Patriot League Men's Basketball Weekend Preview - 1.4.13

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Lehigh's C.J. McCollum
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG
Lehigh's C.J. McCollum
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG

Jan. 4, 2013

Patriot League Men's Basketball Weekend Preview - 1.4.13 Get Acrobat Reader

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - With just one week left before the 2013 Patriot League race tips off, the eight teams begin to wrap up their non-League slates this weekend.

It starts on Friday as Holy Cross hosts Yale, and continues with five games Saturday. The slate includes Bucknell at No. 12 Missouri on Fox Sports Midwest and ESPN3 at 4 p.m., with Lehigh at VCU on NBC Sports Network at 5 p.m. Also, Army hosts Columbia, Colgate is at Dartmouth and Navy goes to Norfolk State on Saturday. American wraps up the weekend schedule at home against Cornell on Sunday.

Four teams play their final game before League action this weekend, while Lafayette, Holy Cross, Army and Lehigh all have another contest on Tuesday.

Bucknell has the marquee matchup on Saturday after becoming the first team in Patriot League history with 13 non-League victories with a 72-56 win over Cornell on Wednesday. The 13-2 record matches the school's best mark through 15 games.

Lafayette and American also posted wins during the week. The Leopards got standout performances from Tony Johnson and Seth Hinrichs in an 83-66 trouncing on NJIT, while the Eagles snapped a four-game losing skid with a 63-49 victory over Maryland Eastern Shore.

Both games were at home, and Patriot League teams are 32-9 at home this year with every team holding a winning record on its own court.

Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*Bucknell became the first team in Patriot League history with 13 non-League wins when it knocked off Cornell 72-56 on Wednesday.
*At 13-2, the Bison have matched their best 15-game record in school history.
*The Bison are tied for the Division I lead in both road (6) and road/neutral (8) wins, and are tied for third in overall victories.
*Bucknell's Mike Muscala is at No. 2 in player efficiency rating on ESPN.com.
*He is one of three players in Division I in the top 40 in scoring and top 15 in rebounding.
*Lehigh's C.J. McCollum leads the nation in scoring at 25.7 points per game.
*Patriot League teams are 58-55 overall, and 53-35 against DI teams outside of the BCS leagues.
*The Patriot League is a combined 45-23 against regional conferences including the Atlantic 10, America East, CAA, Ivy League, MAAC, NEC and MEAC.
*The record is only 5-7 against the Ivy League, but the conferences will face off seven additional times from Friday-Tuesday.
*Patriot League teams are 32-9 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 leads the nation in three-point field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage.

Patriot League Notebook

Bucknell Becomes First Patriot League Team with 13 Non-League Wins
Bucknell set a standard on Wednesday as the became the first Patriot League team to record 13 non-League victories in the regular season. A 72-56 win at Cornell gave the Bison a 13-2 mark, matching the 1983-84 squad for the best 15-game record in program history. Bucknell has won at all sites, holding a 5-0 record at home, 6-2 on the road and 2-0 at neutral courts. The Bison are tied for the third-most wins in the country, behind only Gonzaga and Michigan with 14. Bucknell also matches Stony Brook for the most road victories and ties Fairfield for the national lead with eight road/neutral wins.

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 and ESPN3 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 45-23 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 seven games between the conferences over the next week. Holy Cross hosts Yale on Friday, Army welcomes Columbia and Colgate is at Dartmouth on Saturday, American hosts Cornell on Sunday and three Patriot League teams wrap up their pre-conference schedule by facing an Ivy League opponent on Tuesday. Patriot League teams are 5-7 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 53-35 against Division I teams outside of the "Big-Six" conferences.

Bucknell's Muscala Finds Efficient Ways to Succeed
Bucknell senior center Mike Muscala is putting up an oustanding all-around year, with 18.9 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.5 blocks per game coupled with good shooting from the field (55%) and foul line (82%). The packed stat sheet has Muscala at No. 2 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 is one of only three players in the country ranked in the top 40 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 by ranking fourth in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (53.2%) and shooting above 50% from the field overall, and is fifth in the overall efficiency rating at ESPN.com He 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 25 in Division I in free-throw percentage. On the other end of the court, Navy ranks in the top 30 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 50 in Division I in assists and Lehigh's Gabe Knutson holding a spot in the top 40 in field-goal percentage.

Team Notebooks

AMERICAN American put an end to a four-game losing streak and added another win to the Patriot League's gaudy home record as the Eagles knocked off Maryland Eastern Shore 63-49 on Thursday...The Eagles used an early 10-2 run to take a 12-5 lead, and never trailed after that point...American closed the first half on a 10-4 run for a 34-24 lead at the break, and pulled away late by finishing the game with a 9-2 surge for the 63-49 win...Blake Jolivette led the way with 16 points, while Daniel Munoz scored 11 and Stephen Lumpkins and John Schoof each added 10...Lumpkins also pulled down 13 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the year, and filled the stat sheet with five assists and three blocks...He became the school's all-time leader with 128 blocks in his career...The Eagles held a 36-26 advantage on the boards and held the Hawks to 15-of-41 (36.6%) shooting from the field..American concludes its non-League slate at home against Cornell on Sunday.

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 the first team in Patriot League history with 13 non-League victories by defeating Cornell 72-56 on the road on Wednesday... The Bison also equaled their best 15-game start in program history (13-2) as they pulled away in the second half for the 16-point win...Bucknell held a slim 55-51 lead with under eight minutes to play before closing the contest on a 17-5 run to earn the lopsided win...Cameron Ayers led a balanced effort with 16 points, while Bryson Johnson had 15, Mike Muscala had 13 and 11 rebounds for his ninth double-double and Joe Willman scored 10...Bucknell made 28-of-45 shots (62.2%) while holding Cornell to 20-of-55 (36.4%) from the field...Bucknell equaled the 1983-84 team for the best 15-game start in program history, and also improved to 9-1 in its last 10 games against Ivy League opponents...Bucknell won its second straight on the road and improved to 6-2 in true road games this year, and 8-2 including neutral contests...Bucknell is tied for the third-most wins in Division I, as only Gonzaga and Michigan have more with 14...The Bison match Stony Brook for the most road victories and Fairfield for the top spot with eight road/neutral wins...Muscala is averaging 18.9 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, and is one of three players in the country in the top 40 in scoring and top 15 in rebounding in Division I...Bucknell closes out its non-League slate with a big test as it travels to No. 12 Missouri on Saturday...The game will be shown on Fox Sports Midwest and streamed on ESPN3 beginning at 4 p.m.

COLGATE Colgate scored the first nine points of the second half to take a 36-30 lead at Columbia, but the Lions bounced back to pull out a 66-59 win at home on Wednesday..The Raiders held a 54-53 lead with 4:56 left before Columbia went ahead for good with a three-pointer and put together a 13-5 run to close the game...John Brandenburg, Pat Moore and Murphy Burnatowski led the Raiders with 13 points apiece...Burnatowski was named Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week on Wednesday after averaging 27.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in home victories over Binghamton and New Hampshire last week...The Raiders continue against Ivy League opponents when they play their last game before Patriot League action at Dartmouth on Saturday.

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 in the top 10 in the country at 76.7% from the foul line this season, and in the top 15 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 won its fifth straight home game with an impressive effort in an 83-66 win over NJIT on Wednesday...The Leopards led for nearly the entire game, and closed the first half on a 23-9 run to build a 46-31 lead at the break...Lafayette built its lead as high as 28 points in the second half as it led by double digits for the entire period...Seth Hinrichs led the way with 21 points and seven rebounds while shooting 7-of-8 overall and 5-of-6 from three-point range, while Tony Johnson had a great game overall with 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds...Lafayette made exactly 50 percent of its shots (29-of-58) and three-pointers (13-of-26)...The Leopards moved into the top 30 nationally with 8.4 three-pointers made per game, and their overall total of 134 made treys is second in the nation to Illinois (142)...Lafayette also ranks in the top 25 nationally in free-throw percernage...The Leopards close out their non-League slate at Penn on Tuesday as they look for their first road victory.

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 Navy scored nine straight points to go up 54-50 at IPFW with 7:10 left on Wednesday, but the Mastodons answered with 10 straight points and went on to beat the Mids 68-63 in Fort Wayne..Worth Smith and Brandon Venturini led the Mids with 17 points apiece as Navy shot the ball well at 23-of-47 overall and 10-of-19 from three-point range...The Mids had won the first meeting between the schools on Nov. 28...Navy has dropped three straight games, all by 10 points or less...Eight of the team's nine losses this season have come by 10 points or less...Tilman 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 in the 50 nationally with 5.4 assists per game for the year...Navy concludes its non-League slate on Saturday with a visit to Norfolk State.