Patriot League Men's Basketball Weekend Preview - 1.17.14

PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG Tony Wroblicky and American try to stay perfect in Patriot League play on Saturday.
PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG
Tony Wroblicky and American try to stay perfect in Patriot League play on Saturday.
PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG

Jan. 17, 2014

Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 1.17.14 Get Acrobat Reader

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - American will try to extend its best League-opening winning streak to six when it hosts Lafayette on Saturday, while the other top four teams in the Patriot League will play on national television on CBS Sports Network on Sunday and Monday.

Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*American goes for a 6-0 record in the Patriot League on Saturday at home against Lafayette.
*Navy also visits Colgate and Lehigh goes to Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon.
*All three games will be available on Patriot League Network.
*The Patriot League will have games on both Sunday and Monday on CBS Sports Network.
*Bucknell goes to Army on Sunday at 3 p.m. while Boston University hosts Loyola Maryland on Monday at 7:30 p.m.
*Jason Knapp and Chris Spatola will call the action of both games on CBSSN.
*All four games on Wednesday were decided by single digits, with three going down to the wire.
*American moved to 5-0 with a 65-63 win at Lehigh, while BU stayed perfect by beating Colgate 66-58.
*Holy Cross rallied from a 14-point deficit to deal Army its first loss with a 78-75 final at West Point.
*Bucknell closed the game on a 21-6 run at Navy, but the Mids held off the furious charge for a 62-61 win.
*American leads the Patriot League in overall and League only field goal percentage and field goal percentage defense.

Patriot League Notebook
American Goes for 6-0 League Record on Saturday
American will try to extend its best League-opening winning streak to six when it hosts Lafayette on Saturday. The Leopards have been on the other end as they have an 0-5 League mark for the first time since going winless in 1995. American is trying to win six consecutive League games for the first time since claiming its final 10 contests in a 13-1 season in 2009, and top last year's Patriot League win total overall. Saturday's other games feature teams trying to climb up the standings as Navy visits Colgate and Holy Cross hosts Lehigh. The Lafayette/American and Navy/Colgate games tip off at 2 p.m. with Lehigh/Holy Cross at 4 p.m.. Each game is available on Patriot League Network.

CBS Sports Network Showcases Top Teams on Consecutive Days
American is the only team in the top half of the League standings to play on Saturday, with the rest going the next two days in nationally-televised games on CBS Sports Network. Bucknell visits Army on Sunday at 3 p.m. as both teams try to bounce back from heartbreaking losses, while Boston University tries to get to 6-0 in the Patriot League as it hosts fellow new member Loyola Maryland on Monday at 7:30 p.m. Jason Knapp and Chris Spatola will call the action for both games.

Boston University, American Stay Unbeaten in Patriot League Men's Basketball
Three teams entered Wednesday's action with undefeated records in Patriot League men's basketball, and two remained at the end of the night as American and Boston University earned hard-fought victories while Army lost a double-digit second-half lead and fell to Holy Cross. The Eagles gave up a 16-point lead at Lehigh, then closed out a 65-63 victory behind two key three-pointers from Jesse Reed in the final minute. Boston University kept the pace by overcoming a two-point halftime deficit for a 66-58 victory over Colgate. Army appeared to be on its way to remaining undefeated when it went up 14 in the second half against Holy Cross, but the Crusaders came all the way back and held on for a 78-75 victory at West Point. The Black Knights are alone in third place because Navy fought off a late charge from Bucknell for a 62-61 win in Annapolis. The Bison fall into a fourth-place tie with Loyola Maryland, which beat Lafayette 77-63 at home Monday on CBS Sports Network.

BU's Jones, American's Brennan Each With Fast Starts to Patriot League Tenure
Boston University's Joe Jones and American's Mike Brennan are liking Patriot League play, as both coaches remain perfect in their first season of League action. Jones and Brennan are the first coaches to open their League tenure at 5-0 since Lehigh's Billy Taylor led the Mountain Hawks to a 5-0 start in his first season in 2002-03. The last coach to begin his Patriot League career better than 5-0 was the legendary Pat Flannery at Bucknell, who won his first seven League games in 1994-95.

Eagles Winning With Efficient Shooting, Defense
American's 5-0 Patriot League start is easily explained as the Eagles lead the Patriot League in field goal percentage and field goal percentage defense in League action. American is shooting a lights out 53.2% from the field in League games, while holding its opponents to a 36.7% clip to easily lead the League in both categories. The Eagles are also cleaning up on the glass by leading the Patriot League with a +5.8 rebounding margin in League play, and have the most assists per contest as well at 17.8. For the season the Eagles rank among the top teams in the country with a 49.2% mark from the field. American has the longest winning streak for a Patriot League team this season at six in a row.

Boston University Earns No. 25 Ranking in College Insider Poll
Boston University has won its first five Patriot League games to open 5-0 in conference play for the first time since posting the same record in the America East in 2005. The Terriers also hover around the top 100 in the RPI, and have been noticed for their success by claiming the No. 25 ranking in this week's College Insider.com Mid-Major poll. The Terriers are the first Patriot League team to earn a spot in the rankings this season.

Winning on the Road
The top three teams in the Patriot League have gotten the job done on the road with a combined 9-0 mark in League play. American is off to a great start on the road as the Eagles moved to 4-0 with Wednesday's win at Lehigh, while Army is 3-0 and Boston University has a 2-0 mark in road games. The other seven teams are 3-13 in Patriot League road games to create a 13-12 edge for home squads in League action. The hosts could have the upper hand this weekend as the top three squads all play on their own court.

Big Performances in Weekday Games
Nearly every team had a standout individual effort in the weekday contests. It began on Monday when Dylon Cormier had 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting and also pulled down 11 rebounds and R.J. Williams had 12 points and a career-high 10 assists in Loyola Maryland's 77-63 win over Lafayette. Career performances and 20-point efforts were all over the place on Wednesday. John Schoof had 23 points while Mackey McKnight just missed a triple double with 23 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in American's win over Lehigh, Tanner Plomb had a career-high 29 points in Army's loss to Holy Cross, Murphy Burnatowski put up 27 for Colgate while Maurice Watson Jr. had 20 points and six assists for Boston University in the Terriers' win over the Raiders and Steven Kaspar had a career-high 10 assists along with 12 points and seven rebounds in Bucknell's loss at Navy.

15 Patriot League Contests to Be Shown On CBS Sports Network....
A 15-game schedule for Patriot League men's basketball on CBSSN features seven games in January and an additional five to close the regular season in February-March. The Patriot League Men's Basketball Championship will be televised on CBS Sports Network on March 12 at 7:30 p.m., while CBSSN will also air both semifinal games of the Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament on March 8.

...And All of the Rest on Patriot League Network
Any game that is not shown on CBS Sports Network will be available with free online web streaming through Patriot League Network. In its first year, PLN has already showcased all men and women's basketball non-League home games in addition to action for all of the fall sports. PLN also has highlights throughout the year and features on teams and individuals and is available nationally at www.patriotleague.tv and to a wide audience through the Campus Insiders platform. Campus Insiders will also produce a handful of broadcasts on PLN this season, which began with Wednesday's Bucknell-Lafayette contest.

Patriot League Games
Lafayette Leopards (4-12, 0-5) at American Eagles (9-7, 5-0)
Bender Arena; Washington, D.C. - Saturday, 2 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network | Comcast SportsNet Plus
*American aims to go 6-0 in the Patriot League for the first time when it hosts Lafayette on Saturday.
*The 2 p.m. contest will be shown on Comcast SportsNet Plus as well as Patriot League Network.
*The Leopards have their longest season-opening League winless skid since finishing 0-14 in 1995.
*The teams split last year's season series, with each squad winning on its home court.
*The Eagles topped Lafayette 68-64 on Feb. 2, while the Leopards beat American 80-72 in Easton exactly one month later.
*Lafayette's win was the first for the Leopards over the Eagles in the regular season since 2005.
*American has won 17 of the past 19 matchups, as Lafayette did win at American in the 2011 League Tournament semifinals.
*American is trying to top last year's Patriot League win total and claim six straight League wins for the first time since 2009.

Navy Midshipmen (7-9, 2-3) at Colgate Raiders (6-10, 0-5)
Cotterell Court; Hamilton, N.Y. - Saturday, 2 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Navy tries to get to .500 in League action while Colgate goes for its first win when the teams meet in Hamilton Saturday.
*The contest will tip off at 2 p.m. and be shown on Patriot League Network.
*Colgate has swept the matchups each of the past two seasons to own four straight wins over the Mids.
*The Raiders won 70-56 at Navy on Jan. 26 and 59-46 at home on Feb. 24 against the Mids last season.
*Navy had swept the season series in 2011 before Colgate's run of four straight wins.
*Colgate holds a 29-24 lead in the all-time series, and is up 24-20 in Patriot League regular-season games.
*The Mids aim to win consecutive Patriot League games for the first time since a three-game run in 2011.

Lehigh Mountain Hawks (8-10, 1-4) at Holy Cross Crusaders (8-9, 2-3)
Hart Center; Worcester, Mass. - Saturday, 4 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Holy Cross aims to build on Wednesday's win at Army when the Crusaders host Lehigh on Saturday at 4 p.m. on PLN.
*Lehigh hopes to stop a four-game losing skid that has come by a combined 10 points.
*The Mountain Hawks swept last year's series, winning 79-47 at home on Jan. 12 and 68-61 at Holy Cross on Feb. 9.
*Despite last year's loss, the Crusaders have won 17 of the last 19 against the Mountain Hawks at the Hart Center.
*Holy Cross leads the all-time series 35-17, with all but one game played as League members.
*The Crusaders try to get to .500 in League play for the first time since they were 2-2 last season.

Bucknell Bison (8-8, 3-2) at Army Black Knights (8-8, 4-1)
Christl Arena; West Point, N.Y. - Sunday, 3 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
*Two teams in the top half of the League standings meet on national television when Bucknell visits Army on Sunday.
*The contest will tip off at 3 p.m. on CBS Sports Network with Jason Knapp and Chris Spatola on the call.
*Bucknell won three meetings last year, including a 78-70 victory at home in the League Tournament semifinals on March 9.
*The Bison won 76-55 at home on Jan. 12 and 60-58 at Army on Feb. 9 in the 2013 regular season.
*Bucknell has won the last seven meetings between the schools since Army claimed a home win in 2011.
*Army tries to get back to four over .500 in League play, its highest-ever mark in the standings.

Loyola Md Greyhounds (8-8, 3-2) at Boston University Terriers (12-6, 5-0)
Agganis Arena; Boston, Mass. - Monday, 7:30 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
*Loyola Maryland and Boston University meet in their first-ever Patriot League contest on Monday evening.
*The contest will be shown on CBS Sports Network at 7:30 p.m. with Jason Knapp and Chris Spatola calling the action.
*The teams are familiar with each other as Loyola won at home against BU 70-63 in last year's College Insider Tournament.
*The Greyhounds also won at home 69-56 in 2012 against BU as part of BracketBusters.
*BU won the only other meeting 71-51 in a holiday tournament in 1996.
*The Terriers are trying to open conference play at 6-0 for the first time since doing so in the America East in 2003.

Team Notebooks
AMERICAN After giving up a 16-point lead, American made big plays down the stretch for a 65-63 win at Lehigh on Wednesday...The Eagles have their first "true" 5-0 start in the Patriot League, as they only hit the mark later via forfeit in 2005...Jesse Reed hit consecutive three-pointers with under two minutes to play to turn a tie score into a 63-57 lead...After Lehigh hit a three-pointer, Tony Wroblicky canned a pair of free throws for a 65-60 lead with 15 seconds left and Lehigh never got off a shot to tie...The Eagles built a 27-11 lead in the first half, only to see the Mountain Hawks climb back and make it close to the end...John Schoof led the Eagles with 23 points while Reed had 15, Wroblicky had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds and Kyle Kager scored 10...Darius Gardner dished out 11 of the team's 21 assists, while American committed only nine turnovers...American won at Lehigh for the first time since 2011, and snapped a three-game skid against the Mountain Hawks....The Eagles have the longest winning streak for a Patriot League team this season at six games, and try to keep their roll going when they host Lafayette on Saturday afternoon.

ARMY The Black Knights broke open a tie game with a 13-0 run in the second half and pushed their lead as high as 63-49 with under 10 minutes to play, but Holy Cross rallied from there and came away with a 78-75 win at West Point on Wednesday...The Crusaders took the advantage for good with under two minutes to play, and Army missed a pair of three-pointers that would have tied the score in the final 20 seconds... Tanner Plomb led the Black Knights with a career-high 29 points while making 11-of-15 shots and all six three-point attempts...The rest of the Black Knights were just 2-of-10 from long range and 18-of-49 from the field...Kyle Wilson also finished in double figures with 17 points, while Dylan Cox had 11...Army lost despite committing only six turnovers in the game...The Black Knights were trying to win five straight Patriot League games, but will look to start a new streak when they host Bucknell Sunday at 3 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

BOSTON UNIVERSITY Maurice Watson Jr. had 20 points and six assists to help Boston University outlast Colgate 66-58 on Wednesday...The Terriers trailed by as many as seven points late in the first half, but cut the margin to 27-25 by halftime...BU went ahead for good on a 12-4 run for a 51-43 lead midway through the second half...Colgate got back within 60-58 in the final three minutes, but Watson hit a shot with 2:02 left for some breathing room and the Terriers sealed the win with four free throws down the stretch...Dom Morris joined Watson in double figures for BU with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting...The Terriers were just under 50% overall at 24-of-50, and over 50% from three-point range at 8-of-15...They shot 13-of-22 from the field, 5-of-6 from long range and 10-of-11 at the line in the second half...BU beat Colgate for the 19th straight time, though the teams were meeting for the first time since 1990...The Terriers are 5-0 in conference play for the first time since hitting that mark in the America East in 2005, and look to add another victory when they host Loyola Maryland on Monday at 7:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

BUCKNELL The Bison saw their three-game winning streak come to an end as their late rally fell short in a 62-61 loss at Navy on Wednesday...The Mids used a 13-0 run to go up 56-40 with under five minutes to play, but the Bison were not finished...Bucknell cut the gap to 62-51, then scored 10 straight points to get within one... The Bison had two possessions to go ahead after Navy missed free throws, but turned it over with 13 seconds left and missed a pair of jumpers in the final seconds...A Bucknell team that entered the game in the top 10 nationally in fewest turnovers per game and free throw shooting percentage had an uncharacteristic night with a season-high 18 turnovers and a 4-of-9 mark at the foul line... Steven Kaspar had 12 points, a career-high 10 assists and seven rebounds, while Ben Brackney (12), Chris Hass (11) and Cameron Ayers (10) also scored in double figures...Bucknell saw its eight-game win streak over Navy come to an end...The Bison return to action when they visit Army on Sunday at 3 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

COLGATE Colgate played League-leading Boston University tough but could not pull out the victory as the Terriers held on for a 66-58 win at home...The Raiders were up seven late in the first half and two at halftime, but BU went ahead for good with an 8-0 run midway through the second half...Colgate got the deficit down to 60-58 in the final three minutes, but the Raiders would not score again as BU got the final six points... Murphy Burnatowski led Colgate with 27 points while making 11-of-20 field goals and 5-of-10 from three-point range...No other Raider was in double figures, and the rest of the team was just 3-of-18 from three-point land...The Raiders were 0-of-2 at the line, becoming the fifth team in Patriot League history that did not make a free throw...Colgate starts Patriot League play with five losses for the first time...The Raiders will try to get on track with their next two games at home, beginning with a matchup against Navy on Saturday afternoon.

HOLY CROSS Holy Cross rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to deal Army its first Patriot League loss with a 78-75 triumph at West Point on Wednesday...After Army used a 13-0 run and went up 63-49 with under 10 minutes to play, the Crusaders went on a 13-2 stretch to get within three and eventually took the lead at 70-69 with just over three minutes to go...After Army went back ahead, Holy Cross took the advantage for good when Malcolm Miller converted consecutive layups for a 74-71 edge with under two minutes to play...Miller hit two free throws for a 76-73 lead with 31 seconds left, and the Black Knights missed a pair of three-pointers to tie in the final 20 seconds...Miller led five Crusaders in double figures with 17 points and was followed by Malachi Alexander (16), Dave Dudzinski (14), Anthony Thompson (13) and Eric Green (11), who also had a double-double with 10 rebounds...The Crusaders shot an even 50% (24-of-48) from the field and 28-of-37 at the foul line...It tied for the most made free throws in a Patriot League game this season...Holy Cross tries to get to .500 in Patriot League play when it hosts Lehigh on Saturday afternoon.

LAFAYETTE Lafayette held a halftime lead at Loyola on Monday, but saw the Greyhounds pull away in the second half for a 77-63 victory... Lafayette shot 13-of-25 from the field and 7-of-8 from long range in the first half, but just 7-of-24 and 2-of-8 from beyond the arc after intermission...Loyola took the lead for good with an 8-0 run early in the second half, and used an 8-1 run later in the period to go ahead by double digits with 9:15 left...Lafayette would not get closer than nine points the rest of the way...Nick Lindner led the Leopards with 17 points, while Joey Ptasinski had 15 while making 5-of-8 three-pointers...The Leopards were outrebounded 38-23 in the game...Lafayette has to go back south for another road trip on Saturday as the Leopards visit American at 2 p.m.

LEHIGH The Mountain Hawks rallied from a 16-point deficit to take a lead in the second half, but again could not close it out and fell to American 65-63 at home on Wednesday... Lehigh lost its fourth straight game, all by four points or less and by a combined total of 10...The Mountain Hawks came back from a 27-11 deficit to tie the score at 39-39 with 15:02 left, and the game was tight until American scored six straight points late for a 63-57 lead...Lehigh got closer with a three-pointer, but American pushed the lead back to five at the line and the Mountain Hawks did not get off a shot to tie or take the lead down the stretch.. Mackey McKnight narrowly missed a triple-double for Lehigh with 23 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds...McKnight is up to 495 career assists as he tries to become the fifth Patriot Leaguer with 500 or more...Corey Schaefer also finished in double figures with 12 points, while Tim Kempton had eight points and 11 rebounds...Lehigh tries to stop its losing streak when it visits Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon.

LOYOLA MARYLAND Loyola took over in the second half to pull away for a 77-63 win over Lafayette on Monday evening on CBS Sports Network...The Greyhounds were down by two at the half, but took the lead for good with an 8-0 run early in the second half...Loyola later used an 8-1 run to push its lead into double digits at 60-49 with 9:15 to play...The Greyhounds led by at least nine points the rest of the way to go on to the 14-point win...Dylon Cormier notched his fourth double-double of the season with 25 points and 11 rebounds...He shot 11-of-15 from the field while scoring 20 points or more for the 12th time in 16 games...R.J. Williams also had a double-double with 12 points and a career-high 10 assists...Eric Laster added 14 points and Jordan Latham scored 12 for the Greyhounds...Loyola shot 28-of-51 from the field to hit 50% or higher for the second game in a row...The Greyhounds held a 38-23 rebounding advantage and held Lafayette to 20-of-49 from the field...Loyola is now off until Monday when the Greyhounds are back on CBS Sports Network as they visit Boston University in the first League matchup between the new members.

NAVY Navy snapped an eight-game losing skid against Bucknell as the Mids held off a furious Bison rally for a 62-61 victory at home...Navy scored the last five points of the first half to take the lead for good at 31-26 at the break, and appeared to be in command with a 13-0 run for a 56-40 advantage with under five minutes left...Bucknell closed with a 21-6 run and scored the last 10 points in the final three minutes to get within 62-61...Bucknell missed two chances to go ahead as Navy held on in the final seconds...Brandon Venturini led Navy with 14 points, while Worth Smith had 13 and Zach Fong finished with 10...Navy got easy baskets throughout the game by forcing Bucknell into a season-high 18 turnovers...The Bison averaged only 9.7 turnovers per game coming into the contest, which was in the top 10 nationally...The Mids made 14-of-28 second-half shots and won despite a 2-of-12 mark from three-point range...Navy beat Bucknell for the first time since sweeping the Bison in 2010..The Mids aim to beat Colgate for the first time since 2011 when they visit the Raiders on Saturday afternoon.