Dec. 27, 2012
WHAT: Bucknell (11-2) at Loyola (Md.) (9-3)
WHERE: Reitz Arena, Baltimore, Md.
WHEN: Friday, Dec. 28, 7:30 p.m. ET
LIVE WEBCAST: LoyolaGreyhounds.com
RADIO: Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM) and SportsJuice.com
LIVE STATS: GameTracker
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
The Last Meeting
December 28, 2011
Loyola Ends Bucknell Men's Basketball's 18-Game Home Win Streak, 72-67
Bucknell junior Mike Muscala scored a game-high 24 points and went over the 1,000-point mark for his career, but Loyola (Md.) spoiled his milestone night and ended Bucknell's 18-game home winning streak with a 72-67 decision Wednesday night at Sojka Pavilion. Bryan Cohen and Cameron Ayers added 11 points each for the Bison, who fell to 8-6 on the year.
With a Win over Loyola, Bucknell Would ...
• ... improve to 12-2 on the season, which would equal the best 14-game start in program history (the 1901-02 and 1983-84 teams were also 12-2).
• ... finish the 2012 calendar year with a 28-6 record.
• ... improve to 5-2 on the road this season.
• ... avenge a home loss to the Greyhounds from last season.
• ... improve to 6-2 all-time against the Greyhounds.
• Bucknell and Loyola, two soon-to-be Patriot League rivals who have a combined record of 20-5, square off Friday night at Reitz Arena. The 11-2 Bison are looking to bounce back from a loss at Princeton last Saturday that snapped a six-game winning streak. Loyola has not played since Dec. 15, a 79-57 rout of Mount St. Mary’s, and the defending MAAC champs enter Friday’s game with a 9-3 record.
• Bucknell is in the midst of a tough four-game road stretch that takes it to Princeton, Loyola, Cornell and No. 7 Missouri.
• Despite the loss at Princeton, Bucknell is still off to its second-best 13-game start in program history. The Bison were 12-1 in 1900-01, and they were also 11-2 in 1983-84, 1927-28 and 1901-02.
• Bucknell in the rankings:
Associated Press Poll: NR
CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll: 6
RPI (from RPIforecast.com): 41
Ken Pomeroy computer ranking: 55
Jeff Sagarin computer ranking: 54
• The Bison have been outstanding defensively this season. Opponents are averaging only 59.8 points per game, and Bucknell had held 10 straight foes under 40% shooting from the field until Princeton ended that streak last time out.
• 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 at Saint Francis; he stuffed the stat sheet with 26 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks, four assists and three steals against Marist; and had another double-double with 17 points and 11 boards at Princeton.
• 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 just squared off last weekend at Jadwin Gym.
• Bryson Johnson (11.5), Cameron Ayers (11.4) and Joe Willman (11.2) 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 last week.
• 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.
• Loyola has several key players back from last year’s squad that finished 24-9, won the MAAC title and went to the NCAA Tournament. The Greyhounds have won two straight to get to 9-3 on the season. Their lone losses came against Washington, Florida Gulf Coast and Niagara. The Purple Eagles are the only common opponent between Bucknell and Loyola. The Bison won at Niagara 88-71 on Nov. 16, while Loyola lost at home to Niagara 62-61 on Dec. 5, its only home loss of the season.
• Dylon Cormier leads Loyola in scoring at 17.1 ppg, while Erik Etherly scores 15.7 ppg and leads the team in rebounding at 7.4 rpg. Robert Olson is the team’s top 3-point shooter and also scores in double figures at 12.0 ppg.
• Loyola and Boston University will be joining the Patriot League in 2013-14.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Loyola game will not be televised, however a live video webcast will air at LoyolaGreyhounds.com.
• 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. Loyola
• The Bison and Greyhounds have met seven times previously, with Bucknell leading 5-2 in the series. Bucknell won the first four, then the two teams have traded victories over the last three seasons.
• The first series meeting came on Jan. 7, 1987 in Lewisburg. The Bison prevailed that day 72-70. A year later Bucknell won 80-60 on Loyola’s home floor.
• Bucknell and Loyola played twice within the 1992-93 season. The Bison won 75-59 in Baltimore, and in late February at Davis Gym the Bison rolled to a 116-85 victory. In the latter game the Bison produced their second-highest point total in program history, led by an incredible 9-for-10 3-point shooting performance by Hall-of-Famer Mike Bright.
• Last season at Sojka Pavilion, Loyola handed the Bison a rare home loss, 72-67 behind 18 points from Erik Etherly and 14 each from Dylon Cormier and Justin Drummond. Mike Muscala scored 24 points, including the 1,000th point of his career, but the Bison saw their 18-game home winning streak come to an end. Bucknell led 64-61 with four minutes to play, but the Greyhounds ended the game on an 11-3 run.
• In the last meeting at Reitz Arena in 2010-11, Bucknell’s power forward combo of Joe Willman and G.W. Boon accounted for 32 points to lead the Bison to a 70-59 victory. With Willman in quick foul trouble, Boon came off the bench and scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half. Willman then came back and scored all 16 of his points in the second half. Bryson Johnson added 13 for the Bison, while Shane Walker led the Greyhounds with 14 points and nine rebounds.
• Remarkably, this will be the fourth straight year that Bucknell and Loyola have played on Dec. 28.
Bucknell vs. The MAAC
• Bucknell is 49-49 (.500) all-time against the teams that currently comprise the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. In addition to their 5-2 record against Loyola, the Bison are 30-24 against Rider, 5-3 vs. Marist, 4-5 vs. Niagara, 2-2 vs. Manhattan, 2-4 vs. Iona, 1-0 vs. St. Peter’s, 0-6 vs. Canisius, 0-2 vs. Fairfield and 0-1 vs. Siena.
• The Bison are 2-0 against the MAAC this season, with wins coming against Niagara and Marist.
Last Time Out
• Bucknell suffered just its second loss of the season last Saturday at Princeton, falling 79-67 to the hot-shooting Tigers. The setback ended Bucknell’s six-game overall winning streak and its eight-game winning streak against Ivy League foes.
• Mike Muscala and Joe Willman both had big nights in the frontcourt for the Bison. Muscala drew double-teams most of the game but still finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Willman was terrific, hitting 7 of 10 shots en route to 15 points and six boards.
• Cameron Ayers also scored in double figures for the Bison with 14 points, while Bryson Johnson hit three more 3-pointers and scored nine points.
• Princeton hit 11 3-pointers in 25 attempts, compared to just five treys for the Bison. The Tigers shot 51.0% overall, ending Bucknell’s run of 10 straight games holding opponents under 40%. Princeton also got it done at the foul line, connecting on 16 of 19, including 13 in a row down the stretch to ice the game.
• Bucknell shot 46.9% from the floor but an uncharacteristic 69.6% (16-23) from the foul line.
• The Bison were outrebounded (31-27) for the second straight game, marking the first time all year it has come up short in the rebounds column in back-to-back games.
• Bucknell entered the game ranked fourth nationally in fewest turnovers, and it committed only seven against Princeton, but the Tigers had only four.
Starting off on the Right Foot
• Bucknell’s 11-2 start is certainly historic in nature. The only time Bucknell had a better record after 13 games was 1900-01, when the team finished the season 12-1. Bucknell was also 11-2 in 1983-84, 1927-28 and 1901-02.
• If Bucknell can defeat Loyola to get to 12-2, it would equal the best 14-game start in program history. The 1901-02 and 1983-04 teams were also 12-2.
• Several Bison are chasing significant milestones:
• Mike Muscala needs 332 points to become Bucknell’s all-time leading scorer (Al Leslie had 1,973) and 359 to become the program’s first 2,000-point scorer.
• Muscala needs 144 rebounds to join Hal Danzig as the only players in program history with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
• Muscala needs 54 blocked shots to catch school record-holder Mike Butts, who had 278.
• Bryson Johnson needs 14 3-point field goals to equal Kevin Bettencourt’s Bucknell career record of 294.
• Joe Willman needs 52 points for 1,000 in his career.
• Cameron Ayers needs 207 points for 1,000 in his career.
Who’s Got Next?
• This will be Bucknell’s last game in the 2012 calendar year. Following the Loyola contest, the Bison head to Cornell on Jan. 2.
• Cornell, coached by former Bison standout Bill Courtney, is 4-8 heading into a Friday night road game at Saint Francis (Pa.). The Big Red also visit Binghamton before hosting the Bison.
• Bucknell is 24-23 all-time against Cornell, including a 63-60 home victory last season.