Jan. 20, 2009
WHAT: Bucknell (3-14, 0-3 PL) vs. Lafayette (6-11, 2-1 PL)
WHERE: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pa.
WHEN: Wednesday, January 21, 2009, 7 p.m.
PROMOTIONS: BJ's $10,000 Shot
RADIO: Eagle 107 and SportsJuice.com
STREAMING VIDEO: BisonVision and Patriot League All-Access
LIVE STATISTICS: GameTracker
COMPLETE PRESS NOTES
With a Victory over Lafayette, Bucknell Would ...
... snap an eight-game losing streak and improve to 4-14 on the season.
... win its first Patriot League game of the year and improve to 1-3 in the league.
... improve to 4-4 at home this season.
... defeat the Leopards for the 10th time in the last 11 meetings.
... improve to 8-0 against the Leopards at Sojka Pavilion.
About the Game
For the first time in 19 seasons in the Patriot League, Bucknell finds itself in an 0-3 predicament in conference play, and the Bison will try to ignite a resurgence on Wednesday night at home against Lafayette. Doomed by a rough first half, Bucknell fell to Holy Cross 68-56 on Saturday, extending its losing streak to eight in a row dating back to a Dec. 20 home win over Drexel. The Bison played well in the second half against the Crusaders, committing only two turnovers in the final 20 minutes while whittling a 20-point deficit down to three, and they will now look to carry over that solid play against a Lafayette team that drilled league frontrunner Navy 84-69 in Easton on Saturday. The Leopards have also beaten Colgate at home and lost to Holy Cross on the road for a 2-1 Patriot League mark. Lafayette, which has never won in Sojka Pavilion, is led offensively by one of the league’s most dangerous 3-point shooters in Andrew Brown, who tops the team in scoring at 14.8 ppg. Guard Jeff Kari also scores in double figures at 11.7 ppg.
How to Get the Game
The Bucknell-Lafayette game will not be televised, however live streaming video is available through Bison Vision and Patriot League All-Access. The game can be heard locally on the radio on Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM), with Doug Birdsong and Ed Sigl on the call. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off. The audio feed is available free of charge via BucknellBison.com and SportsJuice.com. Live statistics are available on GameTracker at BucknellBison.com.
Bucknell vs. Lafayette Series Notes
Bucknell and Lafayette have met 141 times previously, making the Leopards Bucknell’s second most-played opponent (the Bison have played Lehigh 148 times). Since the series began in 1915, Lafayette leads 83-58.
Since the start of Patriot League play in 1990-91, however, Bucknell has won 29 of 40 meetings.
The Bison had won eight straight against the Leopards until Lafayette won last season 80-68 in Easton.
Bucknell has won all seven previous matchups in Sojka Pavilion and is 16-3 against the Leopards in Lewisburg going back to the Patriot League’s first season. Lafayette is actually 0-8 all-time in Sojka, including a neutral-site loss to American in the 2006 Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals.
Bucknell vs. Lafayette Last Season
On Jan. 23 at Kirby Sports Center, Lafayette jumped out to a 27-8 lead and won 80-68 in a battle of 3-0 teams. Andrew Brown hit seven of the Leopards’ 14 3-pointers and scored 28 points. John Griffin led four Bison in double figures with 13 points. It was Bucknell’s first loss to a Patriot League team other than Holy Cross since Jan. 30, 2005, at Navy.
On Feb. 20 at Sojka Pavilion, Bucknell prevailed 77-75 in overtime thanks to the heroics of a freshman and a sophomore on Senior Night. Rookie Darryl Shazier hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 13 seconds left in regulation to send it to OT, and sophomore Stephen Tyree won it with a drive to the basket with 2.9 seconds left in the extra period. Five Bison scored in double figures, led by 16 from Patrick Behan and 13 from Griffin. Brown scored 17 for the Leopards, who also had five players score in double figures.
Last season Bucknell and Lafayette split two games, with the home team winning each time.
Numbers to Watch
These two teams have been fairly similar statistically this season. Both teams rank in the top half of the league in scoring offense, but the Bison and Leopards also allow the most points in the league. Both teams have been outrebounded by four caroms per night. Bucknell has shot slightly better from 3-point range (.341 to .335), but Lafayette has been significantly better from the foul line (.757 to .639).
Both teams rely heavily on a freshman. For Bucknell, Bryan Cohen has started every game in the backcourt and averages 11.6 ppg, second on the team. Lafayette rookie forward Ryan Willen recently joined the starting lineup and leads the team in rebounding at 4.4 rpg. He also averages 8.4 ppg, fourth on the squad.
Bucknell has been foul-prone at times this season, allowing opponents to shoot 134 more free throws on the season. The Bison will need to be wary of fouling against the Patriot League’s best free-throw shooting team. The Leopards have shot 75.7% from the line on the season, and in three Patriot League games they are a stellar 64-for-75 (.853) as a team.
Bucknell and Lafayette faced just one common non-league opponent. The Leopards won 73-67 at Wagner to start the season, while the Bison lost at home to the Seahawks, 83-79, on Nov. 29.
Some relevent stats involving Bucknell and Lafayette:
The current eight-game losing streak is Bucknell’s longest since it started the 1994-95 season -- Pat Flannery’s first as Bucknell’s head coach -- with an 0-8 record.
Dating back to last season, the Bison have lost five straight regular-season Patriot League games. The only streak as long as that in Bucknell’s tenure in the league was five games in 2001.
Last Wednesday’s loss to American dropped the Bison to 0-10 on the road this season and extended their road losing streak to 11 games dating back to last season. It is Bucknell’s longest road losing streak since the 1953-54 and 1954-55 seasons, when the team lost 15 straight on the road.
The Bison have a handful of streaks going that they would like to put a stop to:
Last Time Out
Andrew Keister posted 18 points and 10 rebounds and Holy Cross used a dominant effort on the boards and good free-throw shooting to outlast Bucknell 68-56 before a large Sojka Pavilion crowd on Saturday afternoon. After falling behind 35-15 in the opening minutes of the second half, the Bison rallied all the way back within 3-points on G.W. Boon’s 3-pointer with 5:22 to play. But Alex Vander Baan immediately answered with a trey for the Crusaders, and the visitors led by at least five the rest of the way. Holy Cross ourrebounded the Bison 43-28 and held Bucknell to only four offensive rebounds and two second-chance points. The Crusaders then put the game away from the foul line, canning 14 of their last 15 and 31 of 40 on the day.
Inside the Holy Cross Boxscore
Bucknell shot only 27.8% in the first half ... and was the better-shooting team. Holy Cross shot 26.9% but gained a 30-15 halftime lead thanks to 14 made free throws and 13 Bucknell turnovers.
Patrick Behan led the Bison with 12 points, 10 of them coming in the second half.
G.W. Boon played a career-high 37 minutes as a reserve and scored 11 points. Boon was 3-for-6 from 3-point range but 0-for-5 inside the arc.
Jason Vegotsky came back after missing the previous game with a hamstring injury and tallied a season-high 11 points. Vegotsky made a career-high six free throws in seven attempts.
Darryl Shazier played all 40 minutes in the game, becoming the first Bison to play an entire game in six years. The last to do it was Dan Blankenship against Lafayette in 2003.
Shazier had six assists without a turnover, giving him 30 assists and four turnovers in his last five games.
Bucknell committed only two turnovers in the second half after giving it away 13 times in the first period.
Bucknell drew a season-high three charging fouls in the game. Boon, Shazier and Bryan Cohen all took one for the team.
Rebounding Ups and Downs
In its last two games Bucknell has had its best rebounding game of the season and its worst rebounding game of the year. The Bison outrebounded American 49-37 last Wednesday, setting season bests for most rebounds and best margin. Then on Saturday Bucknell was outdone 43-28 on the glass against Holy Cross. Those were season lows for total rebounds and margin.
Logging the Minutes
Bucknell has three of the Patriot League’s top seven players in minutes played this season:
1. Derrick Mercer, American 36.5
2. Garrison Carr, American 35.9
3. Darryl Shazier, Bucknell 35.4
4. Chris Harris, Navy 34.9
5. Brian Gilmore, American 33.1
6. Justin Castleberry, Bucknell 32.8
7. Bryan Cohen, Bucknell 32.6
Shazier Regains League Lead in Assists
With 30 assists (and only four turnovers) in his last five games, sophomore point guard Darryl Shazier has regained the Patriot League lead in assists. He is now averaging 5.00 per game, just ahead of Lehigh’s Marquis Hall (4.94). Shazier is one of only two regulars in the league with at least twice as many asssists as turnovers. Lehigh’s Prentice Small leads the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.44, with Shazier No. 2 at 2.24.
A Boon Off the Bench
Sophomore wing G.W. Boon missed a large portion of preseason practice with a shoulder injury, and his offensive production has recently begun to flourish. After totaling 14 points in the first four games of the year, Boon has 166 points in his last 13 games (a 12.8 ppg average). That includes a career-best 24-point showing against Wagner on Nov. 29, last Saturday’s 20-point game against Navy, a 15-point effort at Cornell and four 14-point games. Boon leads the Bison and ranks fifth in the Patriot League in points per minute (.456) this season.
Patriot League Points-per-Minute Leaders (overall scoring rank):
1. Kaleo Kina, Navy .612 (1)
2. Zahir Carrington, Lehigh .497 (5)
3. Garrison Carr, American .496 (2)
4. Andrew Brown, Lafayette .468 (4)
5. G.W. Boon, Bucknell .456 (14)
Junior Patrick Behan is putting his English major to good use as a guest blogger for The New York Times’ college sports blog called "The Quad." Behan has now penned eight installments -- the latest was posted on Monday -- and will be contributing regularly throughout the 2008-09 basketball season. To read his entries, visit http://thequad.blogs.nytimes.com/author/pbehan/.
Who’s Got Next?
Bucknell wraps up its three-game homestand on Saturday night against Colgate at Sojka Pavilion (7 p.m.). It will be Pat Flannery Appreciation Night at Sojka, with a special halftime ceremony planned in Flannery’s honor.