Nov. 21, 2012
WHAT: Bucknell (5-0) at Penn State (2-2)
WHERE: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, Pa.
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 23, 4:30 p.m. ET
LIVE WEBCAST: Big Ten Digital Network
RADIO: Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM) and SportsJuice.com
LIVE STATS: GameTracker
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
With a Win over Penn State, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 6-0 for the first time since 1983-84.
• ... defeat the Nittany Lions for the first time since Jan. 14, 1976 (69-64 at Bucknell).
• ... defeat the Nittany Lions in State College for the first time since Feb. 21, 1968 (74-73 OT).
• ... improve to 2-0 against the Big Ten this season. Bucknell had never beaten a Big Ten team prior to this year’s Purdue game.
• ... improve to 3-0 on the road this season.
•Two Central Pennsylvania programs meet for the 100th time on Friday when Bucknell visits Penn State for a 4:30 p.m. tip at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Bison come in with a 5-0 record, while the Nittany Lions are 2-2.
•The Bison opened the campaign with wins over Purdue and George Mason, and then last weekend they 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.
•Bucknell is receiving votes in both the Associated Press (5) and USA Today (9) top-25 polls this week, and the Bison are ranked 7th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll.
•Through Tuesday’s games, only six teams in the country had five or more wins: Cal State Northridge (6-0), Bucknell (5-0), Illinois (5-0), Indiana (5-0), Iowa (5-0) and Wichita State (5-0).
•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 returned 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. Despite that loss, the experienced Bison start three seniors and two juniors, with another senior and junior among the top reserves.
•Penn State has wins over Saint Francis (Pa.) (65-58) and Providence (55-52 OT) and losses to North Carolina State (72-55) and Akron (85-60) so far. The Nittany Lions got some bad news this week when leading scorer and All-Big Ten performer Tim Frazier (16.3 ppg) suffered a season-ending injury. D.J. Newbill, a Philadelphia native who transferred to Penn State from Southern Miss, is the top remaining scorer at 14.5 ppg. Junior guard Jermaine Marshall averages 10.3 ppg.
How to Get the Game
•The Bucknell-Penn State game will not be televised, however a live video webcast will air on the Big Ten Digital Network (subscription fees 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.
•This is the 100th meeting between Bucknell and Penn State in a series that dates all the way back to 1897. Penn State leads the series 75-24.
•Bucknell has played only three other opponents as many as 100 times: Lehigh (158), Lafayette (151) and Gettysburg (126). Later this season, the Bison will have their 100th meeting with Colgate.
•Penn State brings an 11-game series winning streak into Friday’s clash, although the two teams have not met since 2006-07. That was a wild contest, with the Nittany Lions prevailing 63-60 in overtime on Mike Walker’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.
•Bucknell’s last series win came on Jan. 14, 1976 in Davis Gym. That was a 69-64 victory, paced by 10 points apiece from Scott Hebditch, Tom Muller and Roger Clark.
•The Bison have never won at the Bryce Jordan Center (0-9), and their last victory in State College was a 74-73 overtime decision on Feb. 21, 1968 at Rec Hall. Jim Wherry led Bucknell with 33 points and Craig Greenwood had 15 points and 19 rebounds in that game.
Bucknell-Penn State Series to Continue, Date for Meeting in Lewisburg TBA
•In June, Bucknell and Penn State announced that this would be the start of a three-year series, with the Nittany Lions scheduled to play at Bucknell’s Sojka Pavilion in 2013-14. However that contract is currently is being slightly revised from that original announcement, possibly to include an extra year. Details on future game dates, including the scheduling for the future matchup in Lewisburg, will be announced later.
Bison Go 4-0 at 2K Sports Classic
•In addition to the three victories in Niagara Falls last weekend, Bucknell’s season-opening win over Purdue was also part of the 2K Sports Classic benefitting Wounded Warrior Project, giving the Bison a perfect 4-0 record in the tournament.
•Alabama was officially crowned champion of the 2K Sports Classic after beating Oregon State and Villanova at Madison Square Garden, but the Bison and Crimson Tide both went 4-0 in the event against similar competition. Alabama defeated South Dakota State, West Alabama, Oregon State and Villanova, while Bucknell defeated Purdue, Niagara, New Mexico State and West Alabama.
Looking Back at Last Weekend
•BUCKNELL 88, NIAGARA 71: The Bison trailed by 12 with 2:09 left in the first half, then outscored Niagara 57-28 the rest of the way and won 88-71 ... for the first time since the 2006-07 season vs. Wake Forest, Bucknell had six double-figure scorers ... Mike Muscala had a monster night with 18 points, 16 rebounds, a career-high seven assists and three blocked shots ... Muscala also had zero turnovers and zero fouls in 34 minutes ... also scoring in double figures were Bryson Johnson (15), Joe Willman (12), Cameron Ayers (12), Ryan Frazier (12) and Steven Kaspar (11) ... Frazier and Kaspar both set career highs, giving Bucknell 23 combined points from its two backup point guards ... the Bison shot 64.3% in the second half and 52.5% in the game ... they held Niagara to 23.3% shooting in the second half and 34.9% for the game ... Bucknell committed only five turnovers, while Niagara had just three.
•BUCKNELL 62, NEW MEXICO STATE 49: The Bison held the defending WAC champs to 7-24 shooting (.292) in both halves and kept the Aggies under 50 points for only the second time in the last six years ... Muscala once again paced the Bison with 24 points and nine rebounds ... Johnson hit 3 of 4 from 3-point distance and scored 11 points, while Willman added 10 points, six rebounds and three assists ... Ayers was held to six points, but they came on three straight second-half possessions that stretched a four-point lead up to 10 ... Bucknell outrebounded the bigger Aggies 35-30 ... freshman Dom Hoffman played key minutes down the stretch and finished with four points and five rebounds.
•BUCKNELL 69, WEST ALABAMA 52: It took the Bison about 18 minutes to pull away, but a 19-0 run wrapped around the halftime break was the decisive blow ... Bucknell led by as many as 30 in the second half before clearing the bench ... Muscala led the team with 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting ... Johnson and Ayers scored 11 points each, while Brian Fitzpatrick had eight off the bench ... all 15 players saw action ... freshmen Chris Haas and Matt Banas made their collegiate debuts.
Off on the Right Foot
•Bucknell’s 5-0 start equals the 9th-best in program history, and it is tied for the 2nd-best start in the last 55 years.
Muscala in Rare Air
•Senior center Mike Muscala continues to climb Bucknell’s career statistical charts, and now he is one of only three Division I players in the nation with over 1,000 points, 750 rebounds, 100 assists and 100 blocked shots. The other two are Chris Gaston of Fordham and Keith Clanton of Central Florida.
•Muscala just became the ninth player in program history and the sixth in Patriot League history to record 750 career rebounds.
•He is also just the second in Bucknell history and the fourth in Patriot League history with 200 career blocked shots.
•Several Bison are chasing significant milestones:
•Mike Muscala needs 488 points to become Bucknell’s all-time leading scorer (Al Leslie had 1,973) and 515 to become the program’s first 2,000-point scorer.
•Muscala needs 15 points to become Bucknell’s eighth 1,500-point scorer.
•Muscala needs 230 rebounds to join Hal Danzig as the only players in program history with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
•Muscala needs 77 blocked shots to catch school record-holder Mike Butts, who had 278.
•Bryson Johnson needs 30 3-point field goals to equal Kevin Bettencourt’s Bucknell career record of 294.
•Joe Willman needs 150 points for 1,000 in his career.
•Cameron Ayers needs 299 points for 1,000 in his career.
Who’s Got Next?
•Bucknell returns home on Tuesday night to face Dartmouth at 7 p.m.
•The Bison came from behind to defeat Dartmouth 67-59 in Hanover, N.H., last season.
•The Big Green are 1-1 on the season. They defeated Maine 67-54 and lost to New Hampshire 72-58, both at home. Dartmouth hosts IPFW on Saturday, then comes to Lewisburg on Tuesday for its first road game of the season.