Jan. 29, 2013
WHAT: Bucknell (17-4, 4-1 PL) at American (7-13, 2-3 PL)
WHERE: Bender Arena, Washington, D.C.
WHEN: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m. ET
WEBCAST: Bison Vision
RADIO: Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM) and SportsJuice.com
LIVE STATS: AUEagles.com
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
The Last Meeting
February 23, 2012
Bucknell Men Wrap Up Patriot League Tournament Top Seed with Hard-Fought 55-50 Win at American
Mike Muscala recorded 26 points and 14 rebounds and Bucknell got hot at the right time in a hard-fought 55-50 win at American on Thursday night. With the victory, the Bison have clinched the No. 1 seed and homecourt advantage throughout the Patriot League Tournament. Now 21-8 overall and 11-2 in the league, Bucknell snapped a two-game losing streak and prevented American (18-10, 9-4) and Lehigh from moving into a tie for first place.
With a Win over American, Bucknell Would ...
... improve to 5-1 in the Patriot League and maintain at least a share of the league lead.
... improve to 18-4 on the season, which would mark the third-best 22-game start in program history (the 1983-84 and 2005-06 teams started 19-3).
... defeat the Eagles for the seventh straight time overall and fourth straight time at Bender Arena.
... improve to 9-3 on the road this season.
Bucknell rebounded nicely from a close loss to Lehigh with a 65-58 victory at Lehigh on Saturday, and now the Bison have another tough road game at American on Wednesday night. Bucknell and Lehigh are tied atop the Patriot League standings at 4-1, while American sits in a four-way tie for fourth place at 2-3.
Through Monday’s games, Bucknell is tied for 11th nationally with 17 victories.
Bucknell is tied for the national lead with eight road wins. Albany, Stony Brook, Louisiana Tech and Texas-Arlington also have eight.
Bucknell in the rankings:
Associated Press Poll: NR
USA Today Coaches’ Poll: NR
CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll: 7
ESPN.com Mid-Major Poll: 6
RPI (from RPIforecast.com): 49
Ken Pomeroy computer ranking: 48
Jeff Sagarin computer ranking: 62
The Bison have been outstanding defensively this season. Opponents are averaging only 58.8 points per game, and Bucknell has held 16 of its last 19 foes under 40% shooting.
Bryson Johnson has tied Kevin Bettencourt’s program record with 294 career 3-pointers, and he needs just one more to hold the record himself. Johnson is also eight shy of the Patriot League record, held by American’s Garrison Carr.
Mike Muscala is in the midst of an outstanding senior year for the Bison, and he has garnered frequent national mentions throughout the season. An All-America and NBA Draft candidate, Muscala leads the Bison in scoring (19.5), rebounding (11.0), assists (2.7), blocks (2.9) and FG% (.533). He leads the league in scoring, rebounding and blocks and ranks in the top 20 nationally in each of those categories (7th reb., 19th pts., 15th blk.).
Muscala is the only player in the country averaging at least 18 points and 11 rebounds per game. And there are only three players in all of Division I basketball who are leading his team in points, rebounds, assists and blocked shots. They are Muscala, Princeton’s Ian Hummer and Towson’s Jarelle Benimon. Muscala and Benimon are tied for the national lead with 14 double-doubles.
Cameron Ayers (12.0), Joe Willman (11.5), and Bryson Johnson (11.2) are also scoring in double figures for the Bison, who average 68.7 ppg.
The Bison opened the campaign with wins over Purdue and George Mason, and then swept Niagara, New Mexico State and West Alabama at the Niagara Subregional of the 2K Sports Classic benefitting Wounded Warrior Project. Bucknell won all three of those games by double figures and improved to 5-0 for the first time since 2005-06. The first loss of the season came at Penn State on Nov. 23.
Bucknell returned four starters and 11 lettermen from last year’s 25-10 squad. The lone graduated starter was 6’5” guard Bryan Cohen, who won each of the last three Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year awards. Despite that loss, the experienced Bison start three seniors and two juniors. Bucknell’s starting five has a combined 537 career games played.
American is 7-13 overall this season and 4-4 at home. The Eagles are coming off a 77-64 loss at Army on Saturday.
Stephen Lumpkins, back after a one-year hiatus to play minor-league baseball, is leading the Eagles in scoring (15.2 ppg) and rebounding (9.6). Lumpkins is averaging 17.4 ppg and 11.2 rpg in Patriot League play. The Bison will have to keep an eye on red-hot guard John Schoof, who went 8-for-10 from the 3-point arc in last Wednesday’s 72-49 rout of Navy at Bender Arena.
How to Get the Game
The Bucknell-American game will not be televised, however a live webcast will be available at Bison Vision via BucknellBison.com and Patriot League All-Access via PatriotLeague.com.
The game can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM), with Doug Birdsong and Terry Conrad describing the action. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off.
The audio feed is available online free of charge via BucknellBison.com and SportsJuice.com.
Bucknell vs. American
Bucknell has an overall 31-20 lead in an all-time series with American that includes some historic dates. The very first meeting on Jan. 14, 1939 also happened to be the first game ever played in Davis Gym (AU won 38-33). Coincidentally, American was also the opponent for the very last game ever played in Davis Gym on Jan. 11, 2003 (a 63-52 Bison win).
Bucknell has won 18 of 24 series meetings in Lewisburg, including 10 out of 11 at Sojka Pavilion, but the Bison are just 5-6 at Bender Arena since American joined the Patriot League in 2001-02.
As Patriot League rivals, Bucknell leads 16-8. The Bison defeated American eight straight times during one stretch, including victories in the 2005 and 2006 PL Tournament semifinals.
After American swept the season series in 2008-09, the Bison returned the favor in each of the last three seasons and have won six straight over the Eagles. Bucknell’s seniors are 6-0 against AU.
Bucknell won two close games against American last season, 67-61 at Sojka Pavilion and 55-50 at Bender Arena. Mike Muscala recorded 21 points and 12 rebounds in the home victory and then had 26 points and 14 boards in the win at AU.
Patriot League Success
Bucknell is playing its 300th Patriot League regular-season game on Wednesday. The Bison are 204-95 (.682) all-time in Patriot League regular-season games, the best record of any league team. They have finished at least .500 in PL play in 18 of 22 seasons.
Bucknell has won the last two Patriot League regular-season titles, and it is trying to become the first team to win three outright titles in a row. The Bison went 13-1 in the league in 2011 and 12-2 last year, making them 25-3 over those two seasons. Dating back to mid-2010, Bucknell has won 37 of its last 43 league games.
Bucknell won Patriot League Tournament titles in 2005, 2006 and 2011. The Bison have made it to the semifinals 17 times and to the championship game nine times in the 22-year history of the league.
The Bison are the only team to go unbeaten in league play in a season (14-0 in 2006).
Last Time Out
Bucknell used balanced scoring, strong defense and timely free-throw shooting to hold off Holy Cross 65-58 at the Hart Center on Saturday afternoon. Joe Willman and Bryson Johnson scored 16 points each, Cameron Ayers had 15 and Mike Muscala logged his 14th double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Willman went 7-for-9 from the floor and Johnson connected on both of his 3-point attempts as the Bison shot 46.5% on the day. At the other end, Bucknell limited Holy Cross to 34.0% shooting and a 5-for-16 showing from 3-point distance.
Bucknell attempted only five 3-pointers among its 43 field-goal tries, hitting two.
The Bison went 12-for-14 from the foul line in the final five minutes of the contest, including an 8-for-8 performance from Johnson.
Steven Kaspar had a strong game off the bench, recording a season-high six assists with no turnovers in 20 minutes. Kaspar also converted a 3-point play in the first half and grabbed a pair of rebounds.
Dave Dudzinski had a big day for Holy Cross with a game-high 26 points. Dudzinski scored the Crusaders’ first eight points of the game.
Who’s Got Next?
Bucknell is back home on Saturday to face Navy at 7 p.m. at Sojka Pavilion.
The annual Bucknell men’s basketball alumni game will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Sojka Pavilion.