Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 1.3.12

PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG Lehigh's C.J. McCollum
PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG
Lehigh's C.J. McCollum
PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG

Jan. 3, 2012

Patriot League Men's Basketball Release 1.3.12 Get Acrobat Reader

Center Valley, Pa. - With the Patriot League schedule tipping off on Saturday, the eight League squads are getting in final preparation before the race for the 2012 title commences.

Six teams play their final game before the League schedule over the next two days, with four in action on Tuesday. Bucknell and Holy Cross visit Ivy League members with trips to Dartmouth and Yale respectively, while Lehigh host Maryland-Eastern Shore and Army welcomes Longwood.

On Wednesday, the pre-Patriot League slate concludes when Colgate hosts Columbia and Lafayette welcomes Penn. Only the Raiders play another non-League contest during the Patriot League season.

The Patriot League holds an 8-6 lead over the Ivy League this season, so wins in two of the four remaining games will clinch the season series. The Patriot League has already won the season series from both the Northeast Conference (17-9) and America East (7-4), and holds a 36-19 edge against its most-played regional foes.

American and Navy have already concluded their non-League slates. The Eagles stopped a four-game losing streak with a 70-61 win at Brown on Monday, while the Mids dropped their seventh in a row as they fell 71-65 at home against Norfolk State on New Year's Day.

Five teams won at least once between Christmas and New Year's, with Lehigh claiming a victory in each of its games. The Mountain Hawks went on the road to beat St. Peter's 76-67 on Wednesday and Bryant 72-55 on Saturday. Their 11 wins set a school record for non-League play, and junior guard C.J. McCollum was named Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week for averaging 28 points and eight rebounds in the two games.

Lafayette posted a 69-54 win at home against Monmouth Wednesday, while three teams scored comeback wins on New Year's Eve. Bucknell rallied at home for a 63-60 victory over Cornell, while Army did the same in a 79-70 triumph over St. Francis (NY). Holy Cross was down 15 points before storming back for a 65-61 win at Dartmouth.

The 14-game Patriot League schedule begins on Saturday. In the openers, Colgate heads to American, Lehigh goes to Holy Cross, Bucknell visits Army and Lafayette travels to Navy. All four games will be available on Patriot League All-Access.

Patriot League Anaconda Weekly Awards (Dec. 26-Jan. 1)

Anaconda Player of the Week
C.J. McCOLLUM, LEHIGH Jr., G, 6-3, 185, Canton, Ohio/Glen Oak
McCollum ties a Patriot League record with the eighth Anaconda Player of the Week award of his career, and second this season. The honor comes after two outstanding games last week to help lead Lehigh to a pair of victories. McCollum recorded his 14th career double-double and first of the year with 22 points and 11 rebounds in a 76-67 victory at St. Peter's on Wednesday. He then came through with his top scoring game of the season, notching 34 points in a 72-55 win at Bryant on Saturday. It was his 11th career 30-point game and third this season. McCollum averaged 28.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in the two games while also totaling 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals per contest. He connected on 54 percent (19-of-35) from the field, including a 13-of-21 outing in the win over Bryant. With 56 points in the two games, McCollum now stands 14th in League annals with 1,608 points in his career. He is within 46 points of the top 10. McCollum is second in the Patriot League and among the top 20 nationally with 20.0 points per game for the year, and also places in the top five in the League with 6.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per contest. McCollum becomes the fifth student-athlete to earn eight career Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week awards, joining Colgate's Adonal Foyle (1994-97), Lafayette's Brian Ehlers (1996-00) and American's Garrison Carr (2005-09) and Vlad Moldoveanu (2009-11). McCollum has 17 all-time weekly awards from the Patriot League, with a record-tying nine Rookie of the Week honors as a freshman in 2009-10.

Anaconda Rookie of the Week
MILTON WASHINGTON, ARMY Fr., G, 6-0, 180; Houston, Texas/Waltrip (USMAPS)
Washington made his first two starts of the season and averaged 11.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists as Army fell at Presbyterian on Wednesday and defeated St. Francis (NY) on Saturday. He had 12 points on 6-of-8 from the field and tallied four rebounds and two assists in the 71-64 loss at Presbyterian, and followed it up with 10 points and four assists in a 79-70 victory over St. Francis (NY). Washington made 69 percent (9-of-13) from the field in the two games. He began the week with just 15 minutes of playing time and three total points before scoring 22 points in 45 minutes in the two games. Washington wins his first career Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week award.

Honorable Mention
MIKE MUSCALA, BUCKNELL Jr., C, 6-11, 235; Roseville, Minn./Roseville
Muscala averaged 21.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in two games for the Bison. He had 24 points and eight boards while going over 1,000 career points in a 72-67 loss to Loyola (Md.) on Wednesday, and scored all 18 of his points in the second half while pulling down 13 rebounds in Saturday's 63-60 comeback win over Cornell.

ELLA ELLIS, ARMY Jr., F, 6-7, 185; Houston, Texas/Eisenhower (USMAPS)
Ellis has scored 20 points in four consecutive games after tallying 22 in a 71-64 loss at Presbyterian on Saturday and 23 in a 79-70 win over St. Francis (NY) on Saturday. Ellis has scored in double figures in every game this season, and Army is 3-1 during his 20-point scoring streak.

Patriot League Notebook

Patriot League Action Tips Off Saturday
After nearly two months of competition against other teams and conferences, the eight Patriot League squads begin to come together on Saturday as the League schedule begins. The rotation has changed for 2012, with the openers pitting Colgate at American, Lehigh at Holy Cross, Bucknell at Army and Lafayette at Navy. The defending champion Bison were picked first in the Patriot League preseason poll, but did suffer their only League loss of the 2011 season at Army.

Catch it All on All-Access
To view nearly all of the Patriot League men's basketball contests, fans can purchase the Patriot League All-Access package for a monthly fee of $7.95. All-Access allows subscribers to see the live action of all available Patriot League basketball games as well as the archived content for past games. The cutting-edge technology takes viewers up close with multi-camera coverage. This marks the sixth season for Patriot League All-Access, which includes more than 100 men and women's basketball games and a variety of Patriot League Championship events. The Patriot League All-Access multimedia player has features that include expanded video navigation controls and advanced search functions. The on-page video player interface is compatible with Adobe Flash-enabled web browsers and offers a full-screen mode. To purchase the All-Access package, go to the multimedia tab at the top of the front page at www.patriotleague.org.

Lehigh's McCollum Ties Patriot League Weekly Award Record
Setting records is nothing new for Lehigh junior C.J. McCollum, who became the first freshman to win the Patriot League Player of the Year trophy in 2010 while also tying a League record with nine Rookie of the Week awards in that season. On Tuesday, McCollum tied another mark by claiming his eighth career Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week award. He becomes the fifth student-athlete to earn eight career Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week awards, joining Colgate's Adonal Foyle (1994-97), Lafayette's Brian Ehlers (1996-00) and American's Garrison Carr (2005-09) and Vlad Moldoveanu (2009-11). McCollum is second in the Patriot League and among the top 20 nationally with 20.0 points per game for the year, and also places in the top five in the League with 6.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per contest. His 2.3 steals per game lead the Patriot League and rank in the top 30 in Division I. McCollum was also named the Mid-Major Player of the Week by CollegeHoops.net.

Two for 20
McCollum is not the only Patriot Leaguer averaging more than 20 points per game this season. After scoring 25 in a win at Brown on Monday, American senior Charles Hinkle maintains the Patriot League lead with 20.6 points per game. While McCollum's success was expected as the nation's leading returning scorer from last year, Hinkle has already more than doubled his point total from a season ago. Both players are among the top 20 in Division I.

Bucknell's Muscala Enters Elite Company
Bucknell junior Mike Muscala still has more than a season and a half remaining in his collegiate career, but already the reigning Patriot League Player of the Year has joined one of the most exclusive lists in Patriot League history. Muscala notched his 1,000th point on Wednesday, and in doing so became the fourth player in Patriot League history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 150 blocks in his career. Colgate's Adonal Foyle (1994-97), Bucknell's Dan Bowen (1996-00) and Holy Cross' Tim Clifford (2004-08) are the only players to previously pull off the feat. Muscala is the 17th in Bucknell history and 27th in Patriot League annals with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. That group also includes Navy senior Jordan Sugars, who is up to 1,160 points and 561 rebounds.

Nine Active 1,000-Point Scorers
Muscala became the 81st all-time and ninth active Patriot Leaguer with 1,000 points in his career. McCollum leads the active group, and the junior could be on his way to becoming the all-time leading scorer in League history. He scored 56 points last week and moved into the top 15 in League history with 1,608 points. Following McCollum are Lafayette's Ryan Willen (1,209), Holy Cross' Devin Brown (1,195), Colgate's Yaw Gyawu (1,165),Navy's Jordan Sugars (1,160), Lafayette's Jim Mower (1,141), Army's Julian Simmons (1,062) and Holy Cross' R.J. Evans (1,025), with Muscala coming in at 1,022.

Another Junior Star Emerging
After winning the past two Patriot League Player of the Year awards, McCollum and Muscala are having an expected battle over bragging rights as the top junior in the conference. But a third wheel could be emerging into the conversation. Army junior Ella Ellis has scored at least 20 points in four consecutive games, with the Black Knights going 3-1 in those contests. He has finished in double figures in all 14 of Army's games this season, and stands third in the Patriot League with 17.9 points per game.

Pair of Patriot Leaguers Doing it All
Two Patriot League players are among the best in the nation at displaying their all-around game. McCollum and Navy sophomore J.J. Avila are two of only nine players in the country averaging 15.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest. McCollum is the only one of the group averaging over 20 points and three assists to go with the rebounds, while also adding a Patriot League-leading 2.3 steals per game to his total. Avila is in the top five in the Patriot League in scoring (15.4), rebounds (6.7), steals (1.4) and field goal percentage (50.6).

Home Cooking
Patriot League teams are just under .500 for the season, with the success due in large part to an outstanding winning percentage at home. The eight League squads have combined to go 33-11 on their home courts, winning at a rate of 75%. American (6-0) and Lehigh (3-0) are both perfect on their home court, while Bucknell (6-1), Holy Cross (4-1) and Colgate (4-1) have just one loss and Army (5-2) and Lafayette (3-2) also boast winning home records.

Patriot League Takes Care of NEC, America East; Ivy League Next?
Every year the Patriot League schedule contains a healthy dose of games against teams from nearby conferences, and the eight League squads are finding success against their most common competitors in 2011-12. Patriot League teams played their most games against the Northeast Conference, and finished with a strong 17-9 mark against the NEC. Lehigh went 5-0 against NEC opponents, including becoming the only team to win at Wagner. The Patriot League concluded its season series with the America East with a 7-4 record. With two wins on Saturday and another on Monday, the Patriot League has taken an 8-6 lead over the Ivy League with four games remaining over the next two days. The Patriot League can clinch the season series with wins by Bucknell and Holy Cross on the road on Tuesday. The Bison play at Dartmouth, who three Patriot League teams have defeated in the past week. Patriot League teams have also combined for multiple wins against St. Francis (Pa.), St. Francis (NY), Fairleigh Dickinson, Quinnipiac, Binghamton, Bryant and Cornell.

Bucknell, Lehigh in Top 100 in RPI Rating
Bucknell and Lehigh were picked in the top two places in the Patriot League preseason poll, and according to the Collegiate Basketball News RPI rating the pair stands as the best nearing League play. Bucknell comes in at No. 89 in the RPI rating, while Lehigh is at No. 99. The best win belongs to American, who has the only victory over a top 50 opponent by beating St. Joseph's (No. 38) 66-60 on Dec. 4. Lehigh recorded a road victory at No. 64 Wagner as part of its school record 11 non-League victories.

0-2 Start Could Not Stop this Trio
Starting the season with an 0-2 record would not deter Lehigh, American or Bucknell as each squad has bounced back nicely from the slow start. The Mountain Hawks have won 11 of 13 games to record the best overall mark in the Patriot League at 11-4. Lehigh's only losses during that span came in overtime at Cornell on Dec. 3 and at a top 20 Michigan State team on Dec. 22 in a game that Mountain Hawks led at halftime. American and Bucknell each stand at 9-6 overall after starting the season with an 0-2 record.

Patriot League on CBS Sports Network
The Patriot League returns to CBS Sports Network in 2012, with coverage that includes the Men's Basketball Championship game on March 7 at 7 p.m. In addition, CBS Sports Network will broadcast both semifinal games of the Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament on March 3 at 2 and 4 p.m and 11 regular-season contests. Coverage starts on Jan. 14 when Army visits Navy in a doubleheader in Annapolis, with the men's game tipping off at 2:30 p.m. For the full schedule, view the sidebar on page three of the Patriot League men's basketball release.

Team Notebooks

American The Eagles put an end to a four-game losing skid and closed out their non-League schedule with a 70-61 victory at Brown on Monday... The Eagles led from start to finish, opening the game with an 11-2 run and going ahead by as many as 21 points in the second half before Brown came back to trim the final margin...The Bears got as close as four points at 59-55 with under two minutes to play, but Blake Jolivette answered with a basket for American to start a game-clinching 11-3 run...Charles Hinkle led the Eagles with 25 points and seven rebounds, while Daniel Munoz and Jolivette each scored 10 with Munoz adding seven assists...American gave up a game-ending 11-3 run in a 49-42 loss at Mount St. Mary's on Thursday...Mount St. Mary's went ahead for good with 1:05 to play as the Eagles did not hit a field goal for the final four minutes...Troy Brewer led the Eagles with 15 points while Tony Wroblicky scored 10...Hinkle was held under double digits for the first time this season with seven points...American opens its Patriot League schedule at home against Colgate on Saturday...The Eagles are 6-0 at Bender Arena this season.

Army The Black Knights have won three of their past four games after beating St. Francis (NY) 79-70 on Saturday... Army trailed by double digits in the first half and 40-32 at the break, but battled back and went ahead for good with a 10-2 run for a 59-53 lead with 9:11 left...The lead was cut to 65-63 with just over five minutes to go, but Julian Simmons and Ella Ellis answered with consecutive three-pointers and Army led by at least five points the rest of the way...Simmons scored 22 of his game-high 24 points in the second half, while Ellis had his fourth straight 20-point effort and 16th consecutive double-figure scoring game with 23 points....Ellis scored 22 points on Wednesday at Presbyterian, but Army fell 71-64... The Black Knights led by 11 points early in the second half when Presbyterian went on a 17-0 run to go ahead...Army answered with an 11-3 run for a 54-52 lead with 7:10 to play, but Presbyterian scored the next nine points to take the lead for good..Simmons added 14 points while Milton Washington had 12 in his first career start...Washington had 10 points against St. Francis (NY) and was named the Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week on Tuesday...Army completes its non-League slate at home against Longwood on Tuesday, then welcomes Bucknell on Saturday...Army has a three-game home winning streak and is 5-2 at Christl Arena this season.

Bucknell After having their 18-game home winning streak snapped by Loyola (Md.) on Wednesday, Bucknell started another one by rallying for a 63-60 win over Cornell on Saturday... The Bison scored only eight points in the first 15 minutes of the game and trailed 25-20 at intermission, then stormed out in the second half and took the lead for good when Joe Willman's layup with 10:09 left ignited an 8-0 run for a 44-37 advantage...Cornell had a chance to tie in the final seconds, but a pair of three-point attempts were off the mark. Mike Muscala scored 18 points, all in the second half, with 13 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season and 15th of his career...Bucknell set a school record with its 26th victory in the 2011 calendar year..The Bison fell at home for the first time since Nov. 29, 2010 as Loyola (Md.) closed the game with an 11-3 run for a 72-67 win on Wednesday...Bucknell still had a chance to go ahead with the clock winding down, but Cameron Ayers' three-pointer was off the mark with 10 seconds to play...The loss came in a memorable night for Muscala, who scored 24 points to go over 1,000 for his career...Only in his junior season, he is just the fourth player in Patriot League history and third from Bucknell with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 150 blocks...Bucknell's 18-game home winning streak was the 11th-longest in the nation, and was just six shy of the program record...The Bison wrap up their non-League slate with a visit to Dartmouth on Tuesday.

Colgate The Raiders dropped a pair of games last week, including their first home loss of the season 80-70 to Quinnipiac on Wednesday... Quinnipiac scored the final 11 points of the first half to go ahead for good, and the lead stretched as high as 15 in the second half...Mike Venezia led the Raiders with 15 points while Sterling Melville had 14...The Raiders went 10-of-19 from three-point range, but saw Quinnipiac make 28-of-31 free throws...Colgate's 4-0 start at home was its best since the 2000-01 season...The Raiders fell 71-64 at New Hampshire on Saturday... The Raiders led for the majority of the first half, but the Wildcats grabbed a four-point lead at the break and held it throughout the second half...Venezia again scored 15 while Mitch Rolls added 14...Colgate plays its final game before Patriot League action at home against Columbia Wednesday.

Holy Cross The Crusaders are within one game of .500 after rallying for a 65-61 win at Dartmouth on Saturday...Holy Cross won its second straight to improve to 6-7 on the year, and concludes its non-League schedule at Yale on Tuesday...Down by 15 in the first half, the Crusaders trimmed the gap to nine by halftime and took the lead for good at 51-50 on a pair of free throws by Dave Dudzinski with 6:33 to play...It was still a one-point lead when a 10-3 run in the final minutes iced the win for the Crusaders...Devin Brown scored all of the points during the surge, and had 16 of his 18 in the second half...He scored the team's final 14 points...Dudzinski finished with 14 as Holy Cross shot over 50 percent from the field in the second half and held a 36-27 rebounding advantage in the game..The Crusaders will try to pay Yale back for a 77-76 overtime loss at home last year.

Lafayette The Leopards have been the busiest team over the holidays, with three games in a six-day stretch from Wednesday-Monday...They started the run off in style with a 69-54 win at home against Monmouth on Wednesday... Lafayette opened the game with leads of 7-0 and 14-4 and led by double digits throughout the second half...Jim Mower led the way with 19 points while shooting 5-of-9 from three-point range..Rob Delaney dished out a career-high 11 assists, the top mark for a Patriot League player this season...Lafayette stayed hot in the first half at Columbia on Friday, but struggled after interimssion and fell 77-67... The Leopards shot 69 percent in the first half to build a 48-37 lead at the break, but hit only 5-of-21 shots and 1-of-12 three-pointers in the second half...Columbia scored the final 11 points of the game to earn the win...Ryan Willen led the Leopards with 20 points, whie Mower added 13...Lafayette fell 78-58 at NJIT on Monday... Seth Hinrichs led the Leopards with 14 points, while Willen scored 11...The Leopards conclude their non-League slate at home against Penn on Wednesday...The game can be seen on the Lafayette Sports Network.

Lehigh The Mountain Hawks continued to shine on offense and scored road victories over St. Peter's and Bryant last week...Lehigh rallied from a double-digit first-half deficit for a 76-67 win at St. Peter's on Wednesday...It closed the first half with a 14-4 run to even the score, then carried the momentum with a 16-6 surge to open the second half to take the lead for good. C.J. McCollum recorded his 14th career double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Holden Greiner added 19 for the Mountain Hawks...McCollum had another huge outing on Saturday as he scored a season-high 34 points to lead Lehigh to a 72-55 win at Bryant...It was the 11th 30-point game of his career and third this season..McCollum went 13-of-21 from the field and 5-of-5 at the line as he went over 1,600 career points and moved into the top 15 in Patriot League history...Lehigh used a 25-6 run to close the first half to build a 37-18 lead at the break, and led by as many as 27 points after intermission on its way to the 17-point win...Gabe Knutson added 18 points and 13 rebounds to help Lehigh to a 46-29 edge on the glass...McCollum averaged 28.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in the two games to tie a League record with his eighth career Anaconda Player of the Week award...He is second in the Patriot League and in the top 20 nationally with 20.0 points per game, and in the top five in the League with 6.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per contest...His 2.3 steals per game lead the Patriot League and rank in the top 30 in Division I...Lehigh has scored at least 70 points in all 15 games this season...The 11 wins are the most in non-League play for the Mountain Hawks...Lehigh looks to add to the total at home against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Tuesday.

Navy The Mids could not hold halftime leads as they fell at home against Mercer on Friday and Norfolk State on Sunday... Navy gave up a late 10-2 run in the 65-56 loss to Mercer...The Mids got to within three points with 2:02 left before Mercer went on the run to put the game away. Jordan Sugars tied a season high with 21 points, while J.J. Avila had 16 points and seven rebounds...Navy could not hold a six-point halftime lead in a 71-65 loss to Norfolk State...The Mids fell behind for good midway through the second half, and could not convert on a trio of three-pointers in the final minute to tie or take the lead...Avila had 18 points and nine rebounds, while Worth Smith scored 13 and Sugars had 11...The Mids have lost seven straight games heading into their Patriot League opener against Lafayette on Saturday, but Avila has played at a high level during the stretch...The sophomore averaged 17.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in two games last week, and is averaging 19.0 points and 7.8 rebounds over the past five games...He is one of nine players nationally to average 15.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, and is just the second Navy sophomore with 500 points, 250 rebounds and 100 assists.