Feb. 15, 2013
WHAT: Bucknell (21-4, 8-1 PL) at Lafayette (12-14, 5-4 PL)
WHERE: Kirby Sports Center, Easton, Pa.
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 16, 2 p.m. ET
WEBCAST: Patriot League All-Access
RADIO: Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM) and SportsJuice.com
LIVE STATS: Game Tracker
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
The Last Meeting
January 19, 2013
Bucknell Men Ride Stifling Defense to 66-51 Win over Lafayette
Mike Muscala posted 27 points and 15 rebounds, and Bucknell parlayed a terrific defensive effort into a 66-51 win over Lafayette and a 3-0 start in the Patriot League. Cameron Ayers scored 12 points and Joe Willman added 10 for the Bison, who are now 16-3 overall heading into a first-place showdown with Lehigh on Wednesday night at Sojka Pavilion.
With a Win over Lafayette, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 9-1 in the Patriot League and maintain at least a share of the league lead.
• ... improve to 22-4 on the season, which equal the best 26-game start in program history (the 1983-84 and 2004-05 teams also started 22-4).
• ... win its sixth game in a row.
• ... equal the eighth-most wins in a season in program history.
• ... complete a season sweep of the Leopards and extend its series winning streak to nine.
• ... improve to 11-3 on the road this season and tie the program record for most road wins in a season.
• Bucknell begins an important two-game Lehigh Valley road swing on Saturday afternoon against third-place Lafayette. The Bison will head home after playing the Leopards, then turn back around and come back to the area to face Patriot League co-leader Lehigh on Monday night.
• With Lafayette losing to Army on Wednesday while Bucknell and Lehigh both won, the Bison and Mountain Hawks now have a three-game lead over the third-place Leopards with five games to play. Army and American are tied for fourth place at 4-5.
• Bucknell has won five straight games since falling to Lehigh on Jan. 23, with three of those victories coming on the road. The Bison have had some close calls during this streak, with four of the five wins coming by eight points or less, including the American and Army games that came down to the final possession.
• Through Thursday’s games, Bucknell is tied for 6th nationally with 21 victories and tied with Stony Brook for the national lead with 10 road wins.
• Bucknell in the rankings:
Associated Press Poll: NR
USA Today Coaches’ Poll: NR
CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll: 8
ESPN.com Mid-Major Poll: 6
RPI (from RPIforecast.com): 53
Ken Pomeroy computer ranking: 64
Jeff Sagarin computer ranking: 80
• Bryson Johnson and Mike Muscala were both recently named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team, and Muscala was just named one of 10 national finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. 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 58.5 points per game, and Bucknell has held 18 of its last 23 foes under 40% shooting.
• 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 (19.0), rebounding (11.4), assists (2.8), blocks (2.7) and FG% (.517). He leads the league in scoring, rebounding and blocks and ranks in the top 30 nationally in each of those categories (3rd reb., 26th pts., 17th 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. Benimon and Muscala are tied for the national lead with 18 double-doubles apiece.
• Muscala recorded his 1,000th career rebound on Wednesday, putting him in the exclusive 1,000-point, 1,000-rebound club. Muscala is the second Bucknell player ever to record 1,000 rebounds (Hal Danzig had 1,134 from 1956-59), and he joins former Colgate star Adonal Foyle as the only Patriot Leaguers ever to reach that milestone.
• Cameron Ayers (12.2), Bryson Johnson (11.6) and Joe Willman (10.8) are also scoring in double figures for the Bison, who average 67.8 ppg. Johnson was named Bison Athlete of the Week on Monday after his 17-point, 8-rebound, 6-assist performance in the win over Army last Saturday. He also became the Patriot League’s all-time leading 3-point shooter in that game.
• 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. The only other setbacks have come at the hands of Princeton, Missouri and Lehigh.
• 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 557 career games played.
• Just after losing at Sojka Pavilion last month, Lafayette bounced back in a big way with consecutive one-sided victories over Holy Cross (63-53), Lehigh (78-57) and Colgate (69-40). But since then the Leopards have dropped two of their last three games, including an 85-68 loss at home to Army on Wednesday.
• The Leopards are traditionally one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the Patriot League, and this year has been no exception. Lafayette shoots 37.5% from the arc and averages 8.0 made threes per game.
• Seth Hinrichs leads the Leopards in scoring (14.7) and rebounding (5.2). Dan Trist, who did not play against Army on Wednesday, averages 12.7 ppg, and point guard Tony Johnson also scores in double figures (11.3) while handing out 4.9 assists per contest.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Lafayette game will be televised locally on the Lafayette Sports Network (RCN-TV, WBPH-60). In addition, a live webcast will be available on Patriot League All-Access via Patriot League.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. Lafayette
• Bucknell and Lafayette have met 152 times previously, making the Leopards Bucknell’s second most-played opponent (the Bison have played Lehigh 159 times). Since the series began in 1915, Lafayette leads 85-67.
• Since the start of Patriot League play in 1990-91, however, Bucknell has won 38 of 51 meetings.
• Bucknell has won all 14 matchups in Sojka Pavilion and is 23-3 against the Leopards in Lewisburg going back to the Patriot League’s first season. Lafayette is actually 0-15 all-time in Sojka, including a neutral-site loss to American in the 2006 PL Tournament quarterfinals.
• The Bison and Leopards have met in each of the last two postseasons. Bucknell won 72-57 in the 2011 Patriot League championship game and 79-52 in the 2012 PL Tournament semifinals.
• In the 2012 regular season, Bucknell won 79-65 in Easton behind 27 points from Mike Muscala, who finished 9-for-13 from the field and 9-for-9 from the foul line. In the rematch at Sojka Pavilion, the Bison fought off 11 Leopards’ 3-pointers and prevailed 90-78. Muscala led five Bison in double figures in that one with 24 points, and Bucknell shot 57.7% for the game.
• Back on Jan. 19 at Sojka Pavilion, Muscala recorded 27 points and 15 rebounds and the Bison defeated Lafayette 66-51. Bucknell limited Lafayette to 1-for-13 3-point shooting and 34.5% overall. Seth Hinrichs led Lafayette with 12 points.
Patriot League Success
• Bucknell is 208-95 (.686) 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 (and are guaranteed at least a .500 finish this year).
• 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 41 of its last 47 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 jumped out to a 9-0 lead and never trailed in Wednesday’s 69-61 victory over Colgate. The Bison led by 11 at the half, but the Raiders shot their way back within two points with 7:49 remaining. Mike Muscala took over down the stretch, however. He hit back-to-back baskets after Colgate pulled within 49-47, and would score 20 of his 27 points in the second half.
• In addition to his game-high 27 points (12-21 FG), Muscala pulled down 12 rebounds and handed out three assists. Late in the contest, Muscala recorded his 1,000th career rebound. It was also his 100th career double-digit scoring game.
• Cameron Ayers hit two big buckets late in the game and also made both ends of a 1-and-1 to help seal the win. Ayers had a terrific night with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
• Bryson Johnson knocked down three 3-pointers and finished with 12 points and three assists with no turnovers in 36 minutes.
• Colgate became only the second visiting team all year to shoot better than 40% at Sojka Pavilion. The Raiders shot 47.8% and were led by Murphy Burnatowski’s 23 points.
• Bucknell committed only one turnover in the second half and eight for the game. Colgate had 14 turnovers, leading to 16 Bison points.
• Several Bison are chasing significant milestones:
• Mike Muscala needs 98 points to become Bucknell’s all-time leading scorer (Al Leslie had 1,973) and 125 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 (6), Muscala would have to average 16.3 points to catch Leslie.
• Muscala needs 24 points for 500 on the season.
• Muscala needs 102 rebounds to equal Adonal Foyle’s Patriot League career record of 1,103.
• Muscala needs 19 blocked shots to catch school record-holder Mike Butts, who had 278.
• Cameron Ayers needs 49 points for 1,000 in his career.
Stats of Note
• Bucknell has attempted only 314 3-point field goals this season, by far the fewest in the Patriot League. Only 23.8% of the team’s field-goal attempts have been from beyond the arc. Every other Patriot League team is over 33%.
• Bryson Johnson (56) and Cameron Ayers (36) have combined for 92 of Bucknell’s 112 made 3-pointers (.821).
• Bucknell’s top four scorers — Mike Muscala, Ayers, Johnson and Joe Willman — have combined for 79.1% of the team’s points this season (1,342 of 1,696).
• Ayers is 27 of 48 (.563) from the floor in his last five games.
• Bucknell has posted a higher field-goal percentage than its opponent in all but five games this season (Purdue, Princeton, Missouri, American, Colgate).
• Bucknell commits only 14.8 fouls per game, the 12th-fewest in the country. The Bison have attempted 113 more free throws than their opponents.
• The Bison rank fourth nationally in turnovers per game at 9.9, but they are actually -0.4 in turnover margin on the season. Bucknell opponents turn the ball over only 9.5 times per game.
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell has a short turnaround before traveling to Lehigh on Monday night. The 7 p.m. contest will air live on CBS Sports Network.
• Lehigh defeated the Bison in the 2012 Patriot League championship game at Sojka Pavilion, and the Mountain Hawks prevailed again 65-62 back on Jan. 23.