LEWISBURG, Pa. -- The Bucknell men's basketball team will be the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament for the sixth time in the last seven years. That means that the Bison will play at home at Sojka Pavilion throughout the tourney, and starting Wednesday at 10 a.m., fans can begin making their postseason preparations by purchasing tickets for the quarterfinal round.
Bucknell still has two regular-season games remaining -- home Wednesday vs. Lafayette and home Saturday vs. Navy -- before hosting a quarterfinal game on Thursday, March 2 at 7 p.m. against an opponent to be determined.
A few notes on ticketing:
- General-public tickets sales for the March 2 quarterfinal round begin Wednesday at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased ONLINE, in person at either Campus Box Office location (Weis Center, Elaine Langone Center), or over the phone at 570-577-1000.
- Fans attending Wednesday night's Bucknell-Lafayette men's basketball game may purchase quarterfinal tickets at halftime and after the game in the main lobby of Sojka Pavilion.
- Season-ticket holders who have pre-ordered playoff tickets may pick up tickets beginning at Saturday's home game vs. Navy.
- Bucknell students will receive free admission with BUID.
- Bucknell's women's basketball team is also assured of hosting a quarterfinal game on Monday, March 6. Those tickets will go on sale starting next Wednesday, March 1 at 10 a.m., and they will also be available for purchase through halftime of the March 1 home game vs. Lafayette.
Also of note, the final Backcourt Club Luncheon of 2017 will be held this Thursday at noon at La Primavera Restaurant on Rt. 45 in Lewisburg, Coach Nathan Davis and select players will be in attendance to talk about the season. The $10 entry fee includes a buffet lunch.
What: Lafayette (8-19, 4-12 PL) at Bucknell (21-8, 13-3 PL)
Where: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pa.
When: Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, 7 p.m.
Webcast: Patriot League Network
Local Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 FM WEGH)
Internet Radio: BucknellBison.com
Live Statistics: BucknellBison.com
Tickets: 570-577-1000 or Buy Online
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (10.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.7 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (11.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.3 apg)
G: Avi Toomer (3.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.8 apg)
F: Zach Thomas (15.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.2 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (14.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.0 bpg)
With a Win over Lafayette, Bucknell Would ...
• ... move to 22-8 overall, 14-3 in the Patriot League, and 11-2 at home this season.
• ... maintain at least a two-game lead in the Patriot League with one game remaining.
• ... clinch the outright (no ties) Patriot League regular-season title for the third year in a row and sixth time in the last seven years. (Bucknell has already secured the No. 1 seed).
• ... win as many as 22 games in a season for the 11th time in school history and fourth time in the last seven years.
• ... sweep the season series from the Leopards.
• ... improve to 264-115 all-time in Patriot League regular-season games.
• Bucknell locked up the No. 1 seed for the Patriot League Tournament and at least a share of the regular-season title with an 86-66 win at Boston University on Sunday. The Bison turned in perhaps their best performance of the season in the biggest game of the year. The Terriers would have pulled into a tie for first place with a victory, instead the Bison clinched the title with two games remaining.
• Bucknell now has a “magic number” of one to secure the outright regular-season title. One more win, or won more Boston University loss, would secure that milestone. 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 are close to another run of three spanning 2015-17.
• Over the last seven seasons, Bucknell is now 88-24 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.
• Nana Foulland is coming off perhaps the best game of his career against Boston University, when he logged 20 points on 9-for-13 shooting, along with six rebounds, six blocked shots and four assists. Foulland limited Terriers center Justin Alston, the reigning Patriot League Player of the Week, to two field goals and six points. Foulland is now 94-for-148 (.635) from the field in his last 14 games and 97-for-155 (.626) in the 16 league games. For the season, his 62.2 FG% ranks 13th nationally.
• Zach Thomas has been red-hot of late, and he has been one of the league’s most versatile players this season. Thomas is the only Patriot League player who ranks in the top 11 in points (2nd), rebounds (7th) and assists (11th), and he is the only player in the league who ranks in the top 10 in all three shooting categories: field-goal percentage (10th), 3-point percentage (2nd) and free-throw percentage (2nd). In all, Thomas ranks in the top 15 in the Patriot League in eight different statistical categories.
• As a team, Bucknell ranks 27th out of 347 Division I teams with a field-goal percentage of 48.2%. The Bison have shot 50% or better as a team 11 times in Patriot League play and 15 times total this season.
• Foulland on Jan. 18 became the 40th member of the 1,000-point club at Bucknell. Foulland also became the 19th Bison with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds, and he is the 21st Bucknell player to score 1,000 points in his third varsity season. Foulland currently ranks 39th among all active Division I juniors in scoring with 1,143 points.
• Kimbal Mackenzie is averaging 13.5 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 11 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.
• Head coach Nathan Davis is making the most of his deep roster. He has used every healthy player on the roster in each of the 16 Patriot League contests, often using them all in the first half. The last non-injury-related DNP was all the way back in the Princeton game on Dec. 22. Nine players average double-digit minutes and 11 average at least 7.5 minutes per game.
• Bucknell has used only two different starting lineups all season. After 13 straight games with the same starting five, Avi Toomer replaced Nate Jones at the “3” spot when Jones suffered a foot injury. Toomer has started every game since.
• 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 Wednesday — and he is 13-for-19 from 3-point distance in the last five 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.
• Lafayette comes in at 8-19 overall and 4-12 in Patriot League play. The Leopards are currently sitting in the No. 9 spot in the league standings, one game behind Army West Point for eighth. Lafayette would like to move up to the No. 8 seed, as that would mean a home game in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament. Matt Klinewski leads the team in scoring at 15.9 points per game, followed closely by Nick Lindner at 14.0 ppg.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Lafayette game will not be televised, however a free live webcast will be available on the Patriot League Network at PatriotLeague.TV. The production for this game will be handled by Campus Insiders, with Mike Watts and Pat O’Keefe calling the action.
• 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).
• Live stats can be found at BucknellBison.com.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Bucknell vs. Lafayette
• Bucknell and Lafayette have met 162 times previously, making the Leopards Bucknell’s second most-played opponent (the Bison have played Lehigh 168 times). Since the series began in 1915, Lafayette leads 89-73.
• Since the start of Patriot League play in 1990-91, however, Bucknell has won 44 of 61 meetings.
• Lafayette won 33 of the first 37 meetings and led the series 60-14 at one point.
• Bucknell had been 15-0 all-time against Lafayette in Sojka Pavilion until the Leopards posted their first win there in 2013-14. The Bison are now 17-2 against Lafayette in Sojka Pavilion and 26-5 against the Leopards in Lewisburg going back to the Patriot League’s first season.
• The Bison and Leopards have met in a conference championship game four times, with Bucknell winning three of those. The Bison defeated Lafayette 71-65 in the 1989 East Coast Conference final in Towson, Md., and they also won Patriot League championship games in Sojka Pavilion in 2011 (72-57) and 2013 (64-56). Lafayette claimed the 1999 Patriot League title with a 67-63 win over the Bison in Easton.
• Bucknell won both meetings last season. The first clash was in Lewisburg, where the Bison topped Lafayette 79-67 behind a career-high 15 points from D.J. MacLeay. Bryce Scott hit 5 of 6 from 3-point range and scored 17 points off the bench for Lafayette. The rematch in Easton was a thriller, as Chris Hass finished with 30 points in Bucknell’s 88-83 double-overtime win. Hass scored 15 of those 30 after regulation. He hit a deep 3-pointer to force the second OT period, then had 11 of the team’s 13 points in the final five-minute session. Stephen Brown added 16 points for the Bison, while Zach Rufer led five Leopards in double figures with 20 points off the bench.
• On Jan. 25 in Easton, offensive rebounding an early 3-point shooting were the keys in Bucknell’s 78-55 win. The Bison piled up 22 offensive rebounds, leading to 21 second-chance points and a 53-41 rebounding edge in the game. Bucknell hit nine first-half 3-pointers and 12 for the game, and it led by as many as 30 in the second half despite shooting a season-low 31.8% from the field overall. Zach Thomas finished with a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Hunter Janacek paced Lafayette with 11 points. The 22 offensive rebounds were Bucknell’s most since Nov. 27, 1999, when it had 22 in a 54-42 loss at Rider.
Patriot League Success
• Bucknell is 263-115 (.696) all-time in Patriot League regular-season games, the best record of any league team. The Bison have 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 last week.
• Bucknell has now won 11 Patriot League regular-season titles in 27 years. No other team has more than five.
• This year Bucknell will make 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 95 of its last 121 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 26-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
• The Bison turned in one of their best performances of the season on Sunday in Boston, rolling to an 86-66 victory in a game that had major postseason implications. Playing on the road with first place on the line — Boston University would have pulled into a tie for first with a victory — the Bison shot 58.2% from the field and hit 12 of 22 from 3-point range. The Bison had 19 assists on 32 field goals and went 10-for-13 from the foul line en route to clinching the No. 1 seed for the Patriot League Tournament.
• Nana Foulland had one of the best games of his Bucknell tenure, recording 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and a career-high-tying six blocked shots. He kept the Terriers’ red-hot center Justin Alston, this week’s Patriot League Player of the Week, to two field goals and six points. Frontcourt mate Zach Thomas added 15 points and seven rebounds.
• Meanwhile, Bucknell’s backcourt pairing of Kimbal Mackenzie (17 points, four assists) and Stephen Brown (14 points, five assists) combined for 31 points and nine helpers. Freshman Bruce Moore came off the bench to record nine points, three rebounds and three blocks, and classmate Avi Toomer had another good defensive game on Boston University star Eric Fanning, who was held to eight points and did not attempt a field goal in the second half.
• At the defensive end, Bucknell equalled a season high with nine blocked shots, all from Foulland and Moore, and held Boston University to 40.0% shooting. The Terriers were 4-for-16 from the arc.
• Leading 39-32 at halftime, Bucknell burst out of the locker room on a 26-7 run over the first nine minutes. Foulland set the tone, rejecting Alston’s shot at one end and then running the floor for a transition alley-oop jam off a pretty lob from Mackenzie.
Numbers Worth Noting
• Bucknell has allowed 80.6 points per game in its eight losses and 63.2 ppg in its 20 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 111 fastbreak points through 29 games. They went three straight contests (Vanderbilt, Norfolk State, Northern Colorado) without giving up any fastbreak points. Meanwhile, Bucknell has scored 192 fastbreak points on the season.
• Matt O’Reilly has attempted 132 shots during his career at Bucknell. Of those, 127 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 +273 on the season after a +31 performance last time out against Boston University. Zach Thomas is next at +227, followed by Nana Foulland at +196.
• Bucknell has not had a season with two players recording 100 or more assists since 1991-92 (Russell Peyton 118, Bill Courtney 108), but that would happen this season if Thomas can generate eight more to join Brown.
• Thomas needs six more made free throws to crack Bucknell’s single-season top-10 list.
• Thomas (6th, .422), Kimbal Mackenzie (10th, .392), Brown (13th, .388) and John Azzinaro (14th, .379) all rank among Bucknell’s all-time leaders in career 3-point percentage.
• 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 21-3 when holding opponents under 50%.
• Bucknell is averaging a solid 1.08 points per possession this season, while opponents are averaging 0.97.
• The Bison have shot 50% or better from the field in 11 of their last 15 games.
• Bucknell is 24-for-41 (.585) from 3-point range in its last two games.
• Bucknell has a +53 rebound margin in its last 14 games. The Bison are 13-0 this season when outrebounding their opponent.
• Kimbal 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 15 of his last 18.
• Mackenzie is 23-for-48 (.479) from 3-point range in his last 10 games and 37-for-39 from the foul line in his last 15 games.
• D.J. MacLeay averages 14.3 points and a team-high 14.9 rebounds per 40 minutes.
• Brown has 73 assists and 29 turnovers in his last 15 games.
• Bucknell has attempted more free throws than its opponent in 19 of 29 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 14 Patriot League games, Bucknell’s opponents are 80-for-277 (.289) from the arc.
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell wraps up the regular season on Saturday at noon against Navy at Sojka Pavilion. The team will celebrate Senior Day prior to the game, which will be televised by CBS Sports Network.
• The Bison and Midshipmen have not played since the conference opener back on Dec. 30. Bucknell rallied for a 59-55 win in Annapolis.