What: Bucknell (14-8, 8-1 PL) at Boston University (11-9, 7-2 PL)
Where: Case Gym, Boston, Mass.
When: Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, 12 p.m. (ET)
TV: CBS Sports Network
Local Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 FM WEGH)
Listen Live: BucknellBison.com and Eagle107.com
Live Stats: GoTerriers.com
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (13.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.5 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (6.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.6 apg)
F: Bruce Moore (5.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.9 bpg)
F: Zach Thomas (21.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.3 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (15.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.7 bpg)
With a Win over Boston University, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 15-8 overall, 9-1 in the Patriot League and 8-7 on the road this season.
• ... earn a season split with the Terriers and open up a two-game lead in the Patriot League.
• ... improve to 4-0 all-time at Case Gym.
• ... win its eighth straight game, which would be its longest since a 12-game streak in 2011-12.
• ... also win its 11th in the last 12, and 15th in its last 19.
• ... win its seventh straight road game, which would be the longest since a seven-game streak in 2011-12.
• ... improve to 58-31 under Nathan Davis and give Davis his 199th career win as a head coach.
• The top two teams in the Patriot League clash Sunday afternoon on CBS Sports Network when Bucknell travels to Boston University. There are plenty of subplots in this one. The Bison lead the Terriers by one game in the Patriot League. A Bucknell win would mean a two-game lead with eight to play, while a Boston University win would create a tie for first and give the Terriers a season sweep and the head-to-head tiebreaker. Boston University is responsible for Bucknell’s lone conference loss, 84-79 at Sojka Pavilion on Jan. 2. The Bison are 7-0 since then, with five of those wins coming on the road.
• For Bucknell, this game wraps up a stretch of six out of eight games on the road. Afterward the Bison will have five of their next seven at home.
• The Bison have won seven straight games and six straight on the road. Dating back to mid-December, they have won 10 of their last 11 games, and they are 14-4 since starting the season with consecutive road losses at Monmouth, Arkansas, North Carolina and Maryland.
• The Bison have been getting it done with defense of late. In Patriot League play, Bucknell is holding opponents to 38.5% shooting from the field and 29.4% from the 3-point arc while yielding only 65.4 points per game and 0.89 points per possession. The Bison are also +6.7 on the glass and are averaging 5.7 blocks per game.
• Offensively, Bucknell averages a league-best 78.8 points per game in league play, even though at times it has struggled with 3-point shooting (.330) and turnovers (14.0 per game). On Wednesday at Navy, the Bison bounced back with 11-for-22 3-point shooting, including 7-for-9 from Stephen Brown, and just 10 turnovers.
• Bucknell is starting to get healthier after playing without two starters for most of the season. Junior Kimbal Mackenzie missed 10 games after undergoing surgery to repair an abdominal muscle tear, but the 2017 Third Team All-Patriot League selection returned on Jan. 11 against Lehigh, and he rejoined the starting lineup at Colgate on Jan. 15. Sophomore Avi Toomer missed 16 games with a leg injury before returning to the rotation at Loyola on Jan. 17. Toomer has back-to-back 10-point games and is 5-for-8 from 3-point range since returning. Reserve guard Matt O’Reilly has missed the last five contests with a foot injury and is out 4-6 weeks.
• Zach Thomas is enjoying a monster senior year, averaging 21.0 points and 9.5 rebounds thus far. Thomas, who was named to the Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year Award mid-season watch list, is one of three Division I players currently leading his conference in both scoring and rebounding:
PLAYERS LEADING A CONFERENCE IN SCORING AND REBOUNDING
Zach Thomas, Bucknell (PL) 21.2 ppg/9.5 rpg
Marvin Bagley III, Duke (ACC) 21.6 ppg/11.5 rpg
Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s (WCC) 22.9 ppg/10.4 rpg
• Thomas has earned five Patriot League Player of the Week honors, including this week’s, giving Bucknell six this season (Nana Foulland has the other). Thomas has 12 20-point games (including two 30-point games) on the season, headlined by a 38-point, 11-rebound, 7-assist gem at Stony Brook on Nov. 26. Thomas now ranks 24th nationally in scoring, 29th in rebounding, sixth in defensive rebounding, first in free throw attempts and second in made free throws (through Thursday’s games).
• Thomas has attempted 10 or more free throws in a game 10 times this season. Only counting his made free throws (7.1 per game), Thomas would be the 45th-leading scorer in the Patriot League.
2017-18 NCAA LEADERS, FREE THROW ATTEMPTS
- Zach Thomas, Bucknell 205
- Bryson Scott, Fort Wayne 193
- Matt Scott, Niagara 186
- Jon Elmore, Marshall 184
- Trae Young, Oklahoma 183
2017-18 NCAA LEADERS, DEFENSIVE REBOUNDS
- Alize Johnson, Missouri State 8.32
- Deandre Ayton, Arizona 8.30
- Devontae Cacok, UNC Wilmington 8.30
- Leland Kingil, UCSB 8.26
- Iba Camara, New Hampshire 8.24
- Zach Thomas, Bucknell 8.05
• Bucknell’s three seniors — Stephen Brown, Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas — are averaging 50.6 points per game and have combined for 62.7% of the team’s points this season. All three have now topped the 1,000-point plateau, with Brown the latest to reach the milestone on Jan. 8 at Lafayette. At Loyola, the trio topped the combined 4,000-point mark.
• 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.
• Boston University comes in with a 7-2 Patriot League record, with the losses coming at Loyola and at home to American. Most recently, the Terriers defeated Lafayette 75-72 in Easton on Wednesday. Cedric Hankerson leads a balanced scoring attack with 13.7 points per game, followed by Max Mahoney at 12.1 ppg. Boston University shoots a league-best 47.0% from the field, just ahead of Bucknell’s 46.6%.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Boston University game will be televised on CBS Sports Network, with Jason Knapp and Mo Cassera on the call.
• The game can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM), with Doug Birdsong handling the play-by-play. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off.
• 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.
• Live statistics can be accessed via GoTerriers.com.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Last Time Out
• Stephen Brown scored a career-high 27 points, hitting 7 of 9 from 3-point range, helping Bucknell to its seventh straight victory, 87-67 over Navy on Wednesday night at Alumni Hall.
• The Bison shot 56% overall, hit 11 of 22 from the arc, and had only 10 turnovers against the league’s No. 1 ranked defensive team.
• Zach Thomas was tracking on a triple-double for much of the night before finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Nana Foulland battled through foul trouble to record 14 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes, and Avi Toomer led a strong bench effort with 10 points.
• Bucknell shot 68% in the first half and hit 8 of 13 from the 3-point arc en route to a 47-33 lead at the break. Brown hit five of those treys in six tries, including a zone-breaker with 36 seconds left to close out the first-half scoring. The Bison would go on to lead by as many as 22 in the second half, and they recorded their sixth straight road victory and ninth straight win over the Midshipmen.
• Brown’s previous career high was 23 points, coming against Maryland and Lehigh earlier this season. His previous high for 3-pointers in a game was five against Lafayette last season. The seven treys were the most by a Bison player since John Azzinaro hit seven against Holy Cross in 2015-16.
• Not only did Brown hit 9 of 14 from the field, 7 of 9 from the arc, and 2 of 2 from the foul line, he added five rebounds, two assists, no turnovers and no fouls in 29 minutes. And defensively, he helped limit Navy point guard Hasan Abdullah to five points on 2-for-9 shooting.
• Thomas recorded his 10th double-double of the season and 22nd of his career. His seven assists equaled a season high and was one shy of his career best. Thomas entered the night leading the nation in free-throw attempts, and he went 8-for-10 in this one. It was the 10th time this season that Thomas attempted at least 10 charity tosses.
• Bucknell is now 17-1 in its last 18 meetings with Navy, including the nine straight wins. The teams will square off again in Lewisburg on Feb. 21.
Bucknell vs. Boston University
• Bucknell and Boston University have met 14 times previously in men’s basketball, and the Bison have a 10-4 lead in the series. Bucknell had won seven straight from the Terriers until Boston University won 84-79 at Sojka Pavilion back on Jan. 2.
• Bucknell is 4-3 at home in the series, 5-1 on the road and 1-0 at neutral sites. In games played in Boston, Bucknell is 2-1 at Agganis Arena and 3-0 at Case Gym.
• The two teams met for the first time at the 2005 Cable Car Classic at Santa Clara. The Bison won that one 63-57.
• Bucknell swept the Terriers last season, winning 70-59 in Lewisburg and 86-66 in Boston. The latter game clinched the Patriot League regular-season title for the Bison.
• In this season’s first meeting, Boston University ended Bucknell’s 15-game home winning streak behind 21 points from Cedric Hankerson. Bucknell committed 19 turnovers, including 14 in the first half, leading to 24 points by the Terriers. Boston University, playing a 2-3 zone for much of the night, recorded 12 of its 13 steals in the first half, including four during a tide-turning 18-0 run over a three-minute, 30-second span that gave the Terriers a 35-20 lead with 3:30 to go in the first half. The Bison were led by 25 points, 13 rebounds and three steals by Zach Thomas, and Bruce Moore added a career-high 18 points and three blocks. Nana Foulland was limited to four shots in 18 minutes due to foul trouble and finished with eight points.
• In seven career games against Boston University, Foulland is shooting 60.0% from the field while averaging 13.7 ppg. He was 20-for-28 in the two games last season.
• Point guard Stephen Brown has also saved some of his best games for the Terriers. In his career against Boston University, Brown has averaged 11.0 points per game while shooting 57.8% (26-45) from the field and 46.7% (7-15) from 3-point range.
Patriot League Success
• Bucknell is 273-116 (.702) all-time in Patriot League regular-season games, the best record of any league team. The Bison last season compiled at least 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.
• Since the start of the 2010-11 season, Bucknell is 98-25 (.797) in Patriot League play.
• Bucknell has won 11 Patriot League regular-season titles in 27 years. No other team has more than five.
• Last year Bucknell made its eighth Patriot League Tournament appearance as the No. 1 seed.
• Bucknell won Patriot League Tournament titles in 2005, 2006, 2011, 2013 and 2017. The Bison have made it to the semifinals 20 times and to the championship game 11 times in the 27-year history of the league.
• The Bison are the only team to go unbeaten in league play in a season (14-0 in 2006).
Numbers Worth Noting
• Bucknell leads the Patriot League in scoring offense at 80.6 points per game (48th nationally), but the Bison have also given up the second-most points (76.3) in the league (277th nationally). The Bison are scoring 1.08 and allowing 1.03 points per possession on the season.
• Bucknell has ramped up the defense in Patriot League play, however. The Bison have limited eight of their nine PL foes to 70 points or fewer in regulation, including two of the last four in the 50s. In PL games only, Bucknell is yielding only 0.89 points per possession, as opponents are shooting just 38.5% overall and 29.4% from the arc.
• Bucknell is averaging 44.0 points in the second halves of games this season, the 12th-best figure in the country. That figure jumps to 48.4 ppg at home, which is the second-highest figure in the country.
• The Bison are 10-1 when scoring 80 or more points, but 4-7 when scoring fewer than 80. The team’s lone loss when scoring 80 was a 93-81 setback at North Carolina on Nov. 15.
• Stephen Brown is averaging 17.1 ppg in his last seven games and 15.3 ppg in Patriot League play. The senior is taking more shots than at any other point in his career. Brown is averaging 11.4 FGA per game this season, nearly three more attempts above his previous career high of 8.6 last year.
• Nate Sestina has been productive off the bench for the Bison. He is averaging 6.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, but when pro-rated for 40 minutes he is tallying 16.9 ppg and 10.6 rpg.
• Bucknell is shooting 49.6% from the field at home this season and 45.0% on the road.
• 28.5% of Bucknell’s offensive plays have resulted in free throws, which is the 32nd-highest rate in the country. Bucknell’s 523 free-throw attempts are seventh-most in the nation.
• Zach Thomas ranks sixth nationally in defensive rebounds per game at 8.0. He is averaging a double-double (18.9 ppg/10.4 rpg) in Patriot League play.
• According to the Hollinger Player Efficiency Rating formula at ESPN.com, Thomas ranks 35th out of all Division I players with a score of 27.66. PER measures the aggregate of a player’s statistical efficiency.
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell kicks off a stretch of five out of seven games at home when it hosts Army West Point on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The game will stream on the Patriot League Network at PatriotLeague.tv.