Feb. 24, 2012
WHAT: Navy (3-24, 0-13 PL) at Bucknell (21-8, 11-2 PL)
WHERE: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pa.
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 25, 4 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
NOTE: All of the advance general public tickets for the Feb. 25 Bucknell-Navy men's basketball game at Sojka Pavilion have been sold. Only Bucknell student admissions remain. Bucknell students should enter Sojka Pavilion by presenting a valid BUID at the Southeast corner student-only entrance. Doors open at 3 p.m. and will be closed when the general student allotment (beyond the reserved Bison Backers number) has been reached.
In the unlikely event that any tickets are returned from the visiting team allotment on Saturday, the Sojka Pavilion Box office will open at 3 p.m. and tickets will be made available for sale to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that no additional standing room only (SRO) tickets will be sold for this event.
With a Win over Navy, Bucknell Would ...
• ... finish the regular season at 22-8 overall and 12-2 in the Patriot League.
• ... record at least 22 wins in a season for the ninth time in program history.
• ... clinch the outright Patriot League regular-season championship.
• ... improve to 12-2 at home this season and 96-31 all-time at Sojka Pavilion.
• ... sweep the season series from the Midshipmen for the second time this season.
• ... become the first team to reach 200 all-time Patriot League regular-season wins.
• Bucknell has officially wrapped up the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage throughout the Patriot League Tournament, and now the Bison will try to lock up sole possesson of the PL regular-season title with a win over Navy on Saturday night. Bucknell has a one-game lead over Lehigh with one game to play, but the Bison would own the tiebreaker over the Mountain Hawks in the event of a Lehigh win and Bucknell loss this weekend.
• Navy is also assured of its playoff seed. The Midshipmen will be the No. 8 seed, meaning they will have to come right back to Sojka Pavilion for a quarterfinal game on Wednesday.
• Saturday’s game will be Senior Day. Prior to the contest, seniors Bryan Cohen, Enoch Andoh and Probese Leo will be recognized on the court.
• Bucknell put an end to a season-high-tying two-game losing streak on Thursday, beating American 55-50 in a nationally televised game at Bender Arena. The Bison fought back from an early 10-point deficit and handed the Eagles their first home loss of the season. Mike Muscala had a monster night, finishing with 26 points and 14 rebounds, and after experiencing some cold shooting for most of the night, Cohen, Bryson Johnson and Cameron Ayers hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to help the Bison pull away late.
• Bucknell has won 13 of its last 15, 17 of its last 20, and 21 of its last 27. Since Dec. 1, 2010, Bucknell is 44-11.
• Muscala is averaging 19.0 points over his last 19 games, and he has upped his season scoring average to 16.6, fourth-best in the Patriot League. The last Bison to average better than 16 points per game was Bryan Bailey (17.4) back in 2001-02.
• Muscala continues to lead the Bison in rebounding (9.2) and blocked shots (1.6). He leads the Patriot League in rebounding by a wide margin, and he has 14 double-doubles this season, the most in the league. He is two shy of the school record for double-doubles in a season. Muscala also has 11 20-point games this year.
• The Bison were unanimously picked as the preseason favorite in the Patriot League by the league’s head coaches and SIDs.
• The Bison returned four starters from last year’s team that finished 25-9 overall and 13-1 in the Patriot League. Bucknell went on to capture the Patriot League Tournament title, but the 14th-seeded Bison were ousted by red-hot Connecticut, the eventual national champions, in their NCAA Tournament opener.
• Navy comes into the game looking to shake a 20-game losing streak, dating back to a Nov. 27 win over Mount St. Mary’s, and the Midshipmen are trying to avoid becoming the fourth team to finish with a winless Patriot League record. Navy has been competitive in many of its losses, however. Two of its PL setbacks have come in overtime, and just last week it lost to Colgate on a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the game. Last time out, the Mids trailed second-place Lehigh by just three in the middle of the second half before falling 58-41.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Navy game will not be televised, however a live webcast will be available on Bison Vision at BucknellBison.com, as well as on Patriot League All-Access (subscription rates apply).
• 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 on GameTracker via BucknellBison.com.
Patriot League Success
• The Bison are 199-94 (.679) in Patriot League regular-season games, the best record of any league team. Including this season, they have finished at least .500 in PL play in 18 of 22 seasons.
• This is Bucknell’s sixth Patriot League regular-season title, and a win over Navy would ensure its fourth outright title.
• The victory at Lehigh on Jan. 18 made Bucknell the first Patriot League team to go 100 games over .500 in league play. A win over Navy would make the Bison the first to reach 200 regular-season PL victories.
• The Bison won a league-record 23 straight contests against conference foes from Feb. 23, 2005 to Jan. 12, 2007.
• Bucknell had a streak of 35 straight wins at home against conference opponents come to an end in 2008.
• Bucknell had won 20 straight games against Patriot League foes, 17 in the regular season and three in the 2011 Patriot League Tournament, before falling to Lehigh on Feb. 16. The Bison were one of five remaining Division I conference unbeatens at the time.
Bucknell vs. Navy
• This will be the 63rd all-time meeting between the Bison and Midshipmen, with Navy owning a 34-28 series lead.
• The Midshipmen had won four straight over the Bison until Bucknell won twice last season. Navy swept the season series from Bucknell in both 2009 and 2010, winning by 4, 2 (in OT), 2 and 2 points. Last year Bucknell prevailed 71-64 in Annapolis and 75-49 at Sojka Pavilion.
• The Mids won 12 of 16 from the Bison prior to joining the Patriot League in 1991-92.
• As conference rivals, Bucknell leads 24-22, with the home team winning most of the time. Since Navy joined the league, Bucknell is 16-5 against the Mids at home but is only 8-17 against Navy in Alumni Hall during that time.
• Earlier this season in Annapolis, Mike Muscala poured in 27 points on 11-for-15 shooting to lead Bucknell to a 66-51 win over Navy. Bryan Cohen added 12 points for the Bison, who led 38-23 at the half. Worth Smith paced Navy with 16 points.
Last Time Out
• Bucknell clinched the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament on Thursday night with a hard-fought 55-50 win at American. The Bison fell behind by 10 points early in the game, closed within two by halftime, and then took control of an ultra-tight second half with a late 12-0 run.
• Mike Muscala was the star of the night with 26 points and 14 rebounds. He scored the team’s first eight points of the night, hit the basket that gave Bucknell the lead for good with 6:42 to play, assisted on two huge 3-pointers that stretched out the lead, and then iced the game with a blocked shot, rebound and two free throws 15 seconds left.
• With the score stuck on 41-40 Bucknell for almost two full minutes, the Bison finally got hot when it counted. Inside five minutes to play, Bryan Cohen, Bryson Johnson and Cameron Ayers canned 3-pointers on successive possessions to up the lead to 50-40. Those were the last nine points in a pivotal 12-0 run, as Bucknell kept American scoreless for a span of 5:28.
• While Cohen’s big 3-pointer proved to be his only points of the night, he made major contributions on the defensive end of the court. Cohen marked American’s Charles Hinkle, whose 19.1 scoring average coming into the game ranked No. 2 in the Patriot League and 24th nationally, was held to a season-low three points on 1-for-9 shooting.
• Bucknell won on the road despite shooting only 33.3% for the game. But after going 2-for-10 from 3-point range in the first half, the Bison were 5-for-5 in the second. Johnson hit two of those, the latter a deep 26-footer to make it a 47-40 game with 3:34 to play. Ben Brackney also hit a big trey in the second half to give Bucknell a one-point lead at the time.
• Defensively, Bucknell held American 36.5% shooting. The Eagles’ 50 points were their fewest this season at Bender Arena, where they had been 11-0 prior to Thursday.
• Muscala finished the night 9-for-21 from the floor and 8-for-10 from the foul line. He became the first Bison with 20 or more field-goal attempts since Chris McNaughton shot 21 times against Villanova in 2005-06. Muscala is also the first Bucknell player to attempt 20 field goals and 10 free throws in a game since Boakai Lalugba went 14-for-20 from the field and 5-for-12 from the line at George Washington in 2002-03.
• Bucknell will play Navy for a second straight time on Wednesday at Sojka Pavilion in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
• The last time Bucknell and Navy met in the postseason, the Bison won 87-86 in triple overtime on John Griffin’s half-court buzzer-beater in the 2008 quarterfinals at Alumni Hall.