What: Bucknell (17-8, 11-1 PL) at Lehigh (10-13, 5-7 PL)
Where: Stabler Arena, Bethlehem, Pa.
When: Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, 7 p.m. (ET)
TV: CBS Sports Network
Local Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 FM WEGH)
Listen Live: BucknellBison.com and Eagle107.com
Live Stats: LehighSports.com
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (14.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.6 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (6.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.5 apg)
F: Bruce Moore (5.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 0.8 bpg)
F: Zach Thomas (21.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 2.3 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (15.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.8 bpg)
With a Win over Lehigh, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 18-8 overall, 12-1 in the Patriot League and 9-7 on the road this season.
• ... take a 3.5-game lead in the Patriot League.
• ... win its 11th straight game, which would be its longest since a 12-game streak in 2011-12. It would be tied for the 9th-longest streak in school history, and tied for the fourth-longest within a single season.
• ... win its eighth straight road game, which would tie the school record (1974-75).
• ... also win its 14th in the last 15, and 18th in its last 22.
• ... sweep a season series from the Mountain Hawks for the first time since 2011.
• ... improve to 61-31 under Nathan Davis.
• ... improve to 102-25 in Patriot League play since the start of the 2010-11 season.
• Bucknell caps off a busy stretch with a trip to Lehigh for another rematch of the 2017 Patriot League championship game. This will be Bucknell's fourth game in eight days, but then the Bison will have a full week off before hosting Colgate on Feb. 12.
• The Bison are one of the hottest teams in the country, winning 10 straight games since a Jan. 2 loss to Boston University. Dating back to mid-December, they have won 13 of their last 14 games, and they are 17-4 since starting the season with consecutive road losses at Monmouth, Arkansas, North Carolina and Maryland. Bucknell has also captured seven straight road wins, the second-longest active streak in the nation and one shy of the school record set in 1974-75, when Jim Valvano was head coach.
• Bucknell is one of 26 teams in the country with either zero or one conference loss. With a win over Lafayette coupled with Boston University’s loss at Lehigh on Saturday, the Bison now have a three-game lead in the Patriot League standings with six games remaining.
• Bucknell has trailed at the half in four of its 11 Patriot League victories. The most recent comeback came on Wednesday night, when the Bison fell behind by 19 with 5:00 left in the first half, cut it to 10 by halftime, then rallied to beat Army West Point 83-71 in overtime. The 19-point deficit was the largest the Bison have overcome in a victory this season.
• Bucknell jumped back into the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major rankings at No. 24 last week.
• The Bison have been getting it done with defense of late. In Patriot League play, Bucknell is holding opponents to 39.6% shooting from the field and 30.9% from the 3-point arc while yielding only 66.5 points per game and 0.91 points per possession. The Bison are also +4.6 on the glass and are averaging 5.4 blocks per game.
• Stephen Brown, a veteran of 108 consecutive starts at point guard, has played some of the best ball of his career in recent weeks, particularly in the two recent road wins. Brown scored a career-high 27 points, hitting 7 of 9 from long distance, at Navy, and he tallied 20 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals at Boston University. Brown did not commit a turnover or a foul in either game while scoring 48 points in 57 minutes. Brown is scoring at a 15.3 ppg clip in Patriot League play, the eighth-best mark in the league.
• Zach Thomas is enjoying a monster senior year, averaging 21.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Thomas, who was named to the Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year Award mid-season watch list, is one of four 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/9.3 rpg
Marvin Bagley III, Duke (ACC) 21.4 ppg/11.2 rpg
Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s (WCC) 22.8 ppg/10.8 rpg
Mike Daum, South Dakota State (Summit) 23.5 ppg/9.8 rpg
• Thomas has earned five Patriot League Player of the Week honors, giving Bucknell six this season (Nana Foulland has the other). Thomas has 14 20-point games (including three 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 21st nationally in scoring, 36th in rebounding, eighth in defensive rebounding, first in both free throw attempts and made free throws (through Saturday’s games).
• Thomas has attempted 10 or more free throws in a game 11 times this season. Only counting his made free throws (7.0 per game), Thomas would be the 47th-leading scorer in the Patriot League. Thomas already ranks in the top five on Bucknell’s single-season charts for made and attempted free throws.
• Bucknell’s three seniors — Stephen Brown, Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas — all rank in the top 11 in the Patriot League scoring race. They are averaging a combined 50.8 points per game and are accounting for 62.8% 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 Zach Thomas.
• Lehigh has won two straight on the heels of a four-game losing streak. After last week’s victories over Holy Cross and Boston University, the Mountain Hawks are 5-7 and sit in a three-way tie for sixth place in the Patriot League. Lance Tejada leads the team in scoring at 15.7 ppg, although he has missed the last few games with an injury. Tejada ranks third in the nation in 3-point percentage (.489), even though he went 0-for-6 from the arc against Bucknell in the first meeting between the two teams. Monday’s game will feature a good battle between two senior point guards in Stephen Brown and Kahron Ross. These two have 1,125 combined career assists. Ross (637) and Brown (488) rank sixth and 17th, respectively, among active Division I career assist leaders.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Lehigh game will be televised by CBS Sports Network. John Sadak and Mo Cassara will call the action from Stabler Arena.
• 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 LehighSports.com.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Last Time Out
• The Bison turned stingy defense into efficient offense and defeated Lafayette 74-59 on Saturday night at Sojka Pavilion.
• The Bison forced 17 Leopards’ turnovers while committing only seven themselves, and they parlayed that +10 differential into a 30-7 edge in points off turnovers.
• Zach Thomas led the Bison attack with 20 points to go along with seven rebounds and two blocked shots. Stephen Brown scored 14 points with six assists and four rebounds, and Nana Foulland added 10 points and five rebounds.
• The Leopards received 19 points from Alex Petrie, but just five in the second half, and 10 points from Paulius Zalys in the loss. Lafayette was coming of a 93-point performance in a win over third-place Colgate, but the Bison held the Leopards to their lowest post total since Dec. 9 in this one.
• Bucknell led for the final 36:35, but had a hard time shaking Lafayette. In the first half, the Bison saw an eight-point lead whittled to one, and then a nine-point margin cut to three. In the second half, Lafayette cut a 14-point deficit to three, but Bucknell answered the Leopards’ 11-0 run with an 11-0 surge of its own.
Bucknell vs. Lehigh
• Bucknell has played more games (170) and won more games (103) against Lehigh than any other school. The Bison have a 103-67 lead in a series that originated in 1902.
• Since the start of Patriot League play in 1990-91, Bucknell holds a 43-21 advantage, including a 24-8 mark at home.
• Lehigh owns the most wins of any team over Bucknell in Sojka Pavilion (7).
• Lehigh is responsible for snapping Bucknell’s 35-game home winning streak against Patriot League foes. The Bison had not lost to a conference opponent at Sojka Pavilion in nearly five years, until the Mountain Hawks won 56-54 in Lewisburg on Jan. 30, 2008.
• Lehigh also won the first game ever played in Sojka Pavilion, a 60-56 decision on Jan. 15, 2003. Including that game, Bucknell is 12-7 against the Mountain Hawks in Sojka.
• Bucknell is 6-3 against Lehigh in Patriot League Tournament action, including an 81-65 win in last year’s championship game.
• Lehigh swept the regular-season series last season. At Sojka Pavilion, the Bison stormed back from 18 points down in the second half to tie the game, but the Mountain Hawks finished the game on a 16-5 run over the final 5:45 to win 82-71. While Lehigh was 10-for-17 from 3-point range, the Bison hit just 6 of 23. In game two at Stabler Arena on Feb. 8, Bucknell came back from deficits of eight and 12 points to tie the game, but just like in Lewisburg, Lehigh made the final run and prevailed 79-71. Bucknell avenged those losses in the Patriot League title game, stretching out a one-point halftime lead by outscoring the Mountain Hawks 46-31 in the second half.
• Back on Jan. 11 at Sojka Pavilion, Stephen Brown logged 23 points to lift the Bison to a 78-65 verdict. Both teams struggled in the first half, with Bucknell leading 28-26 at the break, but the Bison poured in 50 points in the second half to pull away.
Patriot League Success
• Bucknell is 276-116 (.704) all-time in Patriot League regular-season games, the best record of any league team. The Bison are guaranteed at least a .500 record in PL play for the 24th time in 28 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 101-25 (.802) 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 has played two overtime games this season and has yet to allow a field goal in extra time. The Bison held Lafayette to 0-for-8 shooting in OT in an 80-75 win on Jan. 8, and they held Army to 0-for-7 in Wednesday’s 83-71 win. Bucknell has a 25-8 scoring edge in the two OT periods.
• Zach Thomas has scored in double figures in 75 of his 80 career starts, including all but one this season.
• Bucknell is 25-3 in the month of January under head coach Nathan Davis.
• The Bison are 11-1 this season, 33-2 over the last two seasons, and 47-6 in the Davis era when leading at the half. Bucknell's only two losses over the last two seasons when leading at halftime came earlier this year at Maryland and last year at La Salle. uBucknell is averaging 43.6 points in the second halves of games this season, the 15th-best figure in the country. That figure jumps to 46.0 ppg at home, which ranks 12th in the nation.
• Bucknell leads the Patriot League in scoring offense at 80.9 points per game (41st nationally), but the Bison have also given up the second-most points (75.5) in the league (265th nationally). The Bison are scoring 1.09 and allowing 1.02 points per possession on the season.
• Bucknell has ramped up the defense in Patriot League play, however. The Bison have allowed 70 points or fewer in regulation in 10 of their 12 PL games, with both exceptions coming against Boston University. In PL games only, Bucknell is yielding only 0.91 points per possession, as opponents are shooting just 39.6% overall and 30.9% from the arc.
• The Bison are 12-1 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 16.6 ppg in his last 10 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 11.2 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 16.4 ppg and 10.4 rpg.
• Bucknell is shooting 48.6% from the field at home this season and 45.9% on the road, even though it has shot much better from the 3-point arc on the road (36.2% compared to 32.1% at Sojka Pavilion).
• 28.2% of Bucknell’s offensive plays have resulted in free throws, which is the 30th-highest rate in the country. Bucknell’s 590 free-throw attempts are sixth-most in the nation.
• According to the Hollinger Player Efficiency Rating formula at ESPN.com, Zach Thomas ranks 29th out of all Division I players with a score of 27.90. PER measures the aggregate of a player’s statistical efficiency.
What a Class
• Each member of the Bison senior class has now eclipsed the 1,000-point mark. This is just the second class in team history to accomplish that feat. The other was the Class of 2013, with Mike Muscala (2,036), Bryson Johnson (1,384) and Joe Willman (1,162).
• This group now has a 79-46 overall record and a 53-13 mark in Patriot League play. They have captured regular-season titles all three years so far and have played in an NCAA Tournament and two NITs.
• Brown, Foulland and Thomas have combined for 4,295 points: Foulland (1,611), Thomas (1,553), Brown (1,131).
• Bucknell was one of only 11 Division I teams that returned at least two 1,000-point scorers at the start of the season.
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell will get a full week off after the Lehigh game, and then it will get three of its next four at home starting Feb. 12 against Colgate. That contest will air on CBS Sports Network.