Jan. 2, 2013
Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 1.2.13
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- With just a handful of games left before the Patriot League schedule tips off next weekend, the eight squads will aim to begin playing their best ball to ring in the New Year.
Bucknell has played at a high level all season, and a 66-46 win over Loyola University Maryland on Friday made the Bison just the third team in Patriot League history with 12 regular-season non-League wins. The Bison can become the first to get lucky No. 13 when they visit Cornell on Wednesday.
Three other teams are in action on Wednesday as Colgate goes to Columbia, Navy visits IPFW and Lafayette hosts NJIT. The Raiders are going for a third straight win after beating Binghamton and New Hampshire at home over the weekend, with Murphy Burnatowksi earning the Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week award for averaging 27.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in the two wins.
On Thursday, American returns home and looks to break a four-game losing skid when it takes on Maryland Eastern Shore. Holy Cross puts its perfect home mark up against Yale on Friday, while Army tries to remain perfect at home on Saturday when it welcomes Columbia.
Saturday's slate will feature a pair of marquee nationally-televised games as Bucknell goes to No. 12 Missouri on Fox Sports Midwest at 4 p.m. and Lehigh visits VCU on NBC Sports Network at 5 p.m.
Patriot League Anaconda Weekly Awards (Dec. 24-30)
Anaconda Player of the Week
MURPHY BURNATOWSKI, COLGATE Sr., F, 6-7, 230; Waterloo, Ont./National Elite Development Academy
Burnatowski averaged 27.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks as Colgate snapped a six-game losing skid with two victories at home last week. He put up 23 points in only 24 minutes of the Raiders' 74-47 blowout of Binghamton on Friday, then totaled nearly half of Colgate's points with 31 in a 65-63 win over New Hampshire on Sunday. He also added six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals as the Raiders pulled out the win in the final seconds. Burnatowksi hit 19-of-36 shots from the field (52.8%) in the two games and made 7-of-17 from three-point range. He is named Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week for the first time, and is the first Colgate player to win it since Mike Venezia to open the 2011-12 season.
Anaconda Rookie of the Week
TILMAN DUNBAR, NAVY Fr., G, 5-10, 153; Woodbridge, Va./Paul VI Catholic
Dunbar earns the Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week honor for the fourth straight time after putting up 17 points, five assists and four rebounds in a 71-61 loss to Albany on Friday. It was his second-highest scoring effort and he led the Mids in assists for the seventh straight game while going without a turnover for the first time in his career. Dunbar has scored in double figures in five straight games, and is averaging 16.0 points and 5.8 assists in that span. He became just the fifth Navy freshman and first since Kaleo Kina in 2006 with 150 points and 75 assists in a season. Dunbar is in the top 40 nationally and second among all freshmen with 5.5 assists per game for the season, and is one of six freshmen in the country averaging 11.0 points and 5.0 assists per game. Dunbar's four consecutive Rookie of the Week awards are the most since Navy's J.J. Avila claimed five in a row in 2010-11.
MIKE MUSCALA, BUCKNELL Sr., C, 6-11, 239, Roseville, Minn./Roseville
Muscala had 29 points on 13-of-21 shooting and eight rebounds in a 66-46 win at Loyola University Maryland on Friday.
C.J. McCOLLUM, LEHIGH Sr., G, 6-3, 200, Canton, Ohio/Glen Oak
McCollum had 34 points while shooting 9-of-18 from the field, 6-of-10 from three-point range and 10-of-11 at the foul line in an 80-79 loss to Bryant on Saturday.
Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*Bucknell tries to become the first team in Patriot League history to win 13 non-League regular-season games when it visits Cornell Wednesday.
*At 12-2, the Bison have matched their best 14-game record in school history.
*Bucknell's Mike Muscala is at No. 1 in player efficiency rating on ESPN.com.
*He is one of two players in Division I in the top 30 in scoring and top 15 in rebounding, joining Duke's Mason Plumlee.
*Lehigh's C.J. McCollum leads the nation in scoring at 25.7 points per game.
*Patriot League teams are 55-53 overall, and 50-33 against DI teams outside of the BCS leagues.
*The Patriot League is a combined 43-22 against regional conferences including the Atlantic 10, America East, CAA, Ivy League, MAAC, NEC and MEAC.
*The record is only 4-6 against the Ivy League, but the conferences will face off eight times over the next week.
*Patriot League teams are 29-9 at home, with Bucknell, Army and Holy Cross still unbeaten on their own court.
*Bucknell sits at No. 4 and Lehigh is No. 6 in this week's College Insider.com Mid-Major top 25.
*Lehigh has been in the top 10 all season, while Bucknell has been there since its season-opening win at Purdue on Nov. 9.
*Lehigh leads the nation in three-point field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage.
Patriot League Notebook
Bucknell Goes for 13th Non-League Victory Wednesday
Bucknell became just the third team in Patriot League history with 12 non-League wins in the regular season when it beat Loyola (Md.) 66-46 on Friday. The Bison join Fordham (1990-91) and Lehigh (2011-12) in the exclusive group and, at 12-2, have equaled the 1901-02 and 1983-84 teams for best 14-game start in program history. Bucknell will take its shot at becoming the first team in League history with 13 regular-season non-League wins when it visits Cornell on Wednesday.
Bison, Mountain Hawks Continue to Shine in Mid-Major Ranks
Bucknell and Lehigh swapped places in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major top 25 on Monday. The Bison moved up two spots to No. 4, while the Mountain Hawks dropped two places to No. 6 after a home loss against Bryant on Saturday. The Bison have been in the top 10 since beating Purdue to open the season on Nov. 9, and also garnered a vote in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll this week. The Mountain Hawks, who had their best 11-game record (9-2) since 1925-26 before losing on Saturday, have been no lower than No. 8 in the ranking all season.
Challenges Ahead for Top Two Before Patriot League Play
Bucknell and Lehigh each have a tough road test remaining before the start of Patriot League action as they take on marquee opponents in nationally-televised games on Saturday. The Bison head to No. 12 Missouri in a game shown on Fox Sports Midwest at 4 p.m., while the Mountain Hawks are at VCU in a contest televised on NBC Sports Network at 5 p.m.
Patriot/Ivy Series to Be Decided in Coming Week
The Patriot League has fared quite well against regional conferences all season, with a 43-22 record against foes from the Atlantic 10, America East, CAA, Ivy League, MAAC, NEC and MEAC. The only sub .500 mark against any of those leagues comes versus the Ivy League, but that can change with nine games between the conferences over the next week. It starts tonight as Bucknell goes to Cornell and Colgate is at Columbia, and continues with Holy Cross hosting Yale on Friday, two games on Saturday and three on Tuesday. Patriot League teams are 4-6 against their Ivy League brethren this season, while holding decisive edges in completed series against the NEC (17-9), America East (8-3) and MAAC (6-1). Patriot League teams are 50-33 against Division I teams outside of the "Big-Six" conferences.
Bucknell's Muscala Leads Nation in Efficiency Rating
Bucknell senior center Mike Muscala is putting up an oustanding all-around year, with 19.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 blocks per game coupled with good shooting from the field (54%) and foul line (81%). The packed stat sheet has Muscala at No. 1 in the nation in player efficiency rating from John Hollinger on ESPN.com. Muscala is also in the top five in the "value-add" ranking from John Pudner at Breitbart.com. In the more traditional statistics, Muscala joins Duke's Mason Plumlee, a leading candidate for national player of the year honors, as the only two players in the country ranked in the top 30 nationally in scoring and the top 15 in rebounding. Muscala stands second in League history in rebounding and blocked shots, and moved into 10th in League history in points on Friday.
Lehigh's McCollum Leads Division I in Scoring
Lehigh senior guard C.J. McCollum scored 34 points in a loss to Bryant on Saturday, and in the process jumped back to the top spot in Division I with 25.7 points per game for the year. McCollum has done it very efficiently ranking fourth in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (53.2%) and shooting above 50% from the field overall. He has already set the Patriot League career scoring record this year, and is now up to 2,357 points. McCollum has Patriot League career records for field goals made, free throws made and double-figure scoring games in addition to overall points.
Patriot League Teams, Players Rank High in NCAA Statistics
McCollum is leading the nation in scoring while also helping Lehigh to the top spot in the country in two categories. Lehigh leads all of Division I in three-point field goal percentage (44.8%) and free-throw percentage (80.5%) while ranking 10th with 81.4 points per game for the year. Lehigh is one of four Patriot League teams in the top 20 in Division I in free-throw percentage. On the other end of the court, Navy ranks in the top 25 in both scoring defense and three-point field goal percentage defense, while Bucknell is in the top 20 in field-goal percentage defense. The Bison also stand fourth in the country with just 9.6 turnovers per game. In addition to Muscala and McCollum, individual standouts include Lehigh's Mackey McKnight and Navy's Tilman Dunbar in the top 40 in Division I in assists and Lehigh's Gabe Knutson holding a spot in the top 40 in field-goal percentage.
AMERICAN The Eagles could not keep up with one of the top teams in the country as they fell 89-57 at No. 6 Kansas on Saturday...Stephen Lumpkins led the way with 16 points, John Schoof had 14 and Tony Wroblicky just missed a double-double with eight points and 11 rebounds...Lumpkins is tied for sixth in the Patriot League with 15.1 points per game and second with 8.1 rebounds per contest...American has dropped four straight games, though the last two each came against ranked opponents...The Eagles try to snap the losing skid on Thursday when they host Maryland Eastern Shore.
ARMY The Black Knights went 1-1 on their Texas road trip, playing well but falling 61-55 to Texas A & M on Saturday before topping Houston Baptist 95-86 on New Year's Eve...Army overcame a seven-point deficit to take a four-point lead at Texas A & M with 5:16 to go, but the Aggies closed the contest on a 12-2 run to knock off the Black Knights...Texas A & M scored its last eight points at the foul line, taking the lead with 43 seconds to go...Army scored only two points in the last five minutes...Kyle Wilson led the Black Knights with 15 points, while Kyle Toth had 13... Army scored 60 second-half points to pull out its 95-86 win over Houston Baptist...The Black Knights were down by one point at the break and as many as five early in the second half, but took control with 14 straight points to grab a 64-53 lead with 9:20 to go....Army led by at least seven points the rest of the way...Ella Ellis led the Black Knights with 26 points while making 15-of-16 free throws, while Wilson had 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting and 7-of-8 at the foul line and Dylan Cox scored 13... Army has scored at least 90 points in three of its last four games, and has hit the 90-point mark in each of its last four wins...Army returns home on Saturday to face Columbia...The Black Knights are 4-0 at home this season and have won eight straight non-League home games dating back to last year...A victory would also seal a winning non-League campaign.
BUCKNELL Bucknell became just the third team in Patriot League history with 12 non-League victories in the regular season, joining Fordham (1990-91) and Lehigh (2011-12), with a 66-46 victory at future League member Loyola University Maryland on Friday...The Bison fell behind early, but closed the first half on a 20-5 run to open up a 34-23 lead at the break...Bucknell extended the lead throughout the second half as it clamped down defensively for the 20-point win, holding Loyola (Md.) to 35.7% shooting from the field and just 1-of-12 from three-point range...Mike Muscala led the Bison with 29 points on 13-of-21 from the field and also pulled down eight rebounds...He has moved into the Patriot League career top 10 with 1,670 points...Bryson Johnson scored 11, while Cameron Ayers and Joe Willman each added 10...The Bison made 26-of-53 shots and 13-of-14 at the free throw line...Bucknell finished the 2012 calendar year with a 28-6 record...The 12-2 record equals the 1901-02 and 1983-84 teams for best 14-game starts in program history...Bucknell stands in the top 20 in Division I in field-goal percentage defense, and is fourth in the nation with just 9.6 turnovers per game...Muscala is averaging 19.4 points and 10.6 rebounds for the season, making him one of two players in the country in the top 30 in scoring and top 15 in rebounding in Division I...The only other is Duke's Mason Plumlee, a leading national player of the year candidate...Bucknell tries to become the first Patriot League team ever with 13 regular-season non-League wins when it visits Cornell on Wednesday.
COLGATE The Raiders returned home and put an emphatic end to a six-game losing streak by beating Binghamton 74-47 on Friday, then made it a two-game winning streak with a dramatic 65-63 win over New Hampshire on Sunday... The Raiders grabbed the lead against Binghamton with an 11-0 run midway through the first half, extended it to 40-25 at halftime and opened the second half with 10 straight points to effectively put the game away...Murphy Burnatowski led the way with 23 points, while Brandon James scored 12 as 11 different players scored for the Raiders...Burnatowksi had a career-high 31 points in the win over New Hampshire, but it was a late surge that put the Raiders over the top... After leading by as many as 10 points early in the second half, Colgate fell behind 63-61 in the final minutes...Mitch Rolls tied the score on a jumper with 1:39 left, and the Raiders earned the win with two seconds left when Luke Roh followed his own miss with the game-winning layup... Burnatowski made 11-of-22 shots and also recorded six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks in the all-around effort...He was named Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week on Wednesday, becoming the first Raider to claim the honor since Mike Venezia took the first award of the year in 2011-12...Colgate goes for its third consecutive win on Wednesday when it visits Columbia.
HOLY CROSS Holy Cross was within two points early in the second half before Boston College pulled away with a 15-0 run and went on to beat the Crusaders 70-60 on Saturday...Eric Obeysekere led Holy Cross with a career-high 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting, while Dave Dudzinski added 15 and Malcolm Miller scored 13...Holy Cross dropped its second straight game on the road as it concluded a stretch of six out of seven games away from the Hart Center....Holy Cross plays its final two games before Patriot League play at home, welcoming Yale on Friday and hosting Columbia on Tuesday...The Crusaders are a perfect 3-0 at home this season...Holy Cross is eighth in the country at 76.7% from the foul line this season, and 13th in three-point field-goal percentage defense at 27.3%....Dave Dudzinski stands sixth in the Patriot League at 15.1 points per game and third with 7.2 rebounds per contest.
LAFAYETTE Lafayette erased a 10-point second-half deficit to take a two-point lead with nine minutes to go, but Stanford regained its advantage and held off the Leopards in a 65-59 victory at Maples Pavilion on Saturday...The Leopards got back to within 61-59 with 27 seconds to go, but the Cardinal made their foul shots down the stretch...Joey Ptasinski led Lafayette with 17 points, while Seth Hinrichs added 16...It was Lafayette's fourth trip to a BCS-level opponent this year as the Leopards previously played Kentucky, Maryland and Minnesota...The Leopards are in the top 20 nationally in free-throw percentage, and the top 40 with more than eight three-point field goals per game...Ptasinski, Hinrichs, Dan Trist and Tony Johnson are each in the top 20 in the Patriot League in scoring at more than 10 points per game apiece...Lafayette comes back home on Wednesday to take on NJIT.
LEHIGH Lehigh got 34 points from C.J. McCollum, but it was not enough as Bryant got a game-winning layup with 1.3 seconds remaining to beat the Mountain Hawks 80-79 on Saturday at Stabler Arena...It was Lehigh's first home loss this season, and it snapped an 11-game home winning streak dating back to last year...The Mountain Hawks also had their eight-game overall win streak come to an end...They trailed by double digits in the first half, but fought back to take a 77-75 lead on McCollum's three-pointer with 2:01 to play...Bryant went back up 78-77, but Lehigh took a 79-78 on a pair of free throws by Mackey McKnight...After an exchange of turnovers, the Bulldogs got the winning bucket in the closing seconds...Lehigh had a chance to win as Gabe Knutson caught a full-court heave, but could not convert the shot...McCollum made 9-of-18 shots, 6-of-10 three-pointers and 10-of-11 free throws in his 34-point effort...He re-gained the nation's scoring lead at 25.7 points per game for the season...Lehigh hit 11-of-23 from beyond the arc and 18-of-22 at the foul line, and leads the country in both three-point field goal percentage (44.8%) and free-throw percentage (80.5%)...Holden Greiner added 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Mackey McKnight had 12 points and seven assists in the game...Lehigh heads back on the road Saturday when it goes to VCU in a game shown on NBC Sports Network at 5 p.m.
NAVY Despite another fine effort from freshman Tilman Dunbar, Navy could not overcome a 12-point halftime deficit and fell 71-61 at home against Albany...The Mids got as close as 51-45 with under eight minutes to play, but Albany responded with an 8-2 run and led by double digits the rest of the way...Dunbar led the Mids with 17 points, five assists and four rebounds, while Brandon Venturini scored 14 points and Worth Smith added 10...Dunbar was named Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week for the fourth straight time on
Wednesday..It is the longest streak since Navy's J.J. Avila won five in a row in January 2011...Dunbar surpassed 150 points and 75 assists in a season in just his 14th game, becoming just the fifth Navy freshman in school history to reach those figures, and first since Kaleo Kina in 2006...Dunbar is averaging 16.0 points and 5.8 assists over the last five games, and is one of six freshmen nationally to average 11.0 points and 5.0 assists per contest....Dunbar is in the 40 nationally and second among freshmen with 5.5 assists per game for the year...Navy returns to action on Wednesday at IPFW, a team the Mids beat at home 54-49 on Nov. 28.