Patriot League Men's Basketball Weekend Preview - 1.20.12

PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG Lafayette's Ryan Willen
PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG
Lafayette's Ryan Willen
PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG

Jan. 20, 2012

Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 1.20.12 Get Acrobat Reader

Center Valley, Pa. - After each winning a key game on the road during the week, Bucknell, American and Lafayette return home for the weekend to try to move further away from the pack in the Patriot League men's basketball standings.

The Bison improved to 4-0 in the League, and have won 14 in a row against Patriot League opponents, after a 68-61 win at Lehigh on Wednesday. Mike Muscala led the way with 20 points and 12 rebounds as the Bison held off charges from the Mountain Hawks in the second half. Bucknell will return home for five of its next seven games, beginning on Saturday when Holy Cross pays a visit to Lewisburg.

While Lehigh lost to the Bison, its rival Lafayette enters Sunday's showdown with momentum. The Leopards came back from a 10-point halftime deficit for a 54-43 win at Holy Cross Thursday on CBS Sports Network. Lafayette used second-half runs of 17-2 and 16-2 to make up the gap. Lafayette Head Coach Fran O'Hanlon tied the Patriot League record with his 234th victory, and will go for sole possession of the mark when the Leopards host Lehigh Sunday at 2 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

American will try to remain perfect at home this season when it welcomes Army on Saturday at 2 p.m. Both teams have won two consecutive games, with the Eagles winning 67-60 at Navy and the Black Knights posting a 91-75 victory at home against Colgate on Wednesday. Army hit a school record 16 three-pointers and came back from a double-digit deficit for the win.

Two teams will go for their first Patriot League victory when Navy visits Colgate on Saturday afternoon. Both squads have started 0-4 in League action. Navy's Ed DeChellis and Colgate's Matt Langel also seek their first Patriot League win at the helm.

Bucknell holds the early lead in the Patriot League race at 4-0, one game ahead of American and Lafayette at 3-1. Army, Holy Cross and Lehigh all follow at 2-2 before Navy and Colgate at 0-4.

Each of Saturday's games will be available through Patriot League All-Access, which can be purchased for a monthly rate of $7.95. All-Access also includes all of the archived games from the 2012 Patriot League season.

Patriot League Notebook

Bucknell Runs Patriot League Win Streak to 14
Bucknell posted yet another impressive Patriot League win on Wednesday, as the Bison held off Lehigh for a 68-61 win over the Mountain Hawks on the road. It was Bucknell's 14th straight win against a Patriot League opponent, tied for the second-longest active streak of victories against conference foes in Division I. Only Long Island has more with 20 consecutive wins against Northeast Conference opponents. The Bison are one of 26 teams that remained unbeaten in conference play, and one of seven that are the defending champion in their league. Bucknell has trailed for only 3:02 and has been tied after 0-0 for a total of 1:09 in its first four League contests. Bucknell has won 11 straight regular-season Patriot League games. The Bison have won six road games and eight home contests during their streak of 14 in a row against League opponents, and will enjoy plenty of home cooking in the near future with five of their next seven contests at Sojka Pavilion. Bucknell has won 11 in a row at home against Patriot League teams since falling to Holy Cross in the 2010 League Tournament quarterfinals. The Bison have won 14 straight regular-season Patriot League contests at Sojka Pavilion, with the last loss coming in the 2010 League opener against Navy. Bucknell has won six in a row overall, among the top 20 active streaks in Division I. The success is nothing new, either, as the Bison became the first program to go 100 games over .500 in Patriot League play as the win at Lehigh improved their all-time League ledger to 192-92.

Consecutive Wins vs. Conference Opponents
20 - Long Island (Northeast Conference)
14 - Bucknell (Patriot League)
14 - UNC-Asheville (Big South)
13 - Kansas (Big 12)
10 - Kentucky (SEC)

Lafayette's O'Hanlon Ties Patriot League All-Time Wins Mark
Lafayette Head Coach Fran O'Hanlon tied the Patriot League all-times wins mark on Thursday with a 54-43 victory at Holy Cross, doing so on national television in a game shown on CBS Sports Network. He recorded his 234th victory at Lafayette, tying former Bucknell Head Coach Pat Flannery (1994-08) for the most in Patriot League history. O'Hanlon will try to break the mark in another CBS Sports Network game when the Leopards host rival Lehigh on Sunday at 2 p.m. He also holds Patriot League records for overall (484) and League (213) games coached, and his total of 108 Patriot League wins is second only to Flannery.

Patriot League Games Being Decided Early
There were two more double-digit victories during the week, making it 11 of 16 Patriot League games that have been decided by 10 points or more. The other two contests on Wednesday were seven-point affairs, and only twice has a Patriot League game been decided by fewer than five points. Nine of the 16 games have featured no lead changes or ties in the second half, while in three others the winning team trailed just once by one point after intermission. There have been four games with no lead changes at all, and an additional four where the lead remained in the winning team's hands for the final 32 minutes or more. Bucknell has been the most dominant winner, as the Bison have trailed for a total of 3:02 in their first four League games.

Lehigh's McCollum Sets Patriot League Player of the Week Record
Lehigh junior C.J. McCollum set the League's all-time mark for Player of the Week awards with his ninth career honor on Monday. He broke the record of eight previously held by 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 1,725 career points place him 51 behind Foyle for the most by a Patriot League player through their junior season.

McCollum, Hinkle Among Top Scorers Nationally
Despite both finishing below their average on Wednesday, Lehigh's C.J. McCollum and American's Charles Hinkle remain in a heated scoring race both in the Patriot League and on the national leaderboard. McCollum leads the Patriot League and is seventh in the country with 20.9 points per game for the year, while Hinkle lingers just behind at 20.3 points per contest to place 11th in the nation. The duo is also being pushed by Army's Ella Ellis, who is third in the Patriot League and in the top 50 in Division I with 18.0 points per game.

Patriot League with Busy Schedule on CBS Sports Network
The Patriot League is nearly halfway through its packed January schedule on CBS Sports Network, which continues on Sunday with Lehigh at Lafayette at 2 p.m. The January slate wraps up next week with Navy at Lehigh on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Colgate visiting Holy Cross two days later at 5 p.m. The slate has already featured Army's win at Navy and Lafayette's victory over Holy Cross in the past week. Eleven Patriot League men's basketball contests will be broadcast by CBS Sports Network during the regular season, and the Patriot League Men's Basketball Championship will be televised on CBS Sports Network for the first time on March 7 at 7 p.m. In addition, CBS Sports Network will broadcast both semifinal games of the Patriot League Tournament on March 3 at 2 and 4:30 p.m.

Slow Starts for First-Year Head Coaches
Colgate Head Coach Matt Langel and Navy's Ed DeChellis both remain in search of their first Patriot League victory after falling to 0-4 on Wednesday. The Raiders hit the mark for the first time in League history, while the Mids are 0-4 in the Patriot League for the second year in a row. The fortune will turn for one of the coaches on Saturday when Navy pays a visit to Colgate.

Home Dominance Not Carrying Over to League Play
Patriot League teams had a great stretch at home in non-League action, but so far the venue has not meant all that much during League play. The first 16 League contests have been split 8-8 between home and road winners, this after Patriot League teams went 35-13 at home during non-League action. American remains perfect at home overall at 8-0, but Lehigh and Holy Cross saw seven and six-game home win streaks, resepctively, come to an end on Wednesday. The overall home marks are still strong, as Bucknell (7-1) and Lehigh (5-1) have just one loss at home and Holy Cross (6-2), Army (7-3) and Colgate (4-3) have winning home records overall to go with American's undefeated mark at Bender Arena.

Nine Active 1,000-Point Scorers
Lehigh's C.J. McCollum leads the active group of 1,000-point scorers and is ninth all-time with 1,725 points. He is part of a group of nine active 1,000-point scorers in the Patriot League, and is followed by Lafayette's Ryan Willen (1,285), Holy Cross' Devin Brown (1,281), Navy's Jordan Sugars (1,230), Lafayette's Jim Mower (1,199), Colgate's Yaw Gyawu (1,171), Army's Julian Simmons (1,139), Bucknell's Mike Muscala (1,119) and Holy Cross' R.J. Evans (1,079). Bucknell's Bryan Cohen appears to be the next player headed for the list as he is within 15 points of 1,000. Sugars (1,230/580), McCollum (1,725/523) and Muscala (1,119/579) are among 28 players in League history with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds, while the latter is one of only four of that group to also add 150 blocks to his total.

Navy's Avila Doing it All
Navy sophomore J.J. Avila has not reached the 1,000-point plateau just yet, but his numbers are putting the reigning Patriot League Rookie of the Year in position to occupy spots in the record book before his career is done. Avila had another strong game on Wednesdsay with 24 points and six steals in Navy's loss to American. He ranks in the top five in the Patriot League in scoring (16.5), rebounding (7.0), steals (1.8) and field goal percentage (50.9)

0-2 Start Could Not Stop this Trio
Starting the season with an 0-2 record would not deter Lehigh, Bucknell or American as each squad has bounced back nicely from the slow start. The Mountain Hawks (14-6), Bison (14-6) and Eagles (12-7) all have gaudy winning percentages since their 0-2 records. Bucknell has added to its surge with a 4-0 Patriot League record, while the Eagles are 3-1 and Mountain Hawks stand 2-2 in League action.

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. All three of Saturday's games will be available on Patriot League All-Access. To purchase the All-Access package, go to the multimedia tab at the top of the front page at www.patriotleague.org.

Patriot League Games

Holy Cross Crusaders (8-10, 2-2) at Bucknell Bison (14-6, 4-0)
Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pa.; Saturday, 7 p.m.

Series: Bucknell, 30-25
Streak: Bucknell, Two Wins Last Meeting: Bucknell 60, Holy Cross 56 (2.12.2011)
Last Holy Cross Win: 67-64 (3.3.2010) Last Five Games: Bucknell, 3-2

One of the top rivalries in Patriot League men's basketball has another rendition when Holy Cross visits Bucknell on Saturday evening...The Bison carry a 14-game winning streak against Patriot League opponents into the contest, and have won 11 in a row against League foes at Sojka Pavilion...Hoy Cross was the last Patriot League team to win in the arena, beating Bucknell 67-64 in the 2010 Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals...The Bison exacted revenge last season by beating Holy Cross 74-72 at home on Jan. 16 and 60-56 on the road on Feb. 12...The last four meetings have been decided by five points or less...The Bison are trying to open League play 5-0 for the second year in a row after going 6-0 last season...Bucknell holds a 30-25 lead in a series that has been played entirely as Patriot League members.

Holy Cross The Crusaders never could get on track on offense and fell 54-43 at home against Lafayette on Thursday evening...Holy Cross took a 24-14 lead into the half by holding Lafayette to 6-of-31 shooting in the first half, but quickly fell behind as the Leopards began the second half with a 17-2 run...Holy Cross responded with a 10-2 run to go up 36-33 with 11:51 to go, but Lafayette came right back with a 16-2 stretch to go on to the victory...Holy Cross made just 18-of-54 field goals and 1-of-14 from three-point range in the game...The Crusaders held a 38-31 edge on the boards but committed 14 turnovers...Mike Cavataio and Devin Brown shared team honors with eight points apiece...Holy Cross saw its six-game home winning streak come to an end and suffered only its second loss at the Hart Center this season..Holy Cross begins a stretch on Saturday of playing four of five games on the road....It plays a second straight road game on Wednesday with a visit to Army.

Bucknell Bucknell had an answer for every Lehigh run and scored the final five points at the line to hold off the Mountain Hawks 68-61 in a matchup of the past two Patriot League champions on Wednesday at Stabler Arena...The defending champion Bison have won 14 straight games against Patriot League foes, and 11 consecutive regular-season League contests...It was their sixth consecutive League road win in that stretch, including a 3-0 mark this season...Bucknell won its sixth game in a row overall and fifth straight on the road..The Bison trailed just three times for a total of 1:30 in the game, and have only been behind for a total of 3:02 in the first four Patriot League games...Bucknell fell behind early in the second half as Lehigh used a 10-2 run to take a 44-43 lead, but the Bison quickly recovered and used a 12-3 run to re-claim the lead for good...After Lehigh scored seven straight to close the gap to 55-54, Mike Muscala and Cameron Ayers each hit three-pointers to push the lead back to four, and Muscala added a jumper that gave the Bison a 63-59 edge with 3:04 left...Lehigh missed three-pointers to take the lead and tie in the final minute, and Ayers and Muscala each connected on a pair of free throws in the final 20 seconds to ice the win for the Bison... Muscala finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season...Ayers added 13, while Bryan Cohen scored 12 and Willman finished with 11...Ayers, Muscala and Cohen combined to make 8-of-11 three-point attempts...Ryan Hill chipped in with four points, five assists and six rebounds...The Bison made 20-of-23 free throws while shooting just under 40 percent overall at 20-of-51...They had 17 assists on their 20 field goals and committed only eight turnovers... Bucknell limited Lehigh to just 21-of-59 (35.6%) from the field and 7-of-24 (29.2%) from three-point range and became the first team this season to hold the Mountain Hawks under 70 points...Bucknell won its fourth straight game against Lehigh, and starts 4-0 in the Patriot League for the second year in a row...The Bison play a second straight home game on Wednesday when American comes to town.

Army Black Knights (9-10, 2-2) at American Eagles (12-7, 3-1)
Bender Arena, Washington, D.C.; Saturday, 2 p.m.

Series: American, 21-3 TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic (CSNMA)
Streak: American, Three Wins Last Meeting: American 65, Army 59 (2.16.2011)
Last Army Win: 68-48 (1.20.2010) Last Five Games: American, 4-1

American will try to add another notch to its home-court dominance this season and historically against Army when it welcomes the Black Knights to Bender Arena on Saturday afternoon...The game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic...The Eagles are a perfect 8-0 at home this season, and have won all 12 meetings against the Black Knights at Bender Arena...American swept last year's season series, nipping the Black Knights 65-62 at home on Jan. 19 and 65-59 at Army on Feb. 16...The Eagles have won three in a row against Army, and hold a 21-2 edge against the Black Knights as Patriot League members...American is trying to get to 4-1 in the Patriot League for the second year in a row and third time in the past four seasons, while Army is in search of its first 3-2 League start since 2007.

Army The Black Knights made a school record 16 three-pointers to overcome a double-digit deficit and pull away from Colgate for a 91-75 victory on Wednesday at Christl Arena...They trailed 45-32 with less than four minutes to play in the first half before taking over the game with the barrage from long range...Army scored the final nine points of the first half to get within 45-41 at the break, and surged ahead with 13 consecutive points early in the second half for a 62-51 advantage with 12:54 to go...Colgate got back to within five points two minutes later, but Army responded with a 9-2 run and led by double digits the rest of the way in the 16-point victory...Army was lights out from three-point range by hitting at a 16-of-29 (55.2%) clip, making 8-of-12 in the 50-point second half...The Black Knights have hit 29-of-52 three-pointers in the past two games, both victories...Julian Simmons went 8-of-10 from three-point range for 24 points, connecting on a career high from beyond the arc and finishing just one off the school record...Ella Ellis had 22 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Josh Herbeck went 5-of-8 from three-point range and finished with 15 points and four assists...Freshmen Maxwell Lenox and Milton Washington each added 11 points...Army dished out 23 assists with just nine turnovers, and made 33-of-62 shots (53.2%) in the game...The Black Knights forced 17 Colgate turnovers...Army has won consecutive League contests for the first time since 2009...The Black Knights come back to Christl Arena on Wednesday when they take on Holy Cross.

American American built a 25-point second-half lead and held on down the stretch for a 67-60 win at Navy on Wednesday at Alumni Hall...The Eagles appeared to be on their way to an easy victory, as they took the lead for good eight minutes into the contest and built a 38-22 advantage at the break...American opened the second half with an 11-2 run to stretch the lead to 49-24, but Navy began to claw back from there..The Mids got all the way to within four points at 62-58 with 1:15 to go...American stepped up to seal the win at the foul line in the final minute, as Daniel Munoz made all four of his free-throw attempts and the Eagles held on for the seven-point win...Charles Hinkle had his second consecutive double-double with identical numbers of 17 points and 10 rebounds as he posted in Saturday's win over Holy Cross...Munoz added 13 points and seven assists for the Eagles, while Troy Brewer scored 11...American had a solid shooting night, making 21-of-41 (51.2%) from the field, 10-of-15 (66.7%) from three-point range and 15-of-19 (78.9%) at the foul line...The Eagles limited Navy to 4-of-20 shooting from beyond the arc...American beat Navy for the seventh time in the last eight meetings, and starts 3-1 in the Patriot League for the second year in a row...The Eagles venture back on the road Wednesday when they visit Bucknell in a showdown of top teams early in the Patriot League race.

Lehigh Mountain Hawks (14-6, 2-2) at Lafayette Leopards (8-11, 3-1)
Kirby Sports Center; Easton, Pa.; Sunday, 2 p.m.

Series: Lafayette, 138-77 TV: CBS Sports Network
Streak: Lehigh, Three Wins Last Meeting: Lehigh 67, Lafayette 66 (2.20.2011)
Last Lafayette Win: 90-75 (2.21.2010) Last Five Games: Lehigh, 4-1

Lehigh Valley bragging rights and positioning in the top half of the Patriot League standings are at stake when rivals Lehigh and Lafayette meet in Easton on Sunday at 2 p.m. on CBS Sports Network...Lafayette Head Coach Fran O'Hanlon would become the Patriot League's all-time winningest coach with a victory...The Mountain Hawks have won the past three games against the Leopards, including a season sweep last year...Lehigh won 79-62 at Lafayette on Jan. 22 before a dramatic 67-66 victory at home on Feb. 20...Gabe Knutson scored the game-winning basket with five seconds left for the Mountain Hawks...Lehigh has won two of the last three meetings at Kirby Sports Center...Lafayette aims to start 4-1 in the Patriot League for the third time in the past five years, and first since 2010...Lafayette holds a 138-77 edge in the series, with Lehigh holding a slight 24-22 lead as Patriot League members.

Lehigh The Mountain Hawks suffered their first home defeat of the season as they never could overcome Bucknell in a 68-61 loss to the Bison on Wednesday...Lehigh had been 5-0 at home this season and carried a seven-game home winning streak at Stabler Arena...The Mountain Hawks led only twice at 2-0 and 14-13 in the first half, and used a 10-2 run early in the second half to take their last lead of the game at 44-43...Bucknell went back ahead with a 12-3 run, but Lehigh scored seven straight to cut the gap back to 55-54...The Mountain Hawks were within 63-61 late in the game, but Holden Greiner missed a three-point attempt for the lead and C.J. McCollum was off on a three to tie on the next possession as Bucknell went on to the seven-point win... McCollum led the Mountain Hawks with 14 points and a career-high nine assists, but was limited to 5-of-15 shooting by the Bison...John Adams was the only other Mountain Hawk in double figures with 10 points...Lehigh's five starters went 14-of-46 from the field as the team scored 17 points below its average for the season and was held under 70 points for the first time this year...Lehigh shot 21-of-59 overall and 7-of-24 from three-point range...The Mountain Hawks outrebounded the Bison, the top rebounding team in the Patriot League, 38-33...Lehigh closes the first half of the Patriot League schedule with a pair of home games, with the first coming on Thursday against Navy on CBS Sports Network.

Lafayette Lafayette Head Coach Fran O'Hanlon tied the all-time Patriot League wins mark on Thursday night by leading his squad back from a double-digit deficit for a 54-43 win over Holy Cross at the Hart Center...O'Hanlon, in his 17th season at Lafayette, earned his 234th victory at the school...It matched former Bucknell Head Coach Pat Flannery (1994-08) for the most wins by a Patriot League head coach...It did not look promising early for the Leopards, who shot 6-for-31 in the first half and trailed 24-14 at the break...Lafayette turned things around to start the second half, opening the period with a 17-2 run in just over four minutes to take the lead...Holy Cross came back with a run of its own, as a 10-2 surge gave the Crusaders a 36-33 lead with 11:51 left...But the last big run belonged to the Leopards, as Lafayette went on a 16-2 stretch to build the lead to double digits on its way to the 11-point win...Ryan Willen, Dan Trist and Tony Johnson shared scoring honors with 11 points each for the Leopards...Jim Mower added nine points with five assists...After the cold shooting first half, Lafayette made 13-of-25 shots, 6-of-9 from three-point range and 8-of-8 at the foul line in a 40-point second half...The Leopards held Holy Cross to 33.3 percent shooting overall and limited the Crusaders to just 1-of-14 from three-point range...Lafayette won at Holy Cross for the second straight time after dropping the previous eight meetings in Worcester...The Leopards have won five of the last seven matchups overall against the Crusaders...Lafayette goes on the road to Hamilton on Wednesday to face off with Colgate.

Navy Midshipmen (3-15, 0-4) at Colgate Raiders (5-13, 0-4)
Cotterell Court; Hamilton, N.Y. Saturday, 2 p.m.

Series: Colgate, 25-24 TV: Time Warner Sports Central New York (TW)
Streak: Navy, Two Wins Last Meeting: Navy 75, Colgate 55 (2.26.2010)
Last Colgate Win: 85-73 (2.27.2010) Last Five Games: Navy, 3-2

One of the Patriot League's first-year head coaches will get their first League victory when Navy visits Colgate on Saturday afternoon....Both teams are 0-4, with the Mids at the mark for the second year in a row and Colgate losing its first four League contests for the first time...Each sqaud also tries to snap a long losing skid overall, with the Mids dropping 11 in a row and Colgate coming in with eight straight defeats...The Mids swept last year's season series, posting an 81-78 win in double overtime at Colgate on Jan. 29 and a 75-55 victory at home against the Raiders in the regular-season finale on Feb. 26... Navy has won five of the past seven against the Raiders...The all-time series has been very close with Colgate holding a 25-24 edge and the teams tied 20-20 in regular-season Patriot League games.

Navy Despite a valiant comeback effort, a 25-point deficit was too much to overcome as Navy dropped a 67-60 final at home against American on Wednesday...The Mids dropped their 11th straight game overall and start 0-4 in the Patriot League for the second season in a row...Navy was down 38-22 at halftime and 49-24 early in the second half before storming back to make it a game in the final minutes... The Mids scored 11 straight points to get back within single digits at 55-47 with 4:44 to go, and came as close as four points when J.J. Avila's layup made it 62-58 with 1:15 left...American hit its foul shots down the stretch to keep the Mids from getting all the way back for the win... Avila continued his outstanding play with 24 points, six steals and four rebounds... It was his third straight 20-point game and second in a row with six steals...Jordan Sugars finished with 11 and Brandon Venturini scored 10...Navy committed only nine turnovers, but struggled from three-point range and was 22-of-52 (42.3%) overall from the field...The Mids will appear on CBS Sports Network for a second time this season when they visit Lehigh on Thursday.

Colgate The Raiders were not able to sustain a hot start and fell 91-75 at Army on Wednesday...They fell to 0-4 in the Patriot League for the first time...Colgate came out on fire to build a 45-32 lead with less than four minutes to play in the first half, but Army scored the final nine points of the period and carried the momentum into the second half...Colgate still held a 51-49 lead when Army scored 13 consecutive points to go ahead for good...The Raiders got back to within five at 63-58 with more than 10 minutes to play, but Army responded with a 9-2 run and led by double digits the rest of the way... The Raiders had three players in double figures, as Mike Venezia finished with 16 points, Pat Moore had 15 and Mitch Rolls scored 14...The trio combined to make 18-of-31 shots and 9-of-17 from three-point range...Colgate was over 50 percent shooting at 30-of-58 for the game, but could not overcome Army's hot hand as the Black Knights hit a school record 16 three-pointers...The Raiders play a second straight home game on Wednesday when they welcome Lafayette.