Nov. 9, 2011
WHAT: Bucknell (0-0) at Minnesota (0-0)
WHERE: Williams Arena, Minneapolis, Minn.
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 11, 8 p.m. ET
LIVE WEBCAST: GopherSports.com
RADIO: Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM) and SportsJuice.com
TV: Big Ten Network (tape-delay)
LIVE STATS: GameTracker
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
With a Win over Minnesota, Bucknell Would ...
•... win its season opener for the first time since 2007-08 (Albany).
•... improve to 76-41 all-time in season openers.
•... extend its road winning streak to four dating back to last season.
•... defeat an active Big Ten team for the first time in program history.
•... become the first active Patriot League team to defeat the Golden Gophers.
• Bucknell and Minnesota, two of the three oldest Division I programs (along with Yale), square off for the very first time on Friday night in the season openers for both teams.
• Bucknell is playing for the first time since being knocked out of the 2011 NCAA Tournament by eventual-national champion Connecticut. The Bison finished 25-9 and won the Patriot League championship a year ago.
• The Bison were unanimously picked as the preseason favorite in the Patriot League by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.
• Bucknell returns four starters and 10 lettermen from last year’s Patriot League championship squad.
• The Minnesota game respresents a homecoming for two members of the Bison program. Mike Muscala, the reigning Patriot League Player of the Year, is a Roseville native and a graduate of Roseville High School. Associate head coach Dane Fischer is a Rochester native who attended John Marshall High School.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Minnesota game will not be televised live, however a live video webcast will air at GopherSports.com (subscription fees apply).
• The broadcast of the game is scheduled to re-air on the Big Ten Network on a tape-delay basis on Monday, Nov. 14 at 12:30 p.m.
• 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.
Bucknell vs. Minnesota Series Notes
• Bucknell and Minnesota have never before met in men’s basketball.
• This will also be Bucknell’s very first road trip to the state of Minnesota.
Nation’s Two Oldest Division I Programs Face Off
• The oldest Division I men’s college basketball programs are Bucknell, Minnesota and Yale. All three programs started competition in 1895-96.
• Bucknell has compiled an all-time record of 1271-1140-1 (.527) in 116 seasons.
Bucknell vs. The Big Ten
• The Bison are 24-80 (.231) 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), however all 24 of the wins vs. Penn State came prior to 1976, before the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten.
• The Bison are 0-16 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).
• Bucknell’s last meeting against a Big Ten foe came at Penn State on Nov. 21, 2006. The Bison fell 63-60 in overtime.
• 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 first in the Patriot League Preseason Poll of head coaches and sports information directors. Bucknell received the maximum 98 points and 14 first-place votes, as voters are not permitted to consider their own teams or players.
• In addition, junior center Mike Muscala was named to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team.
Preseason Honors for Muscala
• In addition to his being named to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team, junior center Mike Muscala also garnered some other preseason recognition.
• Muscala was named to the Lou Henson Preseason All-America Team. Named in honor of the legendary coach at Illinois and New Mexico State, the Lou Henson Award is presented annually to the top Mid-Major player in Division I college basketball. Muscala was one of 25 players cited.
• CBSsports.com listed Muscala as one of 15 “Under-the-Radar” players in Division I basketball.
A Look Back at 2010-11
• The Bison rebounded from a slow start and enjoyed one of the finest seasons in program history in 2010-11. After a 2-6 start, Bucknell went 23-3 after Dec. 1 and finished the season with a 25-9 record. The 25 wins were second-most in program history, behind only the 27 wins in 2005-06.
• Bucknell went 13-1 in Patriot League play and rolled to the regular-season title and No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament. In a format in which every tournament game is played at the home of the higher-seeded team, the Bison earned the right to play the entire tournament on their home floor, and they swept Army, Lehigh and Lafayette to claim the title.
• Bucknell was seeded 14th in the NCAA Tournament, drawing third-seeded and recent Big East champion Connecticut. The Bison ran into arguably the hottest team in the nation at the time, and they fell 81-52 to the Huskies, who would soon win the national title.
• Bucknell’s best non-conference win was a dramatic 62-61 victory at Richmond. Mike Muscala hit a turnaround jumper at the buzzer after a length-of-the-floor inbounds pass from Joe Willman. The Spiders ended up 29-8 after advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.
• Bucknell lost three players to graduation following the 2010-11 championship season:
• Darryl Shazier: First Team All-Patriot League pick and four-year starting point guard ... last year had 185 assists and only 50 turnovers ... ranked No. 2 in nation in assist-to-turnover ratio, behind only Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor ... also averaged 8.3 ppg and 3.6 rpg.
• G.W. Boon: Patriot League’s top “sixth man” and Bucknell’s third-leading scorer at 8.7 ppg ... played both small and power forward at 6’3” ... hit 41 3FGs last season and 160 in career.
• Stephen Tyree: Returned for fifth season in 2010-11 after missing junior year with an ACL tear, but he tore the same ACL in preseason practice ... elected not to have surgery and played in 11 games off the bench ... one of team’s vocal and emotional leaders ... was Patriot League Defensive Player of Year as a sophomore.
• Bucknell returns four starters and 10 lettermen from last season’s roster:
• Returning Starters: guard Bryson Johnson (11.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 99 3FGs, 45.6 3FG%, 2011 First Team All-Patriot League), guard Bryan Cohen (7.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2010 and 2011 Patriot League Defensive Player of Year), forward Joe Willman (7.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg), center Mike Muscala (14.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 67 blocks, 2011 Patriot League Player of Year).
• Returning Rotation Players: guard Cameron Ayers (7.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2011 Patriot League All-Rooke Team), forward/center Enoch Andoh (2.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg), guard Ryan Hill (0.8 ppg, 0.7 rpg), forward Colin Klebon (1.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg).
• Others: guard Ben Brackney (1.5 ppg), center Probese Leo (0.3 ppg).
• Bucknell will have four new players available in 2011-12, one transfer and three true freshmen:
• Brian Fitzpatrick: Junior forward is eligible this season ... sat out 2010-11 campaign after transferring from Penn ... played in 17 games off the bench for the Quakers in 2009-10.
• Steven Kaspar: Point guard from the Memphis area ... finalist for Mr. Basketball in the state of Tennessee after leading Evangelical Christian to the Class 2-A state title ... likely to see action off the bench.
• Joshea Singleton: Averaged better than 16.0 ppg last season for Kestrel Heights School in Durham, N.C. ... athletic 6’3” shooting guard.
• Cory Starkey: Class A All-State honoree from Petoskey (Mich.) High School ... averaged over 20 ppg as a junior and senior.
• The Bison have an extremely difficult non-conference schedule in 2011-12. They will face seven teams that played in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, each of which won at least 20 games last season.
• When Bucknell opened up last season against Villanova and Marquette, it was the first time in program history that it began a campaign with back-to-back games against major conference opponents. The Bison are doing it again this year, with a trip to Vanderbilt looming on Tuesday after the Minnesota game.
Patriot League Success
• The Bison are 188-92 (.671) in Patriot League regular-season games, the best record of any league team. They have finished at least .500 in PL play in 17 of 21 seasons.
• 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.
2011 All-Patriot League Notes
• Mike Muscala became just the third sophomore to win Patriot League Player of the Year honors. The other two were Tim Szatko of Holy Cross in 2001 and Adonal Foyle of Colgate in 1996.
• Muscala is Bucknell's fourth Player of the Year, joining Patrick King in 1992, Mike Bright in 1993 and Charles Lee in 2006.
• Bryan Cohen became the first two-time winner of the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Award. Cohen also won it in 2010. He is the fourth Bucknell player to win the award in its seven-year history. Abe Badmus earned the inaugural award in 2005, Stephen Tyree won it as a sophomore in 2008, and Cohen has won it each of the last two seasons.
• Dating back to Bucknell’s days in the East Coast Conference, Bucknell has now claimed a first team all-conference player in 25 of the last 28 seasons. With Muscala and Darryl Shazier earning first team honors in 2011, the Bison had two first team selections for the first time since 2006, when Lee and Chris McNaughton were so honored.
• Bucknell has now had 41 All-Patriot League players (26 first team, 15 second team). That is the most in the league, just ahead of Holy Cross’ 36.
• Bucknell has now claimed 14 all-rookie selections since joining the Patriot League in 1990-91, and the Bison have now had an all-rookie pick in nine of the last 10 years after Cameron Ayers made the team this season.
• Dave Paulsen’s selection as Patriot League Coach of the Year gives Bucknell five such honorees. Charlie Woollum captured the award in 1993, and Pat Flannery won it in 1995, 1997 and 2006.
• Bucknell once again did well to protect its home floor in 2010-11. The Bison won their final 13 home games in a row and went 14-1 at Sojka Pavilion last season. The only home loss was a 77-73 setback to Wagner on Nov. 29.
• The 13-game home winning streak is the 17th-longest in Division I basketball entering the 2011-12 season.
• All-time at Sojka Pavilion, Bucknell is 84-29 (.743) overall and 61-12 (.847) against Patriot League opponents.
Muscala Hosts a Block Party
• Mike Muscala set a Bucknell rookie record with 65 blocked shots in 2009-10, becoming the first Bucknell player ever to win a Patriot League blocks title. He has surpassed that total with 67 more blocks last year, including a school record-tying eight at Lehigh, and he now ranks third on Bucknell’s season and career charts.
Bison Break Free-throw Mark
• Bucknell’s 78.83% free-throw accuracy was not only third-best in the nation last season, but it set a new school record.
From Way Downtown
• Guard Bryson Johnson set a Bucknell freshman record with 67 3-pointers in 2009-10, and then last year he blew that total out of the water with 99 treys, a new Bucknell single-season record.
• Only halfway through his college career, Johnson already ranks sixth on Bucknell’s career 3FG list.
• Johnson last year ranked No. 7 nationally in 3-point field goal percentage (.456) and No. 18 in 3-pointers made (99).
• Bucknell also broke the team mark with 234 treys last season, surpassing the previous record of 218, set in 2004-05.
• The NCAA instituted the 3-point shot in 1986-87, and since then Bucknell has played 742 games.
•The Bison have failed to make at least one 3-pointer in only five of those 742 games (1/30/89 at Cornell, 1/16/93 vs. Lafayette, 2/5/00 at Navy, 12/22/00 at Penn State and 2/29/04 at Colgate).
• Bucknell has converted a trifecta in 223 straight games.
The Bucknell basketball program has also enjoyed tremendous success in the classroom in recent years. Among the highlights:
• Mike Muscala was named to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-District Team. Muscala is a management major with a 3.35 cumulative GPA. He is the 15th men’s basketball player to earn Academic All-District honors.
• Chris McNaughton in 2007 became the first player in league history to win Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors three times. The electrical engineering major who was also a three-time first-team all-league player, was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Team in 2006.
• In the Patriot League’s 21-year history, the league’s men’s basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year has come from Bucknell nine times.
• Bucknell drew national acclaim at the 2006 NCAA Tournament for its perfect 100-percent men’s basketball graduation rate.
• The Bison men’s basketball program easily met the national standard in the NCAA’s Academic Performance Rate (APR) study, released last spring. The men’s basketball APR is 994 (out of 1,000), which is in the top 10% nationally and earned the Bison program an NCAA APR Public Recognition Award.
• Bucknell Athletics as a whole ranks No. 4 among all Division I schools in student-athlete graduation rates, factoring a four-class average from those who entered between 2001-02 and 2004-05. The men’s basketball team has a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 89 percent, one of the highest in the nation.
• Bucknell has claimed 120 national Academic All-Americans since 1970, including eight from men’s basketball. The total of 120 ranks fifth among all Division I institutions, trailing only Nebraska, Notre Dame, Penn State and Stanford.
• Following the Minnesota game, the Bison will head to Nashville on Tuesday night for a date with No. 7 Vanderbilt. The contest is part of the TicketCity Legends Classic.