Feb. 12, 1902. Princeton won a 19-18 thriller on its home floor. That was one of only two losses in a 12-2 season for Bucknell.
Bucknell vs. The Ivy League
• Bucknell is 48-49 (.495) all-time against the Ivy League. The Bison have played 48 games against Cornell, but only 49 combined against the other seven Ivy teams. In addition to its 25-23 record against Cornell, Bucknell is 4-2 against Yale, 3-1 vs. Brown, 3-4 vs. Penn, 4-1 vs. Dartmouth, 4-4 vs. Columbia, 4-13 vs. Princeton and 1-1 vs. Harvard.
• The Bison are 10-6 against the Ivy League since the start of the 2010-11 season. This is Bucknell’s only scheduled game against the Ivies this season.
Last Time Out
• Bucknell broke open a tie game with nine minutes to go with a 22-5 run and defeated Mount St. Mary’s 81-65 on Monday at Sojka Pavilion. The Bison snapped a three-game series losing streak to the Mountaineers and improved to 4-0 at home this season.
• Leading the Bison was Zach Thomas, who stuffed the boxscore with 16 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, four blocked shots and three steals. Kimbal Mackenzie also scored 16 points with four assists. Nana Foulland had 14 points, nine rebounds and five blocks, and Stephen Brown tallied eight of his 11 points in that decisive run at the end of the game.
• Bucknell led 40-32 at the half, but Mount St. Mary’s high-pressure “mayhem” defense caused some problems for the Bison midway through the second half, allowing the Mountaineers to get back in the game. Two free throws by Khalid Nwandu gave The Mount a brief 50-49 advantage — their only lead of the night. Thomas scored five straight, the last two coming on a steal and breakaway jam, to put the Bison back on top, but Miles Wilson tied the game at 54 with a layup with 9:11 remaining. But that would be Mount St. Mary’s last field goal for a span of 7:23, as Bucknell used strong defense, improved free-throw shooting and good work against the press to quickly take over the game. Brown was the catalyst, as he scored eight of the first 14 points in the decisive 22-5 run. He went coast-to-coast for a tough layup and then hit a nifty off-balance jumper from the elbow that made it a nine-point game. Brown then assisted on Mackenzie’s transition layup that stretched the lead to double figures at 70-59, and Thomas fed Matt O’Reilly and Mackenzie in opposite corners for 3-pointers to make it a 76-59 rout with 2:11 to go.
• Defensively, the Bison blocked nine shots – all by Foulland (5) and Thomas (4) – and held the Mountaineers to 32.7% shooting on the evening. The nine blocked shots equaled the most ever by a Bucknell team in Sojka Pavilion.
• Both teams finished with 17 turnovers, but Bucknell had 17 assists to just six for Mount St. Mary’s. The Bison also had a 36-26 rebounding advantage and led 40-18 in points in the paint.
Numbers Worth Noting
• Bucknell has allowed 83.5 points per game in its three losses and 64.5 ppg in its eight victories.
• The Bison have scored at a fairly consistent rate this season. They have totaled between 73-76 points in eight of their 12 games.
• Through 12 games, Bucknell’s frontcourt (“4” and “5” positions) is shooting 52.8% from the field, while the guards are shooting 41.4%.
• Bucknell’s starting frontcourt of Zach Thomas (16.3 ppg) and Nana Foulland (14.8 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 37 fastbreak points through 12 games. They went three straight contests (Vanderbilt, Norfolk State, Northern Colorado) without giving up any fastbreak points. Meanwhile, Bucknell has scored 82 fastbreak points on the season.
• Thomas is 44-50 (.880) from the FT line in his last 10 games. His 64 FT attempts on the season are second-most in the Patriot League behind Lehigh’s Tim Kempton. Thomas has scored in double figures in 14 straight games dating back to last season.
• Matt O’Reilly has attempted 90 shots during his career at Bucknell. Of those, 85 have come from beyond the 3-point arc. He is 2-for-5 in his career on 2-point shots, with his first make coming against Richmond earlier this season.
• Stephen Brown has 35 assists in his last six games after totaling 21 in his first six. Brown leads the Bison in +/- with a +73 on the season.
• Bison opponents have shot 50% or better from the field three times this season, and Bucknell is 0-3 in those games (Wake Forest, Butler, La Salle).
• Bucknell is averaging a solid 1.04 points per possession this season, while opponents are averaging 1.00.
• Nate Sestina has been quite productive in his minutes as a reserve forward/center. He is averaging 19.3 points and 12.1 rebounds per 40 minutes, and he is shooting 54.1% from the field on the season.
• Bucknell is 47-for-56 (.839) from the foul line in the last five minutes of games this season, but just 112-for-178 (.629) in the first 35 minutes of games. Even Foulland, who is shooting 48.8% from the line on the season, is 10-for-13 (.769) in late-game situations.
• Foulland needs three rebounds to reach 500 in his career and 111 points to reach 1,000. Only 18 players in Bucknell history have recorded 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
Foulland Hosts a Block Party
• Junior center Nana Foulland recently became just the fifth player in program history to record 100 career blocked shots. He now ranks fifth on the Bucknell all-time list.
Blocked Shots in a Career, Bucknell History
1. Mike Butts 1985-89 278
2. Mike Muscala 2009-13 271
3. Dan Bowen 1996-00 160
4. Mike Bright 1989-93 120
5. Nana Foulland 2004-pres. 107
Who’s Got Next?
• Following the Princeton game, the Bison will take a short holiday break before starting Patriot League play on Friday, Dec. 30 at Navy.
• The Midshipmen are 5-6 on the season and will play at Hartford on Thursday in their final non-conference game.