Dec. 3, 2012
WHAT: Kent State (5-3) at Bucknell (7-1)
WHERE: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pa.
WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 7 p.m. ET
PROMOTIONS: Purdy Insurance Feed the Fan (free pizza at halftime!), BJ's $10K Shot
LIVE WEBCAST: Bison Vision
RADIO: Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM) and SportsJuice.com
LIVE STATS: GameTracker
TICKETS: Buy online or call 570-577-1000
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
With a Win over Kent State, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 8-1 for the first time since 2005-06.
• ... win its last game before the final-exam break for the third straight year.
• ... defeat a team from the Mid-American Conference for the first time since 2006-07 (Northern Illinois).
• ... improve to 3-0 at home this season.
• ... improve to 101-32 all-time at Sojka Pavilion.
About the Game
• Coming off a rousing comeback from 17 points down to defeat Columbia on Saturday night, Bucknell hosts Mid-American Conference power Kent State on Tuesday in the last game before the final-exam break. The Bison bring a 7-1 record into its first-ever meeting with Kent State, while the Golden Flashes come in at 5-3.
• Bucknell has won at least seven of its first eight games for just the fourth time since 1940. The Bison are one of 62 Division I teams (out of 347) with zero or one loss through Sunday’s games.
• Mike Muscala is coming off a monster 29-point, 19-rebound performance at Columbia. He leads the Bison in most statistical categories, including scoring (17.8), rebounding (12.1), blocks (2.3) and assists (2.0) through eight games. Muscala ranks fourth nationally in rebounding and second in the nation in double-doubles with six. Muscala is the only Division I player in the nation averaging at least 15 points and 12 rebounds per game.
• Bryson Johnson (12.9) and Cameron Ayers (11.4) are also scoring in double figures, while Joe Willman is close at 9.6 ppg.
• 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 on Nov. 23.
• 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.
• Kent State has been the MAC’s most successful team in recent years. The Golden Flashes have won 20 or more games in 13 of the last 14 seasons, and they have played in the postseason (NCAA, NIT or CIT) in 13 of the last 14 years. Last year Kent State finished 21-12 and were invited to the CIT.
• Like Bucknell, Kent State has a road win over a Big Ten team to its credit this season. The Golden Flashes won at Nebraska 74-60 on Nov. 24. They also have wins over Drexel (OT), Chicago State, Bethune-Cookman and Youngstown State (OT), while the losses have come against Temple, Valparaiso (OT) and Princeton. On Saturday, Kent State fell 62-50 at home against Princeton.
• Chris Evans, a 6’8” forward, leads Kent State in scoring (18.1) and rebounding (7.6). Randal Holt is the only other double-digit scorer at 15.1 ppg, as KSU gets 45.5% of its scoring from its two senior starters. Kent State is a prolific offensive rebounding team. The Golden Flashes average 14 offensive boards per game.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Kent State game will not be televised, however a live video webcast will air on Bison Vision via BucknellBison.com (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.
Bucknell vs. Kent State and the Mid-American Conference
• This will be the very first meeting between Bucknell and Kent State in men’s basketball.
• Bucknell has not had much experience — or success — against the Mid-American Conference through the years. The Bison are 2-15 against the 12 active members of the MAC, although their 1-8 record against Buffalo all came prior to 1965, before the Bulls joined the MAC.
• Bucknell’s only other MAC win came in 2006-07, a 77-59 victory over Northern Illinois in the consolation game of the Pepsi-Marist Classic. The Bison are 1-0 against Northern Illinois, 0-1 against Eastern Michigan and 0-2 against Ball State, Akron and Ohio.
Last Time Out
• Bucknell dug itself quite a hole in the first half, but came all the way back from 17 points down to defeat Columbia 65-57 at raucous Levien Gym on Saturday night. The Lions scored 21 straight points to take a 23-6 lead, and they were still up by 17 at 28-11 with 6:35 left in the half. Bucknell chiseled that lead down to seven by halftime, then outscored Columbia 40-25 in the second half.
• Senior Mike Muscala had one of his best games in a Bucknell uniform in the victory. Muscala amassed 29 points and a career-high 19 rebounds. He tallied 19 points and 11 boards in the second half alone, and his 19-foot jumper with 3:35 remaining gave Bucknell the lead for good.
• Columbia scored 21 of its 57 points in that one seven-minute stretch early in the game. The Lions hit 9 of 12 shots (.750) from the floor in those seven minutes, but only 10 of 45 (.222) in the other 33 minutes. Columbia shot 33.3% for the game and just 23.3% (7-30) in the second half. Meanwhile, Bucknell shot 51.7% in the second half after a 29.4% showing in the first half. The Bison missed 13 straight shots in that 21-0 run by Columbia.
• Joe Willman had another strong game with 13 points, and he came down with a big offensive rebound after a missed free throwwith 20 seconds to play and Bucknell leading by five.
• Bucknell got some big bench minutes from freshmen Ryan Frazier and Dom Hoffman. Frazier played a career-high 26 minutes and handled the point guard duties well in crunch time. Frazier made two key defensive plays to force Columbia into bad shots late in the game, and he committed only one turnover in those 26 minutes. Hoffman had two points and five rebounds in 17 minutes, with three of his rebounds coming on the offensive glass.
• The 17-point deficit was the largest Bucknell has overcome in a victory since the 2008 Patriot League quarterfinals at Navy. In that game, the Bison trailed by 17 (45-28) with 15:43 left in regulation, and they eventually won it 87-86 in triple-overtime on John Griffin’s miracle shot from just inside halfcourt at the final buzzer.
• Bucknell outrebounded Columbia 41-36.
• The Bison committed a season-low four turnovers in the game.
• Bucknell has now won eight straight games against Ivy League foes.
More on Muscala’s Night at Columbia
• Mike Muscala’s 19 rebounds Saturday at Columbia were the most by a Bucknell player since Eric Hegedus had 20 against Delaware on Feb. 16, 1985. Those are the two highest rebounding totals by a Bison in the last 36 years.
• The 19 rebounds are the fifth-most among all Division I players so far this season. The only players with more are Jamelle Hagins of Delaware (23 vs. Lafayette), Cole Dickerson of San Francisco (20 vs. Montana), O.D. Anosike of Siena (20 vs. Maine) and Tashawn Thomas of Houston (20 vs. Florida A&M).
• Following the performance, Muscala earned Patriot League Player of the Week and Bison Athlete of the Week honors.
• Muscala also earned a mention in Seth Davis’ column on SI.com. Davis picked Muscala as his “Under the Radar Player of the Week.”
Muscala Hits 1,500/800 Milestone
• Mike Muscala recorded his 800th career rebound on Saturday at Columbia, and he is now just the second player in Patriot League history to log 1,500 points and 800 rebounds. The other is former Colgate star Adonal Foyle, who went on to have a long career in the NBA.
• Muscala is just the third Bison to achieve the 1,500/800 milestone. The others are in the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame: Bob Barry (1,809 points, 986 rebounds) and Mike Bright (1,670 points, 834 rebounds).
• Muscala is one of only three active 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 has become the eighth player in program history and the third in Patriot League history to record 800 career rebounds.
• He is also just the second in Bucknell history and the fourth in Patriot League history with 200 career blocked shots.
Muscala Top-5 nationally in rebounding, Double-Doubles
• Mike Muscala moved up to fourth nationally in rebounding after grabbing 19 against Columbia.
• Muscala also ranks second nationally in double-doubles.
NCAA Rebounding Leaders
1. Cole Dickerson, San Francisco, 15.0
2. O.D. Anosike, Siena, 13.3
3. Jamelle Hagins, Delaware, 12.5
4. Mike Muscala, Bucknell, 12.1
5. Jordan Reves, Texas-Arlington, 11.8
NCAA Double-Doubles Leaders
1. O.D. Anosike, Siena, 8
2. Mike Muscala, Bucknell, 6
Jack Cooley, Notre Dame, 6
Josh Davis, Tulane, 6
5. Jamelle Higgins, Delaware, 5
Michael Kessens, Longwood, 5
Mason Plumlee, Duke, 5
Protecting the Rock
• Bucknell committed only four turnovers in the Columbia game, and the Bison are averaging only 9.6 turnovers per game, the fifth-best figure in the nation.
NCAA Leaders, Fewest Turnovers Per Game
1. Cal Poly, 8.6
2. Pittsburgh, 9.1
3. Clemson, 9.3
4. Ohio State, 9.3
5. Bucknell, 9.6
• Several Bison are chasing significant milestones:
• Mike Muscala needs 432 points to become Bucknell’s all-time leading scorer (Al Leslie had 1,973) and 459 to become the program’s first 2,000-point scorer.
• Muscala needs 188 rebounds to join Hal Danzig as the only players in program history with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
• Muscala needs 69 blocked shots to catch school record-holder Mike Butts, who had 278.
• Bryson Johnson needs 24 3-point field goals to equal Kevin Bettencourt’s Bucknell career record of 294.
• Joe Willman needs 120 points for 1,000 in his career.
• Cameron Ayers needs 264 points for 1,000 in his career.
Who’s Got Next?
• The Kent State game will be Bucknell’s last for 11 days, as the team breaks for final exams.
• The schedule resumes on Dec. 15 when the Bison host La Salle at 7 p.m. That will be a doubleheader with the Bison women, who host Longwood at 4 p.m. that day.
• The Bison will be looking to avenge their most one-sided loss of last season. La Salle drubbed Bucknell 78-52 in Philadelphia on Dec. 3, 2011.
• The Explorers are 4-1 thus far, including a home win over Villanova. La Salle plays Penn State and Northeastern before coming to Lewisburg.