LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Bucknell senior Zach Thomas garnered his fourth The Rock Patriot League Player of the Week award of the 2017-18 season on Tuesday after a pair of big second-half performances lifted the Bison to a pair of victories over Atlantic 10 opponents. Playing the role of closer, the league scoring leader averaged 18.0 points per game -- in the second halves alone -- and 21.5 points and 9.0 rebounds overall in wins over Richmond and La Salle.
In seven weeks of non-conference play, Bucknell earned five of the seven Patriot League Player of the Week honors, with Thomas tallying four and Nana Foulland one. In addition, Jimmy Sotos earned a PL Rookie of the Week award on Nov. 27.
In Bucknell's 86-78 win at Richmond last Tuesday, the Bison trailed by 14 points in the opening minute of the second half, and then outscored the Spiders 50-28 the rest of the way. Thomas tallied 20 of those 50 points, including 10 straight in one stretch as Bucknell took over the lead. He finished the game with 27 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the field, 3-for-3 from 3-point range, and 6-for-8 from the foul line.
In Friday's 88-81 home win over La Salle, Thomas was scoreless at the half after playing a facilitator's role in the opening half. He then tossed in 16 points in the second half, including a 10-for-12 showing at the foul line, to help Bucknell see out the victory in the final game heading into Patriot League play. Thomas also had 14 rebounds against the Explorers, giving him five double-doubles on the season.
In 13 games thus far, Thomas has topped the 20-point mark eight times and has had at least 15 in every game. His scoring average of 22.4 points per game leads the Patriot League and ranks 15th nationally. He also ranks second in the conference in rebounding at 8.9 per game, and he is second nationally in free-throw attempts and third in made free throws. His 47.8 3-point percentage ranks 23rd nationally.
Foulland easily could have been honored this week as well, as he scored a career-high 30 points on 12 of 15 shooting in the win over La Salle. He also had 13 points and 10 rebounds in the Richmond game.
After playing one of the most difficult schedules in the country, Bucknell takes a 6-7 record into Patriot League play. The Bison host American in the conference opener on Friday at Sojka Pavilion.