What: Ball State (1-3) at Bucknell (1-4)
Where: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pa.
When: Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, 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: BucknellBison.com
PROMOTIONS & HAPPENINGS:
• Poster giveaway, courtesy of Weis Markets
• COMPLETE GAME NOTES
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (12.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 6.4 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (5.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 2.6 apg)
F: Bruce Moore (4.8 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.2 apg)
F: Zach Thomas (23.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.4 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (16.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.0 apg)
With a Win over Ball State, Bucknell Would ...
• ... win its second straight game and improve to 2-4 overall and 2-0 at home this season.
• ... defeat the Cardinals for the first time in three all-time meetings.
• ... defeat a team from the state of Indiana for the first time since 2012-13 (Purdue).
• ... improve to 157-52 all-time in Sojka Pavilion.
• ... improve to 45-27 under Nathan Davis.
• After suffering four tough losses against top-notch competition to start the season, the Bison unleashed an offensive firestorm in their home opener against Siena on Monday. Bucknell shot 61.1 FG% and hit 39 of 45 free throws on the way to a 115-92 rout of the Saints. The 115 points were the third-most in team history and most ever in Sojka Pavilion.
• On that grueling road trip to start the season, Bucknell covered 4,004 miles by ground and air, and played four teams in Monmouth, Arkansas, defending national champion North Carolina and Maryland that combined to win 110 games last season and are currently a combined 13-2.
• Bucknell dropped all four of those games, but three of them came right down to the wire. The Bison fell 79-78 at Monmouth, when the Hawks made two free throws with five seconds remaining in the game. They trailed by only one at North Carolina with 12 minutes to play before the Tar Heels pulled away in the last few minutes to win 93-81. And then on Saturday at Maryland, Bucknell played a near-perfect first half and led 50-35 at the break, but the Terrapins rallied to win 80-78.
• The Bison are shooting 48.0% from the field and 41.7% from 3-point range thus far. They have made double-digit 3-pointers in all five games. Bucknell has hit 55 3-pointers in five games, sixth-most in the country, compared to just 29 by its opponents.
• Senior Zach Thomas is off to quite a start, averaging 23.6 points and 8.4 rebounds in the first five games of the season. Thomas became the first Bison in 26 years to start a season with three straight 20-point games. Mike Bright was the last to do it in 1991-92. The streak ended when he was held to 17 points at Maryland, but then he bounced back with 25 on Monday against Siena. Those 25 points came on just six field-goal attempts, as Thomas set school records by hitting 19 of 22 from the foul line. Thomas currently leads the Patriot League in both scoring and rebounding.
• Thomas’ fellow seniors, Nana Foulland and Stephen Brown, are also off to fast starts. Foulland is shooting 61.4% from the field and averaging 16.6 ppg, while Brown tallied a career-high 23-point game at Maryland and is averaging 12.8 ppg and 6.4 apg. The three seniors have combined for 62.4% of the team’s points this season.
• 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 has all five starters back from last year’s team that swept the Patriot League regular-season and tournament titles and went to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in program history. The Bison took fourth-seeded West Virginia right to the wire before falling 86-80.
• Ball State has also faced a very difficult schedule to start the season. The Cardinals have beaten Stony Brook, which is next up on Bucknell’s schedule, and their three losses have come against Dayton, Oklahoma and Oregon. Tayler Persons leads the team in both scoring (15.3) and assists (4.3).
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Ball State game will stream live, free of charge, 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 calling the action. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off.
• Live statistics can be accessed via BucknellBison.com.
• 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.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Last Time Out
• After unveiling its Patriot League title and NCAA Tournament banners from last season prior to the game, Bucknell put forth a championship effort in a 115-92 win over Siena, erasing some of the frustration from an 0-4 start against difficult competition.
• Zach Thomas set school records for free throws made (19) and attempted (22) in a game on the way to a 25-point night, and Bucknell fell four points shy of the team scoring record.
• Thomas scored his 25 points on only six field-goal attempts. He was 3-for-6 from the field, but 19-for-22 from the foul line (13-for-13 in the second half). Bryan Bailey set the previous record with 17 made free throws against Lock Haven in 2000, and Brian Anderson’s mark of 20 free-throw attempts came against Colgate in 1994. Thomas also led the team with seven rebounds.
• Joining Thomas in double figures for the Bison were Nana Foulland, who had 15 points in just 15 minutes of game action, Nate Sestina (14), Bruce Moore (14) and Jimmy Sotos (10). Kimbal Mackenzie tallied nine points, and John Meeks and Matt O'Reilly scored eight each off the bench. Eleven of the 13 Bison in uniform scored on the night, and the bench combined for 46 points.
• Bucknell had 24 assists on 33 made field goals, with Stephen Brown (6), Sotos (5) and Mackenzie (4) combining for 15 of them. A number of other terrific passes led to free-throw opportunities. On a night when 54 fouls were called in the game, Bucknell hit 39 of 45 (.867) from the charity stripe.
• All told, the Bison shot 61.1% (33-54) and made 10 of 20 from the 3-point arc. They have now recorded double-digit 3-pointers in all five games this season.
• Sestina scored 10 points in the first half before finishing with a career-high 14. Moore’s 14 points matched his career best, set last season against Navy.
• Bucknell improved to 1-4 all-time against Siena, including losses by three points or fewer in each of the last three seasons. Nico Clareth led the Saints with 21 points.
BUCKNELL TOP-5 POINT TOTALS
- 1/29/68 vs. Colgate W 119-106
- 2/24/93 vs. Loyola (Md.) W 116-85
- 11/20/07 vs. Siena W 115-92
- 2/27/93 vs. Holy Cross W 112-99
- 12/7/87 vs. Susquehanna W 110-72
1/13/88 vs. Washington College W 110-77
2/2/94 vs. Colgate W (2OT) 110-108
Bucknell vs. Ball state Series Notes
• The Bison and Cardinals have met twice previously, with Ball State winning both at neutral-site holiday tournaments.
• On Dec. 30, 1971, Ball State won 84-83 in overtime at the Hall of Fame Tournament in Springfield, Mass. Paul Kerr had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Bison.
• The most recent meeting came on Dec. 27, 1998 at the Hoosier Classic in Indianapolis. The Cardinals won that one 63-59, despite 16 points from Willie Callahan.
Bucknell vs. the MAC
• Bucknell is 4-16 against the teams that currently comprise the Mid-American Conference: 2-0 vs. Kent State, 1-0 vs. Northern Illinois, 1-8 vs. Buffalo, 0-2 vs. Akron, 0-2 vs. Ball State, 0-2 vs. Ohio, 0-1 vs. Eastern Michigan and 0-1 vs. Toledo.
• Bucknell’s last game against a MAC opponent was a 92-65 loss to Toledo in 2014-15.
Who’s Got Next?
• After playing six times in the first 13 days of the season, Bucknell will now get its longest rest period to date before heading out to Stony Brook on Sunday. The 2 p.m. game will stream live on ESPN3.