What: Bucknell (8-5, 0-0 PL) at Navy (5-7, 0-0 PL)
Where: Alumni Hall, Annapolis, Md.
When: Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, 7 p.m.
Webcast: Patriot League Network
Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 FM WEGH)
Internet Radio: BucknellBison.com
Live Statistics: NavySports.com
• COMPLETE GAME NOTES
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (9.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.7 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (8.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.1 apg)
G: Nate Jones (4.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.1 apg)
F: Zach Thomas (16.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.7 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (14.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.2 bpg)
With a Win over Navy, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 9-5 overall and 3-4 on the road this season.
• ... start 1-0 in Patriot League play for the third straight year and improve to 15-12 all-time in PL openers.
• ... defeat the Midshipmen for the sixth straight time and improve to 39-35 all-time against them.
• ... improve to 251-112 all-time in Patriot League regular-season games.
• ... avoid suffering back-to-back losses for the first time all season.
• ... finish the 2016 calendar year with a 22-11 record.
• After a successful tour through the non-conference schedule, Bucknell opens up its 27th season of Patriot League competition on Friday at Navy. The Bison have captured five of the last six Patriot League regular-season titles, and they bring the best overall record into league play.
• Bucknell will face Navy in its Patriot League opener for the third straight year and 14th time overall. The two teams will not meet again until the regular-season finale on Feb. 25 in Lewisburg.
• The Bison have been idle for eight days, since a 72-70 home loss to Princeton on Dec. 22.
• 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.
• Junior forward Zach Thomas leads the team and ranks No. 2 in the Patriot League in scoring at 16.6 points per game. 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 last Monday’s win over Mount St. Mary’s. Thomas has scored in double figures in 15 straight games dating back to last season.
• Junior center Nana Foulland enters league play averaging 14.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Foulland ranks in the top six in the Patriot League in four different statistical categories, including first in blocks (2.2) and field-goal percentage (.618). He also ranks 2nd in rebounding and sixth in scoring. 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.
• 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 13 games this season.
• Navy enters league action with a 5-7 record. The Midshipmen had a two-game winning streak snapped with a 63-54 loss at Hartford in their most recent outing on Dec. 22. Navy has wins over Columbia, Bryant, Penn, UMBC and Washington College. Bucknell and Navy have no common opponents thus far. Shawn Anderson leads a balanced scoring attack with 12.4 points per game. The Midshipmen feature the league’s No. 3 rebounder and top offensive rebounder in Tom Lacey (7.7 rpg).
• Bucknell head coach Nathan Davis will be going up against his old team on Wednesday. Davis was an assistant coach under Don DeVoe at Navy from 1998-2003.
• Bucknell brings home three players who played their high school basketball in the state of Maryland. Junior Zach Thomas graduated from Oakdale High School as the No. 2 all-time scorer in Maryland public school history (2,281 points). Sophomore Kimbal Mackenzie is a native of Canada, but he attended The John Carroll School, where he was the Baltimore Catholic League Player of the Year as a senior. Freshman Bruce Moore also came out of that conference, where he attended McDonogh School.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Navy game will not be televised, however a free webcast will be available on the Patriot League Network at PatriotLeague.TV.
• The game can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH), with Doug Birdsong calling the action. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off.
• 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 NavySports.com.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Bucknell vs. Navy
• This will be the 74th all-time meeting between the Bison and Midshipmen, with Bucknell holding a narrow 38-35 edge in the series.
• Bucknell has won 13 of the last 14 meetings, including a season sweep in each of the last two seasons.
• The Mids won 12 of 16 from the Bison prior to joining the Patriot League in 1991-92.
• As conference rivals, Bucknell leads 34-23, with the home team winning most of the time. Since Navy joined the league, Bucknell is 23-5 against the Mids at home but is only 11-18 against Navy in Alumni Hall.
• Bucknell is 4-3 all-time against Navy in the Patriot League Tournament, including the Midshipmen’s 76-75 win in the 1997 championship game.
• Bucknell took both games from the Midshipmen last season, one blowout and one that came right down to the wire. In the league opener at Sojka Pavilion exactly one year ago, the Bison snapped a seven-game losing streak with an 88-58 rout. Chris Hass led the Bison with 22 points, while Stephen Brown had 18 points and eight assists against a Navy team that entered the game ranked 12th nationally in scoring defense at 59.5 points per game. Shawn Anderson led Navy with 19 points. In the rematch at Alumni Hall in the final game of the regular season, Bucknell prevailed 77-73 to clinch the outright Patriot League regular-season title. Brown’s steal and two clinching free throws in the final seconds preserved the win. Hass led four Bison in double figures with 13 points, and Brown had nine points, six assists and four steals. Zach Fong had 17 off the bench for Navy.
Patriot League Success
• Bucknell is 250-112 (.691) all-time in Patriot League regular-season games, the best record of any league team. The Bison have finished at least .500 in PL play in 22 of the 26 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 five of the last six, after claiming titles in 2015 and 2016 as well.
• Bucknell has won 10 Patriot League regular-season titles in 26 years. No other team has more than five.
• Last year Bucknell made its seventh 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 82 of its last 105 league games.
• Bucknell won Patriot League Tournament titles in 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2013. The Bison have made it to the semifinals 19 times and to the championship game 10 times in the 25-year history of the league.
• The Bison are the only team to go unbeaten in league play in a season (14-0 in 2006).
Last Time Out
• Devin Cannady scored 19 points, including four critical free throws in the final 10 seconds, to help Princeton to a 72-70 victory over Bucknell on Dec. 22 at Sojka Pavilion. Zach Thomas posted a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds, but his Bison squad suffered its first home loss in five outings and fell to 8-5 on the season.
• Stephen Brown finished with 16 points after swishing three 3-pointers in the final 11 seconds of the game. Nana Foulland added 10 points and Matt O’Reilly had nine off the bench for the Bison.
• Princeton effectively negated Bucknell’s transition opportunities and interior offense, and it was able to stretch an eight-point halftime margin up to as many as 15 at 47-32 with 11:36 remaining in the game. But the Bison hit enough 3-pointers down the stretch to keep it interesting.
• Bucknell finished 14-for-27 on 3-point attempts (9-for-12 in the second half), but only 6-for-18 on shots inside the arc. The Bison came in averaging 35 points per game in the paint, but had only six in this one.
• It was still a 10-point game at 63-53 with 3:30 to go when Brown hit a step-back jumper from 15 feet. The Bison then had two empty possessions but answered a third straight stop with an O’Reilly trey that made it 63-58 with 1:21 left. Princeton ran the shot clock all the way down and got a big bucket in the lane from Amir Bell with 0:51 left. That would be the Tigers’ final field goal, but after a missed front end of a 1-and-1 from Aaron Young, they made their final six free throws. Princeton would need them all, as Brown hit three straight high-arcing triples, the last coming at the buzzer to make it a two-point margin.
• Bucknell shot 60.0% in the second half after converting at a 32.0% clip in the first period. The Bison shot 44.4% overall and went 16-for-23 at the free-throw line. Meanwhile, Princeton finished at 41.8% from the field, 38.1% from the 3-point arc (8-21) and 75.0% from the foul line (18-24).
• Princeton outrebounded Bucknell 36-30. The Tigers parlayed eight offensive rebounds into 17 second-chance points, while Bucknell had just one second-chance point from three offensive boards.
• Thomas hit four of his five 3-point attempts and recorded his third 20-point game and second double-double of the season.
• O’Reilly went 3-for-6 from long range while playing in front of his father, Robert, who played on two of Pete Carril’s NCAA Tournament teams at Princeton in the 1980s.
Numbers Worth Noting
• Bucknell has allowed 81.2 points per game in its five losses and 64.5 ppg in its eight victories.
• Bucknell’s starting frontcourt of Zach Thomas (16.6 ppg) and Nana Foulland (14.5 ppg) have scored 42.1% of the team’s points on the season.
• Bucknell’s transition defense has been strong thus far. The Bison have given up only 39 fastbreak points through 13 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 51-59 (.864) from the FT line in his last 11 games. His 73 FT attempts on the season are the most in the Patriot League. Thomas has scored in double figures in 15 straight games dating back to last season.
• Matt O'Reilly has attempted 96 shots during his career at Bucknell. Of those, 91 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 leads the Bison in +/- with a +74 on the season.
• Brown has played his best basketball of the season over the last five games. Over that span he is averaging 13.4 points, 5.2 assists, and 2.4 steals while shooting 56.1 % (23-41) from the field and 63.6% (7-11) from the 3-point arc.
• 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 1.05 points per possession this season, while opponents are averaging 1.01.
• Nate Sestina has been quite productive in his minutes as a reserve forward/center. He is averaging 18.5 points and 11.3 rebounds per 40 minutes.
• Bucknell is 54-for-64 (.844) from the foul line in the last five minutes of games this season, but just 121-for-193 (.627) in the first 35 minutes of games. Even Foulland, who is shooting 50.7% from the line on the season, is 14-for-17 (.824) in late-game situations.
• Foulland recorded his 500th career rebound in the Princeton game, and he needs 101 points to reach 1,000. Only 18 players in Bucknell history have recorded 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell returns home on Jan. 2 to face Army West Point. Game time is 7 p.m. at Sojka Pavilion, with live streaming on the Patriot League Network.
• The Black Knights went 6-6 in non-conference action. They start Patriot League play Friday at home against Lehigh.