Nov. 8, 2012
WHAT: Bucknell (0-0) at Purdue (0-0)
WHERE: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Ind.
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m. ET
LIVE WEBCAST: Big Ten Digital Network
TV: Big Ten Network (Tape Delay Saturday 8 p.m.)
RADIO: WVLY 100.9 FM and SportsJuice.com
LIVE STATS: GameTracker
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
With a Win over Purdue, Bucknell Would ...
•... win its season opener for the first time since 2007-08 (Albany).
•... improve to 76-42 all-time in season openers.
•... defeat an active Big Ten team for the first time in program history.
•... become the first Patriot League team to defeat the Boilermakers.
• Bucknell opens its 118th season of basketball on Friday night at Purdue as part of the 2K Sports Classic benefitting Wounded Warrior Project. The Bison and Boilermakers will be meeting for the very first time on the hardwood.
• Bucknell is playing for the first time since falling at Nevada 75-67 in the second round of the 2012 National Invitational Tournament. A year ago the Bison finished 25-10 overall, 12-2 in the Patriot League, and won the conference regular-season title. Bucknell was relegated to the NIT after falling to Lehigh in the Patriot League championship game, but the Bison bounced back with a solid 65-54 win over top-seeded Arizona in the first round of the NIT.
• The Bison were picked to finish second in the Patriot League behind Lehigh in a preseason poll of the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. Senior center Mike Muscala and junior guard Cameron Ayers were both Preseason All-Patriot League selections.
• Bucknell returns four starters and 11 lettermen from last year’s squad. The lone graduated starter is 6’5” guard Bryan Cohen, who won each of the last three Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year awards.
• Bucknell does not have any Indiana natives on its current roster, however the team does have a Midwestern flavor. Junior guard Ben Brackney hails from Lincoln, Ill., which is about a 3-hour drive from West Lafayette. The Bison also have two players from Michigan (Cory Starkey, Chris Hass) and one from Minnesota (Muscala). In addition, head coach Dave Paulsen is a native of Wisconsin and associate head coach Dane Fischer hails from Minnesota.
• Purdue is coming off exhibition victories over Newberry (109-68) and Montevallo (70-61). The Boilermakers finished 22-13 overall and 10-8 in the Big Ten last season. They defeated Saint Mary’s 72-69 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, then lost to Kansas 63-60 in the Round of 32.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Purdue game will not be televised live, however a live video webcast will air on the Big Ten Digital Network (subscription fees apply).
• The broadcast of the game is scheduled to re-air on the Big Ten Network on a tape-delay basis on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. ET.
• The game can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on The Valley (WVLY 100.9 FM), with Doug Birdsong and Terry Conrad describing the action. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off. (Note that Bucknell’s regular flagship station remains Eagle 107 WEGH 107.3 FM. The Purdue game will air on The Valley due to a programming conflict.)
• The audio feed is available online free of charge via BucknellBison.com and SportsJuice.com.
• Live statistics are available on GameTracker via BucknellBison.com.
Bucknell vs. Purdue Series Notes
• Bucknell and Purdue have never before met in men’s basketball.
• This will be Bucknell’s first trip to the state of Indiana since the 2009-10 season. That year the Bison lost at Notre Dame 101-69.
Bucknell vs. The Big Ten
• The Bison are 24-82 (.226) against current members of the Big Ten (24-75 vs. Penn State, 0-1 vs. Michigan State, 0-1 vs. Ohio State, 0-1 vs. Iowa, 0-1 vs. Northwestern, 0-1 vs. Wisconsin, 0-1 vs. Minnesota), however all 24 of the wins vs. Penn State came prior to 1976, before the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten.
• The Bison are 0-17 against active Big Ten members (0-11 vs. Penn State, 0-1 vs. Michigan State, 0-1 vs. Ohio State, 0-1 vs. Iowa, 0-1 vs. Northwestern, 0-1 vs. Wisconsin, 0-1 vs. Minnesota).
• Bucknell’s last meeting against a Big Ten foe came in last year’s season-opener at Minnesota. Bucknell led that game by five points with 5:30 to play, but the Golden Gophers stormed back in the final few minutes and won the game 70-58.
• Bucknell has faced one Big Ten team in the NCAA Tournament, a 71-62 loss to Wisconsin in the second round in 2005.
• The Bison were picked second behind Lehigh in the Patriot League Preseason Poll of head coaches and sports information directors. Bucknell received 88 points and four first-place votes. Voters are not permitted to consider their own teams or players.
• In addition, senior center Mike Muscala and junior guard Cameron Ayers were named to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.
• In addition to the Preseason All-Patriot League honors for Mike Muscala and Cameron Ayers, Bucknell received some other preseason honors in recent weeks.
• Muscala was named to the Lute Olson Preseason All-America Team by CollegeInsider.com. Muscala was one of 25 players cited from all conferences.
• CBSsports.com ranked Muscala No. 80 on its list of top 100 players in America.
• NBCSports.com picked Muscala as a Second Team “Mid-Major” All-American.
• SI.com’s Andy Glockner listed Muscala as one of “10 seniors from outside the football-centric conferences who stand good chances of lighting up your March Madness brackets.”
• Muscala is one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award, honoring senior student-athletes who have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
• CBSSports.com ‘s Jeff Goodman ranked Bryson Johnson 16th on his list of Top 50 Shooters in America.
A Look Back at 2011-12
• After winning the Patriot League title and going to the NCAA Tournament in 2010-11, the Bison were the unanimous pick to repeat as champions last season. Bucknell responded with an outstanding season, albeit one that ended in bittersweet fashion.
• Bucknell won 25 games for the second year in a row, including a 12-2 mark in the Patriot League. The Bison held off Lehigh for the regular-season title and entered the Patriot League Tournament as the No. 1 seed, however Lehigh prevailed 82-77 in a league championship game that came right down to the wire. The Mountain Hawks then went on upset Duke in the NCAA Tournament.
• Despite the disappointment of not going back to the NCAA Tournament, Bucknell made the most of its NIT assignment. Sent west to Arizona for the first round, the Bison led for most of the game, finished on a 9-0 run after Muscala had fouled out, and knocked off the Wildcats 65-54 at the McKale Center. Bucknell played a very good Nevada team in the second round and was in a one-possession game in the final minute before falling 75-67 to the Wolf Pack.
• Bucknell is one of only 21 Division I programs to record 25 or more wins in each of the last two seasons.
• Bucknell is also one of only 19 Division I programs to win better than 80% of their conference games over the last two years. The Bison have won 89.3% of their Patriot League contests (25-3). Only Belmont (35-3, .921) and Long Beach State (29-3, .906) have been better in their league.
• Bucknell will face another extremely difficult non-league schedule this season. The slate includes eight opponents that won 20 or more games last season, including one that won 30; seven that appeared in a postseason tournament, including four NCAA qualifiers; three reigning conference champions; three BCS-conference teams; and our Ivy League foes.
• Among the highlights are the season-opening tilt at Purdue as part of the 2K Sports Classic benefitting Wounded Warrior Project; the renewal of the series with local rival Penn State; a January road trip to Southeastern Conference newcomer Missouri; and home games against mid-major powers George Mason, Kent State and La Salle.
Patriot League Success
• The Bison are 200-94 (.680) 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.
• The Bison won a league-record 23 straight contests against conference foes from Feb. 23, 2005 to Jan. 12, 2007, and they had a 20-game conference winning streak snapped last season. That 20-game streak was the longest in the nation at the time.
• Bucknell had a streak of 35 straight wins at home against conference opponents come to an end in 2008.
• Entering the 2012-13 season, several Bison are chasing significant milestones:
• Mike Muscala needs 574 points to become Bucknell’s all-time leading scorer (Al Leslie had 1,973) and 601 to become the program’s first 2,000-point scorer. He tallied 596 points last season.
• Muscala needs 285 rebounds to join Hal Danzig as the only players in program history with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
• Muscala needs only 10 more made free throws to match Bill Courtney’s program record of 400.
• Muscala needs 87 blocked shots to catch school record-holder Mike Butts, who had 278.
• Bryson Johnson needs 44 3-point field goals to equal Kevin Bettencourt’s Bucknell career record of 294.
• Joe Willman needs 197 points for 1,000 in his career.
• Cameron Ayers needs 355 points for 1,000 in his career.
• Bucknell has never had four 1,000-point scorers on the same roster before, but that could happen this year if Joe Willman and Cameron Ayers can reach that milestone. Mike Muscala and Bryson Johnson both hit the century mark last season.
• Bucknell is coming off its first-ever back-to-back 25-win seasons. The program record for victories in consecutive years is 51, set in 2004-05 (24) and 2005-06 (27).
Patriot League Honors
• Bucknell last season tied a league record with four selections on either the All-Patriot League first or second team. Mike Muscala was a first team choice, while Cameron Ayers, Joe Willman and Bryan Cohen all made second team.
• Dave Paulsen became only the third repeat winner of the Patriot League Coach of the Year Award, and he became just the seventh coach in league history to win that award multiple times.
Who’s Got Next?
• Bucknell plays its home opener on Tuesday night against George Mason at 7 p.m. at Sojka Pavilion.
• The Patriots, who finished 24-9 last season, open the season at home on Friday night against Virginia.
• George Mason defeated Bucknell 61-57 last season at the Patriot Center. The Bison had a shot to tie it in the final seconds but came up empty.