Feb. 1, 2013
WHAT: Navy (7-15, 1-5 PL) at Bucknell (18-4, 5-1 PL)
WHERE: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pa.
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 2, 7 p.m. ET
LIVE WEBCAST: Bison Vision
RADIO: Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM) and SportsJuice.com
LIVE STATS: GameTracker
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
The Last Meeting
February 29, 2012
Bison Men Leap into Patriot League Semifinals with 87-63 Win over Navy
Joe Willman scored 18 points and Bryson Johnson collected 15 on 5-for-7 shooting from long range, leading top-seeded Bucknell to an 87-63 rout of No. 8 Navy in a Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal game on Wednesday night at Sojka Pavilion. Now 23-8 on the season, the Bison shot a season-best 62.7 from the field and will move on to play fifth-seeded Lafayette in a semifinal game this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Sojka Pavilion.
The annual Alumni Game will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at Sojka Pavilion. The game is open to the public and free of charge. Among the alumni scheduled to participate are Doug Allen '88, Mark Allsteadt '87, Shaun Asbury '00, Bob Barry '80, Jeremiah Bennett '04, John Campbell '85, Matt Fiery '10, Pete Griffin '00, Bill Hall '75, Mike Joseph '90, Charles Lee '06, Darren Mastropaolo '08, Chris Niesz '05, Steve O'Brien '80, Darryl Shazier '11, Ed Sigl '84, Rob Thomas '08, Stephen Tyree '10 and Jason Vegotsky '09. Other alumni scheduled to be in attendance are Al Leslie '81, Keith Fenton '91, Pat Flannery '80, Tommy Thompson '60, Grant Tormey '89 and Joe Diblin '40. Diblin is the oldest living Bucknell basketball alum, and he and the rest of the alumni will be honored during Saturday night's game vs. Navy.
With a Win over Navy, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 6-1 in the Patriot League and maintain at least a share of the league lead.
• ... improve to 19-4 on the season, which would mark the third-best 23-game start in program history (the 1983-84 and 2005-06 teams started 20-3).
• ... defeat the Midshipmen for the sixth straight time overall and fourth straight time at Sojka Pavilion.
• ... improve to 8-1 at home this season.
• ... improve to 106-33 overall and 72-15 against Patriot League opponents at Sojka Pavilion.
• Bucknell stole one at Bender Arena on Wednesday night, with Mike Muscala’s put-back with 0.8 seconds left capping a game-ending 8-0 run that gave the Bison a 56-55 win over American. Now Bucknell will look to keep that momentum going as Navy visits Sojka Pavilion on Saturday night.
• The Bison enter the weekend tied for the Patriot League lead with Lehigh at 5-1, with Lafayette lurking just a game behind at 4-2. Navy (1-5) is looking to move out of the No. 8 spot.
• Through Thursday’s games, Bucknell is tied for 8th nationally with 18 victories.
• Bucknell is tied for the national lead with nine road wins. Stony Brook also has nine.
• Bucknell in the rankings:
Associated Press Poll: NR
USA Today Coaches’ Poll: NR
CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll: 7
ESPN.com Mid-Major Poll: 7
RPI (from RPIforecast.com): 54
Ken Pomeroy computer ranking: 48
Jeff Sagarin computer ranking: 68
• Bryson Johnson and Mike Muscala were both named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team on Thursday. Johnson and Muscala both made the Dean’s List in the fall semester, and they grabbed two of the five All-District spots. They are both now eligible for the national Academic All-America ballot.
• The Bison have been outstanding defensively this season. Opponents are averaging only 58.6 points per game, and Bucknell has held 16 of its last 20 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 (19.4), rebounding (11.1), assists (2.8), blocks (2.9) and FG% (.521). He leads the league in scoring, rebounding and blocks and ranks in the top 20 nationally in each of those categories (4th reb., 20th pts., 14th 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 15 double-doubles.
• Cameron Ayers (12.1), Joe Willman (11.4), and Bryson Johnson (11.0) are also scoring in double figures for the Bison, who average 68.1 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 542 career games played.
• Coming off a 3-26 season, Navy got out to a 6-6 start with a very young lineup in 2012-13. The Midshipmen have struggled recently, however, dropping nine of their last 10, although the one win in that span was a 59-50 road victory over arch-rival Army. Last time out, Navy fell 71-49 at home to Lehigh on Wednesday.
• Navy features one of the league’s top freshmen in point guard Tilman Dunbar, who scores 10.0 ppg and leads the league in assists at 5.1 apg. Sophomore Worth Smith, who played very well against Bucknell last season, also averages 10.0 ppg and leads the team in rebounding at 5.9 rpg.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Navy 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.
• Live stats are available on GameTracker via BucknellBison.com.
Bucknell vs. Navy
• This will be the 65th all-time meeting between the Bison and Midshipmen, with Navy owning a 34-30 series lead.
• The Midshipmen had won four straight over the Bison until Bucknell bounced back with five straight wins over the last two seasons. Navy swept the season series from Bucknell in both 2009 and 2010, winning by 4, 2 (in OT), 2 and 2 points. The Bison returned the favor with a sweep in 2011, and last season Bucknell took all three meetings, including an 87-63 win in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal round.
• The Mids won 12 of 16 from the Bison prior to joining the Patriot League in 1991-92.
• As conference rivals, Bucknell leads 26-22, with the home team winning most of the time. Since Navy joined the league, Bucknell is 18-5 against the Mids at home but is only 8-17 against Navy in Alumni Hall during that time.
• Last season in Annapolis, Mike Muscala poured in 27 points on 11-for-15 shooting to lead Bucknell to a 66-51 win over Navy. Worth Smith paced Navy with 16 points. In the rematch at Sojka Pavilion, Bucknell won 64-55 behind 19 points from Muscala and 12 from Joe Willman. Bucknell shot a season-best 62.7% in the 87-63 Patriot League Tournament win. Willman scored 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting, and Bryson Johnson went 5-for-7 from the 3-point arc in a 15-point night. Isaiah Roberts scored 19 and 20 points for Navy in the two meetings at Sojka Pavilion.
Patriot League Success
• Bucknell is 205-95 (.683) 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 38 of its last 44 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 turned an ice-cold shooting night into a memorable victory, as Mike Muscala put back his own miss with 0.8 left on the clock to send the Bison to a 56-55 win over American at Bender Arena on Wednesday.
• Remarkably, the Bison won on a night when they shot 1-for-10 from the 3-point arc and 11-for-24 from the free-throw line.
• Bucknell trailed 55-48 after Daniel Munoz beat the shot clock buzzer with a 28-footer with 2:15 to play. The Bison then scored the game’s final eight points.
• American left the door open by missing its last four free throws of the night, including two critical missed front ends of 1-and-1s in the final 33 seconds. The last of those, by an 85% shooter in Munoz, gave the Bison the ball down one with 19 seconds left. Muscala had a shot blocked out of bounds with 5.6 seconds left. They went back to Muscala on the inbounds, and he missed the initial shot, but Steven Kaspar kept the ball alive and Muscala grabbed it and banked it in with his left hand.
• Kaspar also hit a key jumper with 1:20 left that reduced Bucknell’s deficit to four.
• Muscala had an off night by his standards, going 6-for-18 from the floor and 4-for-10 from the foul line. But he still finished with a solid line of 16 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks. He recorded his national-best 15th double-double of the season. Muscala was also the victim of two separate elbows to the chin, both of which resulted in flagrant fouls. He missed about seven minutes in the first half after the initial blow and played most of the game with a heavily bandaged chin.
• Cameron Ayers had another strong night with 14 points on 6-for-12 shooting. His 3-pointer accounted for Bucknell’s first points of the night, and it would prove to be the team’s only trey of the game.
• American became only the sixth team this season to shoot 40% or better against Bucknell. The Eagles shot 47.8% on the night, but the Bison held them to 55 points by conceding only five offensive rebounds and forcing 11 turnovers.
• Bucknell also had 11 turnovers, ending a streak of five straight games with single-digit TOs. The Bison had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio (8:11) for only the fourth time all year.
• Several Bison are chasing significant milestones:
• Mike Muscala needs 148 points to become Bucknell’s all-time leading scorer (Al Leslie had 1,973) and 175 to become the program’s first 2,000-point scorer. If Bucknell plays the minimum number of games it could possibly play the rest of the way (9), Muscala would have to average 16.4 points to catch Leslie.
• Muscala needs 40 rebounds to join Hal Danzig as the only players in program history with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
• Muscala needs 24 blocked shots to catch school record-holder Mike Butts, who had 278.
• Bryson Johnson has tied Kevin Bettencourt’s Bucknell career record of 294 made 3-pointers, and he is eight shy of the Patriot League record of 302, set by American’s Garrison Carr.
• Cameron Ayers needs 89 points for 1,000 in his career.
Starting off on the Right Foot
• Bucknell’s 18-4 start is tied for third-best in program history. The 1983-84 and 2005-06 teams were 19-3 after 22 games.
• If Bucknell can defeat Navy to get to 19-4, it would also be the third-best 23-game start in team history. The Bison were 20-3 in 1983-84 and 2005-06.
• Bucknell became the first team in Patriot League history to record 13 non-league wins in a regular season. Fordham (1990-91) and Lehigh (2011-12) previously won 12.
Who’s Got Next?
• Saturday’s game ends the first round of Patriot League play. The Bison will then get a week off before starting round two at Army on Feb. 9 at 4 p.m.
• Bucknell defeated Army 76-55 at Sojka Pavilion on Jan. 12. Mike Muscala had 20 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in that game, while Joe Willman added 18 points and Cameron Ayers 15.