What: #8 Loyola (9-21, 6-12 PL) at #1 Bucknell (22-9, 16-2 PL)
Where: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pa.
When: Thursday, March 1, 2018, 7 p.m. (ET)
TV: Stadium TV (Station List) & WQMY-TV in Northeast PA
Webcast: Patriot League Network
Local Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 FM WEGH)
Listen Live: BucknellBison.com and Eagle107.com
Live Stats: BucknellBison.com
Tickets: 570-577-1000 or purchase online
- Free rally towels
- Dunkin Donuts competition
- HQ Bison Trivia (students only) at halftime
Bucknell Probable Starters
G: Stephen Brown (14.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.3 apg)
G: Kimbal Mackenzie (7.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.4 apg)
F: Avi Toomer (4.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.0 apg)
F: Zach Thomas (21.0 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.3 apg)
C: Nana Foulland (15.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.7 bpg)
With a Win over Loyola, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 23-9 overall and 13-1 at home this season.
• ... advance to Sunday’s semifinal round to face either No. 4 Lehigh or No. 5 Boston University.
• ... reach the semifinals for the 21st time in the 28-year history of the Patriot League.
• ... reach the 23-win plateau for the 10th time in school history.
• ... win its sixth straight game; 16th in the last 17; 19th in the last 21; and 23rd in its last 28.
• ... improve to 16-3 all-time against the Greyhounds, including 3-0 this season.
• ... improve to 66-32 under Nathan Davis.
• ... improve to 120-26 against Patriot League opponents at Sojka Pavilion.
• Bucknell finished 16-2 in Patriot League play and won the regular-season championship by four games over Colgate, but the records are now wiped clean and it is a race to three wins to determine the Patriot League Tournament champion and the recipient of the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Bison are trying to become the first team since American in 2008 and 2009 to repeat as Patriot League Tournament champion.
• Since seeing its 10-game winning streak end in overtime at Lehigh on Feb. 5, Bucknell has won another five in a row and locked up the outright Patriot League title for the fourth year in a row and seventh time in the last eight years. Bucknell finished up the regular season on Saturday with an 80-61 win at American.
• Earlier this week, seniors Stephen Brown, Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas all earned First Team All-Patriot League honors, with Thomas garnering the Player of the Year award. This is the first time in league history that three players from the same team were named to the First Team. Some facts & figures on this senior class:
• This is the first class in Patriot League history to win four straight outright regular-season titles.
• This class has an 84-47 overall record and a 58-14 mark in Patriot League play. They have played in an NCAA Tournament and two NITs thus far.
• This is the second class in school history to feature three 1,000-point scorers. Foulland (1,707), Thomas (1,673) and Brown (1,225) have combined for 4,605 points and rank fourth, fifth, and 20th on Bucknell’s all-time scoring list.
• All three members of the class currently rank in the top 11 in the Patriot League scoring race. They are averaging a combined 50.9 points per game and are accounting for 63.1% of the team’s points this season.
• Dating back to mid-December, the Bison have won 18 of their last 20 games, and they are 22-5 since starting the season with consecutive road losses at Monmouth, Arkansas, North Carolina and Maryland.
• The Bison have been getting it done with defense. In Patriot League play, Bucknell is holding opponents to 39.4% shooting from the field and 31.9% from the 3-point arc while yielding only 66.4 points per game and 0.90 points per possession. The Bison are also +5.1 on the glass and are averaging 5.2 blocks per game.
• Zach Thomas is enjoying a monster senior year, averaging 21.0 points and 9.1 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) 21.0 ppg/9.1 rpg
Deandre Ayton, Arizona (Pac-12) 19.9 ppg/11.2 rpg
Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s (WCC) 21.5 ppg/10.2 rpg
Mike Daum, South Dakota State (Summit) 23.6 ppg/10.1 rpg
PATRIOT LEAGUE PLAYERS FINISHING A SEASON AS LEADER IN SCORING AND REBOUNDING
Adonal Foyle, Colgate 1995-96 20.2 ppg/12.6 rpg
Adonal Foyle, Colgate 1996-97 24.4 ppg/13.1 rpg
Kevin Hamilton, Holy Cross 2005-06 17.6 ppg/6.3 rpg
Mike Muscala, Bucknell 2012-13 18.7 ppg/11.1 rpg
Tim Kempton, Lehigh 2016-17 20.4 ppg/10.4 rpg
Zach Thomas, Bucknell 2017-18 21.0 ppg/9.1 rpg
• Thomas has earned seven Patriot League Player of the Week honors, giving Bucknell eight this season (Nana Foulland has the other). Thomas has 16 20-point games, including four 30-point games, on the season, both of which tie school records, and the seven Player of the Week honors also ties the league record, previously set by Lehigh’s Tim Kempton last season. Thomas had a 38-point, 11-rebound, 7-assist gem at Stony Brook on Nov. 26 and a 36-point, 13-rebound effort at Lehigh. Thomas now ranks 28th nationally in scoring, 40th in rebounding, 12th in defensive rebounding, first in free throw attempts and second in made free throws (through Tuesday’s games).
• Stephen Brown, a veteran of 114 consecutive starts at point guard, has played some of the best ball of his career in recent weeks, particularly in the two wins over Navy. Brown scored a career-high 27 points, hitting 7 of 9 from long distance, at Navy on Jan. 24, and then on Wednesday he scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half in an 85-61 win over the Midshipmen. The 27 and 25-point performances represent the two highest-scoring games of his career. Brown is scoring at a 15.4 ppg clip in Patriot League play, the sixth-best mark in the league.
• Loyola picked a great time to snap a five-game losing streak, beating ninth-seeded Army 82-79 in a Patriot League Tournament first-round game on Tuesday night in Baltimore. Andrew Kostecka scored 20 points and Andre Walker had 19 for the Greyhounds, who shot 65.4% from the floor in the second half. Walker, a First Team All-Patriot League selection leads the team in scoring at 15.7 ppg. Loyola has five players averaging in double figures.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Loyola game will be televised on Stadium TV, with Matt Martucci and Doug Gottlieb calling the action and Morgan Uber serving as the sideline reporter. The game will also stream on the Patriot League Network at PatriotLeague.tv.
• 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 BucknellBison.com.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Bucknell Patriot League Tournament History
• Bucknell has an all-time record of 36-22 (.621) in 27 Patriot League Tournaments. The Bison have reached the championship game a league-record 11 times, including wins in 2005, 2006, 2011, 2013 and 2017, and reached at least the semifinals in 20 of 27 years.
• This is Bucknell’s ninth appearance as the No. 1 seed. The Bison are 17-4 when playing as the top seed, with four titles.
Bison PL Tourney Log
Year Seed Results
1991 4 def. Army 67-49; lost Fordham 82-76
1992 2 def. Army 74-55; def. Holy Cross 86-77; lost Fordham 70-65
1993 1 def. Lehigh 69-65; def. Colgate 75-73; lost Holy Cross 98-73
1994 5 lost Holy Cross 96-91
1995 2 lost Army 94-78
1996 4 def. Lafayette 56-55; lost Colgate 67-61
1997 2 def. Lehigh 84-54; def. Colgate 71-58; lost Navy 76-75
1998 3 def. Holy Cross 60-56; lost Navy 80-61
1999 3 def. Holy Cross 76-52; def. Lehigh 58-50; lost Lafayette 67-63
2000 3 lost Lehigh 73-62
2001 6 def. Colgate 75-68; lost Navy 88-64
2002 3 def. Army 70-59; lost Holy Cross 64-57
2003 5 def. Lehigh 52-47; lost Holy Cross 75-50
2004 4 def. Holy Cross 66-60; lost Lehigh 60-45
2005 2 def. Lafayette 70-34; def. American 53-35; def. Holy Cross 61-57
2006 1 def. Army 59-47; def. American 64-50; def. Holy Cross 74-59
2007 2 def. Navy 62-43; def. Army 68-47; lost Holy Cross 74-66
2008 7 def. Navy 87-86 (3OT); lost Colgate 54-40
2009 7 lost Holy Cross 75-56
2010 2 lost Holy Cross 67-64
2011 1 def. Army 78-51; def. Lehigh 66-64; def. Lafayette 72-57
2012 1 def. Navy 87-63; def. Lafayette 79-52; lost Lehigh 82-77
2013 1 def. Navy 58-42; def. Army 78-70; def. Lafayette 64-56
2014 4 lost 72-71 Army
2015 1 def. Holy Cross 90-83 (OT); lost Lafayette 80-74
2016 1 lost Holy Cross 77-72 (2OT)
2017 1 def. Army 78-62; def. Navy 70-65; def. Lehigh 81-65
2018 1 vs. Loyola championship games in bold.
Last Time Out
• Nana Foulland scored 20 points and Bucknell rode a strong effort defensively and on the glass to an 80-61 win over American in the regular-season finale on Saturday afternoon at Bender Arena. The Bison became the first team in league history to win 16 conference games in a regular season.
• Bucknell outscored American 22-6 over the final seven minutes of the first half to build a 38-22 halftime lead. The Bison went on to lead by as many as 22 in the second stanza and cruised home from there to get to the 22-win mark for the 12th time in school history.
• The Bison shot 49% from the field and hit 5 of 15 from the 3-point arc and 25 of 36 from the foul line. They had a 40-29 rebounding advantage, and held American to 38.6% shooting.
Bucknell vs. Loyola
• The Bison and Greyhounds have met 18 times previously, but never in the postseason. Bucknell leads 15-3 in the series, including an 8-1 mark at Reitz Arena.
• Bucknell had beaten Loyola eight straight times, including a 7-0 mark as Patriot League rivals, until the Greyhounds won 78-77 in Baltimore last season.
• The first series meeting came on Jan. 7, 1987 in Lewisburg. The Bison prevailed that day 72-70. A year later Bucknell won 80-60 on Loyola’s home floor.
• Bucknell and Loyola played twice within the 1992-93 season. The Bison won 75-59 in Baltimore, and in late February at Davis Gym the Bison rolled to a 116-85 victory. In the latter game the Bison produced their second-highest point total in program history, led by an incredible 9-for-10 3-point shooting performance by Hall-of-Famer Mike Bright.
• Bucknell swept this season’s series from the Greyhounds. On Jan. 17 at Reitz Arena, Zach Thomas recorded 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Bison to a come-from-behind, 78-70 win. Bucknell outscored Loyola 50-37 after trailing 33-28 at the half. At Sojka Pavilion on Valentine’s Day, the Bison blitzed the Greyhounds 94-53 behind 20 points from Stephen Brown. The 41-point final margin was Bucknell’s largest since a 46-point win (107-61) over Shenandoah in the 2015-16 season opener. It was the largest over a Division I opponent since an 83-39 drubbing of Cornell on Dec. 17, 2005.
Patriot League Success
• Bucknell is 281-117 (.706) all-time in Patriot League regular-season games, the best record of any league team. The Bison finished at least .500 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 are now the first to win four in a row, and they have claimed seven of the last eight.
• Since the start of the 2010-11 season, Bucknell is 106-26 (.803) in Patriot League play.
• Bucknell has won 12 Patriot League regular-season titles in 28 years. No other team has more than five.
• Bucknell will make its ninth 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).
2018 All-Patriot League Notes
• Bucknell made some history in this year’s All-Patriot League voting. Seniors Stephen Brown, Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas all earned First Team honors, marking the first time in league history that one team placed three players on the First Team. The three seniors have now combined for eight All-PL citations.
• Thomas was named Patriot League Player of the Year. He is the fifth Bison in the last eight years to receive that honor, joining Mike Muscala (2011, 2013), Cameron Ayers (2014), and Foulland (2017).
• Foulland (First Team 2017, 2018; Second Team 2016) and Brown (First Team 2018; Second Team 2017; Third Team 2016) are now three-time All-Patriot League selections, while Thomas earned First Team honors for the second straight year.
• Foulland and Brown were both named to the Patriot League All-Defensive Team. It was the third straight selection for Brown and second straight for Foulland, who was the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year.
• Foulland was also selected the 2018 Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and he was joined by Brown on the five-man Academic All-Patriot League Team. Foulland and Muscala are the only players in league history to win a Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year award over the course of a career. Muscala swept all three as a senior in 2013.
• This was Foulland’s third straight appearance on the Academic All-PL Team. He is Bucknell’s 11th Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year in men’s basketball in the 28-year history of the league and the first since Muscala in 2013.
• Bucknell has now had at least one first-team all-conference player in 32 of the last 35 seasons, dating back to the team’s tenure in the East Coast Conference.
Numbers Worth Noting
• Stephen Brown has scored in double figures in 17 straight games and is 33-for-37 from the foul line in his last 10 games.
• Kimbal Mackenzie is 20-for-20 from the foul line this season and has made 29 straight dating back to last year. The school record is 39, by Bo Heiden in 1986-87.
• Zach Thomas has scored in double figures in 81 of his 86 career starts, including all but one this season. Thomas has made four of his last seven from the 3-point arc on the heels of a 1-for-14 slump.
• Nana Foulland has a blocked shot in 16 straight games and has scored in double figures in 15 straight.
• Bucknell is 25-3 in the month of January and 16-6 in February under head coach Nathan Davis.
• The Bison are 14-2 this season, 36-3 over the last two seasons, and 50-7 in the Davis era when leading at the half.
• Bucknell is averaging 43.0 points in the second halves of games this season, the 15th-best figure in the country. That figure jumps to 45.5 ppg at home, which ranks ninth in the nation.
• Bucknell leads the Patriot League in scoring offense at 80.7 points per game (43rd nationally). The Bison are scoring 1.09 and allowing 0.99 points per possession on the season.
• The Bison are 15-2 when scoring 80 or more points, but 7-7 when scoring fewer than 80. The team’s lone losses when scoring 80 were a 93-81 setback at North Carolina on Nov. 15 and a 92-89 overtime loss at Lehigh on Feb. 5.
• Stephen Brown is averaging 15.4 ppg in Patriot League play. The senior is taking more shots than at any other point in his career. Brown is averaging 10.9 FGA per game this season, more than two 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 6.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, but when pro-rated for 40 minutes he is tallying 16.8 ppg and 10.1 rpg.
• Bucknell is shooting 48.9% from the field at home this season and 45.2% on the road, even though it has shot better from the 3-point arc on the road (34.7% compared to 32.7% at Sojka Pavilion).
• 29.8% of Bucknell’s offensive plays have resulted in free throws, which is the 10th-highest rate in the country.
NCAA TEAM LEADERS, FREE THROWS ATTEMPTED
- Rider 793
- UNLV 774
- Bucknell 770
- Niagara 765
- Bethune-Cookman 759
NCAA TEAM LEADERS, FREE THROWS MADE
- UTRGV 557
- Niagara 556
- Bucknell 555
- Auburn 550
- Wyoming 546
• According to the Hollinger Player Efficiency Rating formula at ESPN.com, Zach Thomas ranks 37th out of all Division I players with a score of 27.14. PER measures the aggregate of a player’s statistical efficiency.
Who’s Got Next?
• With a victory, Bucknell would advance to the Patriot League semifinal round on Sunday on CBS Sports Network. The Bison would face the winner of No. 4 Lehigh and No. 5 Boston University.