What: #3 Lehigh (20-11, 12-6 PL) at #1 Bucknell (25-8, 15-3 PL)
Where: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pa.
When: Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
Local Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 FM WEGH)
National Radio: Westwood One | TuneIn App
Satellite Radio: Sirius 83/XM 205
Internet Radio: BucknellBison.com
Live Statistics: BucknellBison.com
Tickets: Bucknell general public tickets SOLD OUT; First 1,000 Bucknell students admitted free
• COMPLETE GAME NOTES
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (10.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.8 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (11.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.4 apg)
G: Avi Toomer (3.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.8 apg)
F: Zach Thomas (16.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.4 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (14.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.1 bpg)
With a Win over Lehigh, Bucknell Would ...
• ... claim the 2017 Patriot League Tournament championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in program history.
• ... win the Patriot League Tournament title for the first time since 2013.
• ... win its sixth game in a row and improve to 26-8 overall and 15-2 at home this season.
• ... break the school record for home victories in a season. The Bison previously won 14 home games in 1992-93, 2005-06, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.
• ... win as many as 26 games in a season for the third time in team history (28 wins in 2012-13; 27 in 2005-06).
• ... snap a three-game series losing streak to Lehigh.
• ... improve to 155-52 all-time at Sojka Pavilion, including a 111-25 mark against Patriot League rivals.
• Bucknell won the Patriot League regular-season title outright for the third straight year and sixth time in the last seven years. The Bison joined Boston University as the only teams ever to win 15 league games, and they finished the year with a three-game cushion over Boston U. and Lehigh.
• Bucknell began the postseason with a convincing 78-62 win over eighth-seeded Army West Point, and then the Bison gutted out a 70-65 victory over fourth-seeded Navy in the semifinals on Sunday.
• Bucknell now hosts third-seeded Lehigh, which also prevailed in a semifinal thriller. The Mountain Hawks held off No. 2 Boston University 91-88 in double-overtime on Sunday. Lehigh comes in at 20-11 overall with six consecutive wins.
• Bucknell and Lehigh will be meeting in the Patriot League title game for the second time. In 2012, the Mountain Hawks prevailed 82-77 at Sojka Pavilion. They went on to upset Duke in the NCAA Tournament, one day after the Bison defeated Arizona in the first round of the NIT. Bucknell and Lehigh also met in the final of the East Coast Conference Tournament in 1985, with Lehigh winning 76-74 in overtime.
• Wednesday marks the 30th anniversary of Bucknell's 1987 ECC Championship game victory over Towson, which clinched the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament bid. In the semifinals that year, the Bison came up with one of its all-time most exciting wins, a 103-100 double-overtime triumph over Lehigh.
• Against Patriot League foes (including the postseason), Bucknell has outscored its opponents by an average of 12.3 points per game. The Bison had won 13 straight games by double-digit margins until Sunday's 70-65 semifinal win over Navy. The Bison had not won three straight games by 20+ points since 1928, but they had two such streaks this season, including one to end the regular season. All told, Bucknell has won 19 games by double-digit spreads this season, a new school record, and they rank 46th nationally with an average score margin of +8.5 on the season.
• When the Bison captured three consecutive outright (no ties) titles from 2011-13, it was the first time in Patriot League history that any team accomplished that feat. Now they have done it again, claiming outright titles from 2015-17. Bucknell is the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament for the eighth time.
• Over the last seven seasons, Bucknell is now 90-24 in Patriot League play with six regular-season titles.
• The Bison have not lost back-to-back games all season and are 8-0 in games following a loss.
• This is the first time in school history that Bucknell’s men’s and women’s basketball teams captured regular-season conference titles in the same season. They have never been to the NCAA Tournament in the same year.
• When looking back on the regular season, the Feb. 19 win at Boston University will be viewed as the turning point. The Bison had a one-game lead over the Terriers going into that game, meaning a loss would have created a tie for first place with two games remaining. Instead, Bucknell turned in its most complete performance of the season, shooting 58.2% on the road in an 86-66 victory that clinched the No. 1 seed.
• Patriot League Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Nana Foulland is now 109-for-170 (.641) from the field in his last 17 games. For the season, his 62.7 FG% ranks 11th nationally. That would be the third-best single-season mark in school history.
• Zach Thomas has been one of the league’s most versatile players this season. Thomas is the only Patriot League player who ranks in the top 10 in points (3rd), rebounds (7th) and assists (10th), and he is also the league's only player who ranks in the top 10 in all three shooting categories: field-goal percentage (9th), 3-point percentage (2nd) and free-throw percentage (3rd). In all, Thomas ranks in the top 14 in the Patriot League in eight different statistical categories.
• As a team, Bucknell ranks 24th out of 347 Division I teams with a field-goal percentage of 48.1%. The Bison have shot 50% or better as a team 11 times in Patriot League play and 15 times total this season.
• Kimbal Mackenzie averaged 13.4 points per game in Patriot League play, the 11th-best mark in the league. He has four 20-point games this season, three of them coming against PL foes Navy (22), American (24) and Army West Point (23). In two of those games, Mackenzie was the catalyst in big comebacks on the road. He had 19 second-half points to help the Bison rally from 13 points down to beat Navy, and he scored 18 after halftime as Bucknell came from seven points down to defeat American. Mackenzie had a season and career-high 25 in a good home win over Richmond.
• Bucknell has gotten excellent play of late from senior John Azzinaro off the bench. Azzinaro’s minutes have gone up — he played a season-high 26 at Loyola on Feb. 15 — and he is 18-for-34 (.529) from 3-point distance in the last 10 contests. That includes 4-for-4 showings from the arc against both American and Loyola.
• Bucknell went 8-5 against a tough non-conference schedule, including a 4-1 mark at home. This was 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.
• Lehigh has been terrific since the middle of February. After losing 3 of 5 in one stretch, the Mountain Hawks have since won six in a row, including Patriot League Tournament victories over Colgate (77-72) and Boston University (91-88 2OT). Lehigh is led by 2015 and 2016 Patriot League Player of the Year Tim Kempton, who averages 20.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Kempton scored 31 points, including a tiebreaking 3-pointer in the second OT period, in Sunday's win in Boston. He eclipsed the 2,000-point mark for his career in that game.
• Kempton and Foulland, the two starting centers in this game, have had two terrific battles so far this season. In the first meeting in Lewisburg, Kempton had 20 points (8-13 FG) and eight rebounds, while Foulland tallied 20 points (7-9 FG) and seven boards. In the rematch in Bethlehem, Kempton logged 24 points (8-18 FG) and 11 rebounds, while Foulland had 16 points (6-11 FG) and 13 rebounds.
• Bucknell and Lehigh have been the league's two best offensive teams all season, and they rank 1-2 in four statistical categories:
Points per Game
1. Lehigh 76.4
2. Bucknell 76.0
1. Bucknell +8.6
2. Lehigh +6.0
1. Bucknell .481
2. Lehigh .480
1. Lehigh .394
2. Bucknell .379
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Lehigh game will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network. Jason Knapp will handle the play-by-play duties, joined by color analyst Doug Gottlieb and sideline reporter Cassie McKinney.
• The game can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH), with Doug Birdsong on the call. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off.
• The Bucknell audio feed is also available online via BucknellBison.com (personal computers) and the official Bucknell Athletics app (iPhone and Android devices).
• Westwood One Sports will provide national radio coverage, with play-by-play announcer Ted Emrich and former Ohio State star Jim Jackson on the call. The broadcast will stream live online through the Westwood One website and will also be available on Sirius 83/XM 205 and via the Westwood One channel on the TuneIn mobile app.
• Live stats can be found at BucknellBison.com.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Bucknell vs. Lehigh
• Bucknell has played more games (168) and won more games (101) against Lehigh than any other school. The Bison have a 101-67 lead in a series that originated in 1902.
• Since the start of Patriot League play in 1990-91, Bucknell holds a 41-21 advantage, including a 22-8 mark at home.
• Lehigh owns the most wins of any team over Bucknell in Sojka Pavilion (7).
• Lehigh is responsible for snapping Bucknell’s 35-game home winning streak against Patriot League foes. The Bison had not lost to a conference opponent at Sojka Pavilion in nearly five years, until the Mountain Hawks won 56-54 in Lewisburg on Jan. 30, 2008.
• Lehigh also won the first game ever played in Sojka Pavilion, a 60-56 decision on Jan. 15, 2003. Including that game, Bucknell is 10-7 against the Mountain Hawks in Sojka.
• Bucknell is 5-3 against Lehigh in Patriot League Tournament action, although the Mountain Hawks won the only other meeting in the championship game (82-77 in 2012).
• Lehigh swept the regular-season series this season. On Jan. 11 at Sojka Pavilion, the Bison stormed back from 18 points down in the second half to tie the game, but the Mountain Hawks finished the game on a 16-5 run over the final 5:45 to win 82-71. While Lehigh was 10-for-17 from 3-point range, the Bison hit just 6 of 23. In game two at Stabler Arena on Feb. 8, Bucknell twice came back from deficits of eight and 12 points to tie the game, but just like in Lewisburg, Lehigh made the final run and prevailed 79-71. Lehigh’s Jordan Cohen hit a baseline jumper — his only points of the night — to snap a 67-all tie with 2:25 to play. Bucknell had two possessions to pull back even, but twice missed contested shots in the paint. Then Austin Price canned his fifth 3-pointer of the night, a dagger from the top of the key with 0:39 to play, to make it a five-point game.
Patriot League Tournament History
Bucknell has an all-time record of 35-22 in 27 Patriot League Tournaments. The Bison have reached the championship game a league-record 11 times, including wins in 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2013, and reached at least the semifinals in 20 of 27 years.
Bison PL Tourney Log
Year Seed Results
1991 4 def. Army 67-49; lost Fordham 82-76
1992 2 def. Army 74-55; def. Holy Cross 86-77; lost Fordham 70-65
1993 1 def. Lehigh 69-65; def. Colgate 75-73; lost Holy Cross 98-73
1994 5 lost Holy Cross 96-91
1995 2 lost Army 94-78
1996 4 def. Lafayette 56-55; lost Colgate 67-61
1997 2 def. Lehigh 84-54; def. Colgate 71-58; lost Navy 76-75
1998 3 def. Holy Cross 60-56; lost Navy 80-61
1999 3 def. Holy Cross 76-52; def. Lehigh 58-50; lost Lafayette 67-63
2000 3 lost Lehigh 73-62
2001 6 def. Colgate 75-68; lost Navy 88-64
2002 3 def. Army 70-59; lost Holy Cross 64-57
2003 5 def. Lehigh 52-47; lost Holy Cross 75-50
2004 4 def. Holy Cross 66-60; lost Lehigh 60-45
2005 2 def. Lafayette 70-34; def. American 53-35; def. Holy Cross 61-57
2006 1 def. Army 59-47; def. American 64-50; def. Holy Cross 74-59
2007 2 def. Navy 62-43; def. Army 68-47; lost Holy Cross 74-66
2008 7 def. Navy 87-86 (3OT); lost Colgate 54-40
2009 7 lost Holy Cross 75-56
2010 2 lost Holy Cross 67-64
2011 1 def. Army 78-51; def. Lehigh 66-64; def. Lafayette 72-57
2012 1 def. Navy 87-63; def. Lafayette 79-52; lost Lehigh 82-77
2013 1 def. Navy 58-42; def. Army 78-70; def. Lafayette 64-56
2014 4 lost 72-71 Army
2015 1 def. Holy Cross 90-83 (OT); lost Lafayette 80-74
2016 1 lost Holy Cross 77-72 (2OT)
2017 1 def. Army 78-62; def. Navy 70-65; vs. Lehigh
Patriot League Success
• Bucknell is 265-115 (.697) all-time in Patriot League regular-season games, the best record of any league team. The Bison compiled 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, after clinching the 2017 title in Boston on Feb. 19.
• Bucknell has now won 11 Patriot League regular-season titles in 27 years. No other team has more than five.
• This year Bucknell makes its eighth Patriot League Tournament appearance as the No. 1 seed.
• The Bison went 13-1 in the league in 2011 and 12-2 in both 2012 and 2013, making them 37-5 over those three campaigns. Dating back to mid-2010, Bucknell has won 97 of its last 123 league games.
• Bucknell won Patriot League Tournament titles in 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2013. 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).
• Bucknell’s consistency in league play even predates the Patriot League. Going all the way back to 1975-76, when the Bison played in the East Coast Conference, the team has had only eight seasons with losing conference records out of 42, and never more than two in a row.
Last Time Out
• Bucknell won a hard-fought Patriot League Tournament semifinal game Sunday against Navy, 70-65.
• Zach Thomas and Nana Foulland both battled through foul trouble the whole game, but the Bison frontcourt duo propelled the Bison offense with a combined 40 points on 13-for-19 shooting. Thomas scored 22 points to go with five assists, three rebounds and two steals, while Foulland scored 18 points to go along with five rebounds and a pair of blocks.
• Foulland's lone assist set up the biggest shot of the game, as he whipped a pass to the left corner for Kimbal Mackenzie, who buried a 3-pointer that stretched a one-point lead up to 69-65 with 39 seconds remaining in the game. It marked only the second three-pointer of the game for Bucknell, as both teams struggled with their outside shooting all day.
• Foulland then stole a pass in the lane, and Thomas hit 1 of 2 free throws to make the final 70-65.
• Navy forced 16 Bison turnovers, leading to 18 points, and grabbed 21 offensive rebounds, leading to 20 more field goal attempts in the game for the Midshipmen. The Bucknell defense held strong, though, as Navy shot only 32.3% (21-for-65) for the game and was only able to parlay those 21 offensive boards into seven second-chance points.
• Bucknell shot 48.9% from the field, despite the 2-for-12 showing from 3-point range. The Bison had been shooting 46% with 12 made threes per game over the previous five contests, but Navy extended its zone defense out to the arc to limit Bucknell’s 3-point opportunities in this one.
Numbers Worth Noting
• Bucknell has blown away the school record for made threes in a season. The Bison currently have 269. The previous mark was 234 set by the 2010-11 squad.
• Bucknell has 2,508 points this season, which is just two shy of the school record of 2,510, set in 1988-89. The Bison have broken the team record for made field goals with 881, one more than the 1988-89 squad.
• Bucknell has allowed 80.6 points per game in its eight losses and 63.2 ppg in its 25 victories.
• Bucknell has posted three of its four biggest comeback victories on the road this season. They overcame deficits of 13 (Navy), 11 (Vanderbilt) and seven (American) to pull out good wins away from home. Bucknell also rallied from eight down to beat Boston University at home.
• Bucknell’s transition defense has been strong thus far. The Bison have given up only 123 fastbreak points through 33 games. They went three straight contests (Vanderbilt, Norfolk State, Northern Colorado) without giving up any fastbreak points. Meanwhile, Bucknell has scored 217 fastbreak points on the season.
• Matt O’Reilly has attempted 136 shots during his career at Bucknell. Of those, 131 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. O’Reilly ranks 13th nationally in 3-point attempts per minute at 0.32.
• Stephen Brown leads the Bison in +/- with a +350 on the season, and he has been +30 or better in three of his last five games (he is +108 in those five games). In the PL quarterfinal game vs. Army West Point, Brown played 33 minutes and was on the floor for 76 of the team’s 78 points.
• This is the first season that Bucknell has had two players recording 100 or more assists since 1991-92 (Russell Peyton 118, Bill Courtney 108). This year Brown has 159 and Thomas 111.
• Thomas' 133 made free throws are ninth-most in a season in Bucknell history.
• Thomas is also on 1,000-point watch. He needs eight more to reach the milestone. He would join Nana Foulland as active 1,000-point scorers and become Bucknell's 41st player to enter the prestigious club.
• Azzinaro is 18-for-34 from the arc in his last 10 games.
• Bison opponents have shot 50% or better from the field only five times this season, and Bucknell is 0-5 in those games (Wake Forest, Butler, La Salle, Lehigh, Loyola). The Bison are 25-3 when holding opponents under 50%.
• Bucknell is averaging a solid 1.08 points per possession this season, while opponents are averaging 0.95.
• The Bison have shot 50% or better from the field in 11 of their last 19 games.
• Bucknell has a +60 rebound margin in its last 18 games. The Bison are 15-0 this season when outrebounding their opponent.
• Mackenzie scored in double figures in two of his first 11 games of the season, but now he has 10 or more in the scoring column in 17 of his last 22.
• D.J. MacLeay averages 13.7 points and a team-high 13.9 rebounds per 40 minutes.
• Nate Jones is 6-9 3FG in his 10 games since returning from injury.
• Brown has 95 assists and 34 turnovers in his last 19 games. He has 20 assists and just four turnovers in six career games against Lehigh. He leads the PL in assist/turnover ratio (2.6) on the season.
• Bucknell has attempted more free throws than its opponent in 19 of 33 games this season. The Bison are 17-2 in those games.
• Lehigh went 19-for-36 (.528) from 3-point range in the two games against Bucknell this season. In the other 17 games against Patriot League competition (including postseason), Bucknell’s opponents are 95-for-345 (.275) from the arc. In the last five games, opponents are 19-for-84 (.226).
Who’s Got Next?
• A Bucknell win would mean a trip to the NCAA Tournament, with pairings announced on Sunday evening.
• A loss would send Bucknell to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).