Feb. 17, 2013
WHAT: Bucknell (21-5, 8-2 PL) at Lehigh (18-6, 8-2 PL)
WHERE: Stabler Arena, Bethlehem, Pa.
WHEN: Monday, Feb. 18, 7 p.m. ET
TELEVISION: CBS Sports Network
RADIO: Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM) and SportsJuice.com
LIVE STATS: LehighSports.com
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
The Last Meeting
January 23, 2013
Lehigh Downs Bucknell Men 65-62 in Clash of Patriot League Unbeatens
In a game of wild momentum swings, it was Lehigh that made the final run and the Mountain Hawks outlasted Bucknell 65-62 Wednesday night before 3,964 fans at Sojka Pavilion. Both teams came in unbeaten in Patriot League play, but Lehigh moved to 14-4 overall and 4-0 in the league, while the Bison fell to 16-4, 3-1, despite 16 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots from Mike Muscala.
With a Win over Lehigh, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 9-2 in the Patriot League and take over sole possession of first place in the Patriot League.
• ... improve to 22-5 on the season, which would equal the third-best 27-game record in program history (the 1983-84 and 2004-05 teams started 23-4).
• ... snap a three-game losing streak to the Mountain Hawks.
• ... defeat the Mountain Hawks at Stabler Arena for the third year in a row.
• ... improve to 11-4 on the road this season and tie the program record for most road wins in a season.
• Bucknell and Lehigh meet on Monday night at Stabler Arena in the second of two regular-season meetings between the two 2012 Patriot League finalists. The Bison and Mountain Hawks have sat atop the league standings all year, but both teams enter this game coming off road losses. Bucknell dropped a 63-62 decision at Lafayette, while Lehigh fell 64-60 at Colgate on Saturday.
• Bucknell and Lehigh are both 8-2 in the Patriot League, two games clear of third-place Lafayette with four to play. Lehigh defeated Bucknell 65-62 in the first meeting on Jan. 23 at Sojka Pavilion. A Mountain Hawks win on Monday would give them a one-game lead and the head-to-head tiebreaker over Bucknell. The Bison would also grab a one-game lead with a victory and cancel Lehigh’s head-to-head advantage.
• Through Saturday’s games, Bucknell is tied for 10th nationally with 21 victories and tied with Stony Brook, Louisiana Tech and Texas-Arlington 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): 61
Ken Pomeroy computer ranking: 68
Jeff Sagarin computer ranking: 88
• 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 58.7 points per game, and Bucknell has held 19 of its last 24 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 (19.4), rebounding (11.6), assists (2.7), blocks (2.6) and FG% (.522). He leads the league in scoring, rebounding and blocks and ranks in the top 25 nationally in each of those categories (2nd reb., 23rd pts., 21st 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 leads the nation with 19 double-doubles.
• 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 (12.5), Bryson Johnson (11.3) and Joe Willman (10.5) are also scoring in double figures for the Bison, who average 67.6 ppg. Ayers scored a season-high 20 points at Lafayette on Saturday and is averaging 13.9 ppg while shooting 52.0% in Patriot League play.
• 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 has used the same starting five in every game this season, and that quintet has a combined 562 career games played.
• Lehigh comes in at 18-6 overall, and the Mountain Hawks gave gone 9-2 since losing All-America guard C.J. McCollum to a broken foot. Gabe Knutson (13.7), Mackey McKnight (12.3) and Holden Greiner (12.1) all score in double figures, and B.J. Bailey, Anthony D’Orazio, Stefan Cvrkalj and Corey Schaefer all help make Lehigh one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the country (.412).
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Lehigh game will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network. Bob Socci handles the play-by-play duties, with former Army star Chris Spatola the analyst.
• 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 statistics are available at LehighSports.com.
Bucknell vs. Lehigh
• Bucknell has played more games (159) and won more games (97) against Lehigh than any other school. The Bison have a 97-62 lead in a series that originated in 1902.
• Since the start of Patriot League play in 1990-91, Bucknell holds a 37-16 advantage, including a 20-6 mark at home.
• Lehigh now owns the most wins over Bucknell in Sojka Pavilion (5).
• 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 8-5 against the Mountain Hawks in Sojka.
• The road team has won the last four series meetings, including Lehigh’s 65-62 victory at Sojka Pavilion earlier this season. In that game, Lehigh raced out to a 27-12 lead, Bucknell stormed back to go up by seven, but then Lehigh finished the game on a 15-6 run. Mike Muscala led the Bison with 16 points, eight rebounds, and six blocked shots, while Joe Willman added 15 points and nine rebounds. B.J. Bailey led Lehigh with 18 points and Mackey McKnight added 17. The biggest difference in the game was 3-point shooting, where Lehigh went 10-for-18 and Bucknell 2-for-14.
• Last year the Bison won 68-61 in Bethlehem behind 20 points and 12 rebounds from Muscala. The Bison held C.J. McCollum to 14 points on 5-for-15 shooting in that one. McCollum got his revenge a few weeks later, hitting a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left to give Lehigh a 56-53 win. Both stars struggled in that one, as Muscala had 10 points and 12 boards but shot just 3-for-12 from the field. McCollum was just 4-for-12 for 15 points, including the buzzer beater. Willman had a terrific performance with a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds. The Patriot League championship at Sojka Pavilion was a sensational game, with Lehigh making a game-saving defensive stop in the final seconds in what became an 82-77 win. McCollum led the Mountain Hawks with 29 points and Gabe Knutson had 23, while Muscala piled up 30 points and 14 rebounds for the Bison.
Patriot League Success
• Bucknell is 208-96 (.684) 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 48 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 received outstanding performances from Mike Muscala and Cameron Ayers, but Tony Johnson’s pull-up jumper in the lane with 4.5 seconds remaining lifted Lafayette to a 63-62 win over the Bison on Saturday before a large crowd at Kirby Sports Center.
• Muscala recorded 21 points and 10 rebounds in the first half alone, and he finished the day with 29 points and 15 boards for his NCAA-best 19th double-double.
• Ayers scored 17 of his season-high 20 points in the second half. He made 8 of 12 shots, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range. Ayers scored five straight points to give Bucknell a 3-point lead late in the contest, but the Leopards scored the final four points of the day to end an eight-game series losing streak.
• Muscala and Ayers combined for 20 of Bucknell’s 23 field goals and 49 of its 62 points.
• Bucknell outrebounded Lafayette 40-30 but was outscored 21-10 at the foul line.
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell is idle until Sunday, when Holy Cross comes to Sojka Pavilion for a noon tip. Bucknell will be celebrating Senior Day on Sunday, as Bryson Johnson, Colin Klebon, Mike Muscala and Joe Willman will be honored prior to the game.
• Bucknell defeated Holy Cross 65-58 at the Hart Center on Jan. 26.