What: Bucknell (2-4) at Stony Brook (1-4)
Where: IFCU Arena, Stony Brook, N.Y.
When: Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, 2 p.m. (ET)
Local Radio: The Valley (100.9 FM WVLY)
Listen Live: BucknellBison.com and WVLY.com
Live Stats: StonyBrookAthletics.com
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (13.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 6.2 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (4.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 2.7 apg)
F: Bruce Moore (5.5 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.2 apg)
F: Zach Thomas (23.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.2 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (16.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.0 apg)
With a Win over Stony Brook, Bucknell Would ...
• ... win its third straight game and improve to 3-4 overall and 1-4 on the road this season.
• ... snap a four-game road losing streak.
• ... improve to 46-27 under Nathan Davis.
• Two teams with similar early season resumes square off on Sunday afternoon when Bucknell faces Stony Brook. According to kenpom.com, Stony Brook has played the 34th-toughest schedule in the country, while Bucknell has played the 36th-toughest. The Seawolves started 0-4 with losses to Maryland, Connecticut, Ball State and Michigan State, then won their home opener against Brown. Bucknell started 0-4 with road losses to Monmouth, Arkansas, North Carolina and Maryland, then won their first two home games against Siena and Ball State.
• 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.
• 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 at Maryland, Bucknell played a near-perfect first half and led 50-35 at the break, but the Terrapins rallied to win 80-78.
• After that tough start, the Bison were happy to be home, where they piled up 202 points in wins over Siena (115-92) and Ball State (87-83) last week. Free-throw shooting played a big role in those two games, as the Bison were 39-for-45 at the line against Siena and 29-for-37 against Ball State.
• Senior Zach Thomas is off to quite a start, averaging 23.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in the first six 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 against Siena and 22 against Ball State, giving him five 20-point games in six outings. His 25 points against Siena came on just six field-goal attempts, as Thomas set school records by hitting 19 of 22 from the foul line. Through Thursday’s games, Thomas led the nation in free-throw attempts with 63.
• Thomas’ fellow seniors, Nana Foulland and Stephen Brown, are also off to fast starts. Foulland is shooting 62.1% from the field and averaging 16.5 ppg, while Brown tallied a career-high 23-point game at Maryland and is averaging 13.8 ppg and 6.2 apg. The three seniors have combined for 62.9% 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.
• Stony Brook is led by Akwasi Yeboah, who leads the team in scoring (13.2) and rebounding (4.6). UC Iroegbu (11.2) and Tyrell Sturdivant (10.2) also score in double figures. The Seawolves average 10.2 made 3-pointers per game and shoot 37.8% from the arc. Stony Brook finished 18-14 overall and 12-4 in the America East last season, and it went on to play in the CBI postseason tournament. The Seawolves were picked to finish fourth in the conference this season, behind Vermont, Albany and UMBC.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Stony Brook game will stream live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app, with Carl Reuter calling the action.
• The game can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on The Valley (WVLY 100.9 FM), with Doug Birdsong calling the action. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off.
• Live statistics can be accessed via StonyBrookAthletics.com.
• The audio feed is available online free of charge on personal computers via BucknellBison.com and WVLY.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
• Bucknell’s three seniors — Stephen Brown, Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas — combined for 57 points to lead the Bison to an 87-83 victory over Ball State Wednesday evening at Sojka Pavilion. It was the second straight home win for Bucknell, which overcame a five-point halftime deficit and trailed by six with 5:11 left before finishing the game on a 14-4 run. Thomas led the way in the scoring column with 22 points — his fifth 20-point game in six outings this season — while Brown added 19 and Foulland 16.
• The game was close throughout, as neither team led by more than six points, and there were 20 ties and 11 lead changes. The Bison took the lead for good on two free throws by Bruce Moore with 1:48 left. A breakaway dunk by Moore gave Bucknell a five-point cushion with 15 seconds to play and freshman Jimmy Sotos sealed the victory by making 1 of 2 free throws to put the Bison up four with 8.9 seconds remaining. Sotos had a career-high 12 points, all in the last 14 minutes of the game, with two assists and a steal in 28 bench minutes.
• Coming off a 115-point showing in Monday’s home win over Siena, points were a bit harder to come by in this one. The Bison shot 45.8% for the game, including 4-for-18 from the arc. But for the second straight game, they made major headway at the foul line. Bucknell was 39-for-45 against Siena, and then 29-for-37 in this one. After setting school records for free throws made (19) and attempted (22) on Monday, Thomas was 12-for-14 at the line in this one. His streak of 20 straight made free throws ended when he rimmed out the back end of a two-shot foul early in the second half.
• This was Bucknell’s first win over Ball State in three all-time meetings. The Cardinals’ wins came in 1971 and 1998 at neutral-site holiday tournaments.
Bucknell vs. Stony Brook/America East Series Notes
• The Bison and Seawolves will be meeting for the first time in the sport of men’s basketball.
• Bucknell does not have a long history with the America East Conference, but has had some success. The Bison are 18-10 against the nine teams that currently comprise the America East: 6-2 vs. Albany, 6-2 vs. UMBC, 3-1 vs. Binghamton, 2-2 vs. Maine, 1-1 vs. Hartford, and 0-2 vs. Vermont. Bucknell has never played Stony Brook, New Hampshire or UMass-Lowell.
• Bucknell’s last meeting with an America East team was a 61-58 win over Albany in 2014-15.
• The Bison will play another team from the conference next Saturday, when defending champion and preseason favorite Vermont comes to Sojka Pavilion.
Numbers Worth Noting
• Bucknell has done well to get to the free-throw line in its last two games. The Bison scored 68 of their 202 points against Siena and Ball State at the line.
• Bucknell shot 82.3% from the foul line in its last two games after shooting 57.8% in the first four games.
• Zach Thomas has been the leader of that parade to the foul line. After setting school records for free throws made (19) and attempted (22) in the Siena game, he hit 12 of 14 against Ball State. After an uncharacteristic 2-for-8 showing on opening night at Monmouth, Thomas has his season average back up to 71.4%. He made 20 in a row at one point, spanning the Siena and Stony Brook games.
• Thomas has scored in double figures in 20 games in a row, topping the 20-point mark in 10 of those 20 games.
• Nana Foulland has shot at least 58% from the field in every game this season. He has made at least half of his shots in 15 straight and 25 of his last 26 games.
• Bucknell has logged a positive assist-to-turnover ratio in every game this season except Arkansas. Point guard Stephen Brown has 37 assists and only nine turnovers on the year, and the primary guard rotation of Brown, Kimbal Mackenzie and Jimmy Sotos is 3:1 on the season with 63 assists and 21 turnovers.
• Bucknell made 10+ 3-pointers in its first five games of the season, and the Bison have not allowed more than nine in a game all year. The Bison have 59 treys, compared to just 38 for their opponents.
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell is back on the road on Wednesday, traveling to Philadelphia to face Saint Joseph’s. The Bison and Hawks will be meeting for the first time since the 2006-07 season.