Dec. 21, 2012
WHAT: Bucknell (11-1) at Princeton (4-6)
WHERE: Jadwin Gym, Princeton, N.J.
WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 22, 7 p.m. ET
LIVE WEBCAST: GoPrincetonTigers.com
RADIO: Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM) and SportsJuice.com
LIVE STATS: GoPrincetonTigers.com
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
The Last Meeting
November 25, 2011
Bucknell Opens TicketCity Legends Classic with 62-56 Win over Princeton
Mike Muscala piled up 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Bucknell turned in a stellar defensive effort in a 62-56 victory over Princeton on Friday on the opening night of the TicketCity Legends Classic at Sojka Pavilion. With the help of a big lift from freshman point guard Steven Kaspar in the second half, the Bison won their third straight game to improve to 3-2 on the season.
With a Win over Princeton, Bucknell Would ...
• ... win its seventh game in a row.
• ... improve to 12-1 on the season, which would equal the best 13-game start in program history (the 1900-01 team finished the season 12-1).
• ... improve to 5-1 on the road this season.
• ... defeat the Tigers for the second straight season and improve to 5-10 all-time against them.
• ... win its ninth straight game against the Ivy League.
• Bucknell is off to its best 12-game start since the 1907-08 team finished the year 12-0.
• Saturday’s game at Princeton will be Bucknell’s fourth game in eight days. Since finishing final exams, the Bison defeated La Salle at home last Saturday, won at Saint Francis (Pa.) on Monday, and then held off Marist at home on Wednesday.
• The Princeton game marks the start of a challenging four-game road stretch for the Bison. After Princeton, Bucknell will travel to MAAC favorite Loyola (Md.) on Dec. 28, to Cornell on Jan. 2, and to No. 12 Missouri on Jan. 5. The next time the Bison play at home will be the Patriot League opener against Army on Jan. 12.
• Bucknell in the rankings:
Associated Press Poll: RV
CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll: 5
RPI (from RPIforecast.com): 30
Ken Pomeroy computer ranking: 42
Jeff Sagarin computer ranking: 38
• The Bison have been outstanding defensively this season. Opponents are averaging only 58.2 points per game, and Bucknell has held each of its last 10 foes under 40% shooting from the field.
• Mike Muscala is having a December to remember for the Bison. He started off the month with a monster 29-point, 19-rebound performance at Columbia on Dec. 1, and then followed that up with 27 points and six boards in a win over Kent State. Muscala came back after the exam break and racked up 18 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three blocks against La Salle; he had 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists in limited minutes on Monday at Saint Francis; and then he stuffed the stat sheet with 26 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks, four assists and three steals against Marist on Wednesday.
• Through Thursday’s games there are only two players in all of Division I basketball who are leading his team in points, rebounds, assists and blocked shots. They are Muscala and Princeton’s Ian Hummer, who will do battle on Saturday night at Jadwin Gym.
• Bryson Johnson (11.7), Cameron Ayers (11.2) and Joe Willman (10.8) are also scoring in double figures. Willman had his best game of the year with 18 points and 12 rebounds in the win over La Salle, and he was named Patriot League Player of the Week for the first time in his career on Monday.
• 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 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 was 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.
• Princeton comes in with a 4-6 record after routing Rider at home 62-45 on Thursday. Like Bucknell, the Tigers have a victory over Kent State, and they also topped Lafayette and Buffalo. Princeton averages 58.3 points per game but allows only 57.4.
• Hummer leads Princeton in most statistical categories, including scoring (15.3), rebounding (6.3), assists (4.9) and blocks (1.0). Second-leading scorer Will Barrett (9.2) shoots 50% from 3-point range.
• This will be one of the tallest teams Bucknell faces this season. Princeton has five players on its roster listed at 6’10” or taller, and all five starters are at least 6’5”.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Princeton game will not be televised, however a live video webcast will air at GoPrincetonTigers.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 at GoPrincetonTigers.com.
Bucknell vs. Princeton Series Notes
• The Bison are 4-10 all-time against Princeton, with the most recent meeting a 62-56 Bucknell victory last year in Sojka Pavilion as part of the TicketCity Legends Classic. That snapped a five-game series losing streak and was Bucknell’s first win over Princeton since a 74-62 overtime decision at Jadwin Gym in December 1996, a game in which the Bison rallied from 19 points down. That loss was one of only four all season for the Tigers (the others were Indiana, North Carolina and California).
• These two teams first met on Feb. 12, 1902. Princeton won a 19-18 thriller on its home floor. That was one of only two losses in a 12-2 season for Bucknell.
• The last time Bucknell played in Jadwin Gym was Dec. 9, 1998. That was a rough one for the Bison, who scored six points in the first half and fell 68-27. That was the team’s lowest scoring total since 1951 and remains Bucknell’s lowest mark of the shot clock era.
• In last year’s meeting at Sojka Pavilion, Mike Muscala went 8-for-10 from both the field and foul line and piled up 25 points and 12 rebounds in Bucknell’s 62-56 victory. Steven Kaspar gave the Bison a big lift off the bench with eight points, and the Bison held Princeton to 37.3% shooting. Of the Tigers’ 51 field-goal attempts, 32 came from 3-point distance. Ian Hummer led Princeton with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Bucknell vs. The Ivy League
• Bucknell is 46-44 (.511) all-time against the Ivy League after beating Columbia and Dartmouth earlier this season. The Bison have played 47 games against Cornell, but only 43 combined against the other seven Ivy teams. In addition to its 24-23 record against Cornell, Bucknell is 4-2 against Yale, 3-1 vs. Brown, 3-4 vs. Penn, 4-1 vs. Dartmouth, 4-10 vs. Princeton, 3-2 vs. Columbia and 1-1 vs. Harvard.
• The Bison have won eight straight games against Ivy League foes and are 8-1 against the Ivy League since the start of the 2010-11 season. Bucknell will play Cornell later this season in Ithaca.
Last Time Out
• Marist gave Bucknell all it could handle on Wednesday night at Sojka Pavilion, but the Bison came up with some big stops late in the game and prevailed 71-65. The Red Foxes, who had beaten Vanderbilt by 17 points earlier in the year, led 56-51 with 8:51 to play, but the Bison ended the game on a 20-9 run.
• Mike Muscala had another huge night, collecting 26 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks, four assists and three steals. Muscala went 12-for-13 at the foul line, including two cricital makes to stretch a two-point lead up to four with 45 seconds left. When the Bison were down 56-51, Muscala scored six straight points to give them the lead back.
• Muscala was named ESPN.com’s Player of the Day and Mid-Major Player of the Week after that performance. His ESPN player rating of 55.3 was the highest in the nation among all of Wednesday’s games.
• Joe Willman had another outstanding game for the Bison with 15 points and five rebounds. Like Muscala, Willman also knocked down two free throws to extend a two-point lead in the final minute of the contest.
• Cameron Ayers was Bucknell’s third double-figure scorer with 12. Ayers’ biggest shot of the night was a 3-pointer that gave the Bison a five-point lead with 3:15 to play.
• Surprisingly, Bucknell was outrebounded 25-14 in the first half and 37-35 for the game. Marist came into the game with a -7.9 rebound margin on the season, while Bucknell’s was a league-best +6.5. The Bison had zero offensive rebounds in the first half, but they grabbed six in the second, three of which led to buckets.
• Bucknell held Marist to 36.7% shooting, the 10th straight time its opponent has shot under 40%.
• Bucknell entered the game ranked fourth nationally in fewest turnovers, and it committed only six against Marist.
Starting off on the Right Foot
• Bucknell’s 11-1 start is certainly historic in nature. The last time the Bison were this successful after 12 games was all the way back in 1907-08, when the team finished the season 12-0.
• If Bucknell can defeat Princeton to get to 12-1, it would equal the best 13-game start in program history. The 1900-01 team ended its season with a 12-1 record.
• Several Bison are chasing significant milestones:
• Mike Muscala needs 349 points to become Bucknell’s all-time leading scorer (Al Leslie had 1,973) and 376 to become the program’s first 2,000-point scorer.
• Muscala needs 155 rebounds to join Hal Danzig as the only players in program history with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
• Muscala needs 57 blocked shots to catch school record-holder Mike Butts, who had 278.
• Bryson Johnson needs 17 3-point field goals to equal Kevin Bettencourt’s Bucknell career record of 294.
• Joe Willman needs 67 points for 1,000 in his career.
• Cameron Ayers needs 222 points for 1,000 in his career.
Who’s Got Next?
• After the Princeton game, the Bucknell players will scatter to their hometowns for the Christmas holiday. They will rondez vous on campus on Dec. 26 to begin preparations for the Dec. 28 game at Loyola (Md.).
• Bucknell will be looking to atone for a 72-67 home loss to the Greyhounds last season.
• Loyola (Md.) went on to win the MAAC title last year, and the Greyhounds are the preseason favorites to repeat in 2012-13. Loyola is currently 9-3 overall and 1-1 conference play. After beating Mount St. Mary’s 79-57 on Dec. 15, the Greyhounds are idle until the Bucknell game.