Jan. 21, 2008
Center Valley, Pa. - Bucknell travels to Lafayette in the highlight of four Wednesday night Patriot League games, and only one undefeated team will remain when the contest is complete. Both teams enter the matchup with 3-0 records in the Patriot League, one game ahead of third-place American. The Eagles will try to finish the night in a tie for second place in the League by winning at Army. Colgate and Lehigh are both looking to get to .500 in League play when they meet in Bethlehem. Preseason favorite Holy Cross is the only team still in search of its first Patriot League victory, and will try to get it at home against Navy.
Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 1.21.08
Anaconda Player of the Week (Jan. 14-20)
Bilal Abdullah, Lafayette Sr., G, 6'5, 200, Anchorage, Alaska/Tabor Academy
Abdullah was instrumental in a 2-0 week for the Leopards, with 26.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest and huge plays in a pair of overtime victories. He scored 18 points and pulled down six rebounds on Wednesday against Colgate, and scored the game-winning basket in the 69-68 victory on a tip-in with 3.5 seconds left in overtime. On Saturday at Navy, Abdullah scored a career-high 34 points and notched five rebounds. He scored 21 points in the second half, and sent the game to overtime with a three-point play with 18 seconds left. He then scored seven of Lafayette's 18 points in overtime. Abdullah made 19-of-28 (67.9 percent) of his shots for the week, including 8-of-10 from three-point range. He converted 12-of-17 shots while posting the career high in points against Navy. Abdullah is averaging 15.0 points per game for the season, and has put up 22 per game in three League contests. Abdullah earns his first-ever Player of the Week honor.
Anaconda Rookie of the Week (Jan. 14-20)
Rob Keefer, Lehigh Fr., G, 6'3, 185, North Wales, Pa./Abington Friends
Keefer earns his fourth Patriot League/Anaconda Rookie of the Week award after averaging 9.5 ppg in a 1-1 week for the Mountain Hawks. He scored eight points in a 57-52 win on Sunday at Army, where he made the eventual game-winning shot with 1:21 remaining in the contest. He scored 11 points on Wednesday at Navy, connecting on 3-of-5 shots from three-point range. Keefer is averaging 8.6 points per game for the year, while making 50 percent of his three-point shots.
Patriot League Notebook
The road was kind for Patriot League teams over the weekend. Three of the winners came on the road, beginning with Bucknell winning, 73-65, at Holy Cross in a spirited game on Friday night. Lafayette won its road contest in dramatic fashion by rallying from 15 points down in regulation to defeat Navy, 103-99, in overtime. Lehigh completed the trio of road victors and also rallied from an early 15-point deficit to earn the first Patriot League win for Head Coach Brett Reed with a 57-52 triumph at Army. American showed you can win at home and can hold an early lead by making a 14-point halftime edge stand up in a 65-57 triumph over Colgate.
Working Overtime Again....and Again
Lafayette is getting pretty comfortable playing 45 minutes of basketball. In fact, the Leopards became the first team in NCAA history to win five overtime games on the road and tied the record with six overtime wins overall when they beat Navy, 103-99, on Saturday. The Leopards also defeated Colgate, 69-68, in overtime on Wednesday. Lafayette is 6-0 in the extra session this year, which gives them three more overtime wins than any other team in the country. Only three other teams have even played in four overtime contests thus far. The overtime success is nothing new for the Leopards, who have won 10 consecutive overtime contests since losing to Colgate in the 2004 Patriot League quarterfinals. The Leopards have won 13 consecutive regular-season overtime contests since falling to Holy Cross in 2002. The overtime success has helped Lafayette to a 12-6 overall record, which already gives it three more wins than the entire 2006-07 total of nine. At 3-0 in the Patriot League, the Leopards have equaled last year's League win total.
Through the first 12 Patriot League games, two things have proven meaningless: home court and an early lead. The games have been split evenly with six home teams winning and six road victors, including three over the weekend. And holding the lead even into the second half has not been a sign of winning, either. Nine of the 12 eventual winners had to overcome a second-half deficit, with five of those comebacks from six points or more down.
Lighting up the League
Big players are supposed to step up in big games, and that is exactly what has happened early in the Patriot League season. While only two players are averaging over 18 points per game for the season, six are at the mark through the first three games of League play. Navy's Greg Sprink leads the way in points and rebounds with 28.3 ppg and 10.0 rpg so far. American's Garrison Carr (25.3 ppg) and Lafayette's Bilal Abdullah (22.0 ppg) are both over 20 per game in League play, while Navy's Kaleo Kina (19.0 ppg) and Chris Harris (18.0 ppg) and Bucknell's Justin Castleberry (18.7 ppg) complete the group of players over 18 points a game.
In Good Company
Navy's Greg Sprink was already in impressive company after pulling down his 500th career rebound on Wednesday, but a 33-point effort in Saturday's overtime loss to Lafayette puts him in even rarer air. Sprink became the seventh player in Patriot League history to score 1,500 points and total 500 rebounds in his career. He has 1,504 points and 521 rebounds total. To make it even more special, Sprink has also topped the 200-assist mark in his career, and is only the third Patriot Leaguer to go for 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 200 assists. Brian Ehlers (Lafayette, 1996-00) and Pat Campoplieta (Colgate, 1998-02) are the others. Sprink tops it off with an 83.9 career foul shooting percentage, which currently places fourth on the League's all-time list.
With a 60-54 record and three games remaining, the Patriot League is assured of its best-ever non-League mark in the regular season. Patriot League teams have tied the record for total non-League victories, which was set at 60 just last season when the League finished an even 60-60 (60-59 regular season). With three non-League games remaining, the eight teams will finish at least three games over .500 in the 2007-08 regular season, which would top the best overall mark of 54-53 set in 2001 (54-52 in regular season). Earlier in the year, the Patriot League became the first Division I conference to have every one of its teams record a road victory and the second to have all of its members beat a Division I opponent.
Watch and Listen to Patriot League Men's Hoops
With coverage on ESPNU, regional cable outlets and the Patriot League All-Access package, Patriot League men's basketball games are gaining more exposure than ever. Now, fans can also see highlights of the games and listen to audio interviews with Patriot League head coaches by clicking on the multimedia clips link at the sidebar of the men's basketball page at www.patriotleague.com. The page features mid-week and weekend highlights from games on Patriot League All-Access, with the package for mid-week games posted on Friday afternoon and the weekend games up on Tuesday afternoon. It also has the post-game wrapups of ESPNU broadcasts, and midseason audio interviews with Patriot League head coaches.
Patriot League All-Access
Watch the majority of Patriot League Men's and Women's Basketball regular-season and tournament games on high-speed Broadband. For $7.95 a month, this cutting-edge technology takes you from your seat to the sideline with multi-camera coverage. Visit your school's website or www.PatriotLeague.com for more information.
Time to Get SIRIUS
The Patriot League has once again partnered with SIRIUS Satellite Radio to broadcast select men's basketball games for the 2007-08 season. The League has three games set for January's schedule, with Bucknell's 73-65 win over Holy Cross broadcast on Friday. The schedule began with Lafayette's 60-52 victory over Holy Cross in the Patriot League season opener on Jan. 12. The Bison's matchup at home against Colgate on Jan. 26 will wrap up the January schedule. All seven games of the 2008 Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament will also be aired. In addition to the Patriot League package, Lehigh at Army (1/20) and Army at Navy (1/27) will be heard on SIRIUS via insitutional packages. The schedule of Patriot League games for February will be announced at a later date.
Patriot League Games
Bucknell (8-9, 3-0) at Lafayette (12-6, 3-0), Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Kirby Sports Center, Easton, Pa.
Series: Lafayette, 82-57 Streak: Bucknell, Eight Wins Last Meeting: Bucknell 76-58 (2.15.07)
Bucknell The Bison improved to 3-0 in the Patriot League for the third time in four years with a 73-65 win at Holy Cross on Friday...Bucknell has a 14-game regular-season League winning streak, and has not lost a regular-season game since falling at Holy Cross, 65-60, on Jan. 12, 2007...The Bison lost twice at the Hart Center last season...After the game was tied at 46, Bucknell used a 10-2 run to take control down the stretch...Justin Castleberry scored eight straight Bucknell points during the run...Castleberry clinched the game at the line, going 7-for-8 in the final 1:09...He scored 15 of his career-high tying 22 points in the second half...Castleberry set personal bests for free throws made and attempted (13-for-15)...He has scored in double figures in seven straight games...Jason Vegotsky went 4-for-5 from 3-point range and scored 14 points, while Stephen Tyree tied a career high with 10...Tyree has reached that number three times in the last four games and is 16-for-19 from the field over that span...First place in the Patriot League is on the line at Lafayette, with both teams entering at 3-0 in League play...The Bison have won the last eight meetings between the teams, with seven coming by double digits.
Lafayette The Leopards became the first team in NCAA history to win five overtime road games in a season with a 103-99 win at Navy on Saturday...They tied the NCAA mark of six overall overtime victories in a year...Lafayette has started the conference slate 3-0 for the first time since 2003-04 when the Leopards went undefeated through the first round of Patriot League play at 7-0....Lafayette rallied from a 60-45 deficit with less than 14 minutes to play to force the extra session...They trailed by four with less than a minute to play, but tied the score with three-point plays by Matt Betley and Bilal Abdullah...Andrew Brown hit the game-winning three-pointer with 47.5 seconds left in overtime...Abdullah had a career-high 34 points, while Brown, Betley and Michael Gruner all scored in double figures...Lafayette's 18-point overtime was its highest in the six contests thus far...The Leopards last scored over 100 points against Lehigh on Jan. 23, 2004 in a 111-104 overtime victory...They matched a previous high for the year with 22 assists...Lafayette looks to break an eight-game losing streak against Bucknell with first place on the line Wednesday...The Leopards lost at home to the Bison, 67-61, last season...Their last win over the Bison was an 81-72 triumph on Jan. 25, 2004.
American (10-8, 2-1) at Army (8-9, 1-2), Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Christl Arena, West Point, N.Y.
Series: American, 12-2 Streak: American, One Win Last Meeting: American, 64-49 (2.14.07)
American The Eagles jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 65-57 win over Colgate on Saturday...It was their sixth straight win over the Raiders...Garrison Carr hit four threes in the first seven minutes as American built a 20-6 lead...American ended up hitting 54.5 percent of its shots and making eight three-pointers in the first half to claim a 42-28 lead at the break...The Eagles only made four field goals in the second half, but sealed the win with a putback by Jordan Nichols to go up by four points with 31 seconds left...Carr scored 22 points in the game, and connected on 4-of-8 three-pointers...Carr has at least four three-pointers in 13 of 18 games played...He has hit 22 three-pointers in his last four games while shooting 59.7 percent from behind the arc during that stretch...Carr also went 8-for-8 at the foul line against Colgate, and has hit 18 consecutive free throws...American has a 12-1 record against Army in Patriot League play...They won the last meeting, 64-49, on Feb. 14, 2007.
Army The Black Knights lost their Patriot League home opener, 57-52, to Lehigh on Sunday...They opened the game with a 17-2 run, but saw Lehigh come back to win in the final minute...Jarell Brown led the team with 17 points, but no other player scored more than six points...Marcus Nelson had a career-high five steals in the contest...Corban Bates made his first two three-pointers in the game, after entering the afternoon at 0-for-1 on the season...Army outrebounded Lehigh, 28-24, marking the first time the Black Knights lost a game in which it held the rebounding advantage...The Black Knights will go for their second consecutive home victory in the series against American...After losing the first 11 Patriot League matchups against the Eagles, Army broke through with a 60-55 win on Jan. 17 of last year.
Colgate (9-8, 1-2) At Lehigh (8-9, 1-2), Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Stabler Arena, Bethlehem, Pa.
Series: Colgate, 43-25 Streak: Lehigh, Five Wins Last Meeting: Lehigh, 56-53 OT (2.14.07)
Colgate A second-half rally fell short as Colgate lost to American, 65-57, on Saturday...The Raiders trailed, 42-28, at halftime and were still down by that amount with 14 minutes to go before rallying to close the gap to two on a three-pointer by Kyle Roemer with 59 seconds left...They did not score again in the game...Colgate held American to only four second-half field goals, and kept the Eagles without a field goal for a 13-minute stretch...Kendall Chones paced Colgate with 17 points and 10 rebounds...It was his third career double-double, and the first for a Colgate player this season...Roemer had nine points, while Daniel Waddy had seven points and a career-high nine rebounds...Colgate will try to end a five-game losing streak against Lehigh...The two games last year went down to the wire, as Lehigh won, 60-59, at home and 56-53, in overtime, at Colgate...All five losses in the streak are by single digits.
Lehigh The Mountain Hawks got in the win column in League play with a 57-52 triumph at Army on Sunday...It was the first Patriot League win for first-year Head Coach Brett Reed...Lehigh fell behind 17-2 in the early minutes, but came all the way back to tie the score at 42 with 6:43 to play...After four ties and three leads changes, Lehigh got the game-winning basket on a layup by Rob Keefer with 1:21 to play...Lehigh forced an Army turnover on the next possession, and put the game away on a three-pointer by Marquis Hall with seven seconds remaining for the final margin...Zahir Carrington had 16 points in the game, while Hall scored 11 and Keefer and Bryan White had eight...Lehigh shot 52 percent for the game, including a 55 percent clip from three-point range...The Mountain Hawks have won five in a row against Colgate....They also had two victories taken away by forfeit in the 2005 season...Lehigh had a 59-50 lead with 31 seconds left before hanging on for a 60-59 win in last year's home matchup with Colgate.
Navy (8-10, 1-2) at Holy Cross (9-7, 0-3), Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Hart Center, Worcester, Mass.
Series: Holy Cross, 29-14 Streak: Holy Cross, 17 Wins Last Meeting: HC, 68-40 (2.15.07)
Navy The Mids surrenderd a 15-point second-half lead and lost to Lafayette, 103-99, in overtime on Saturday...It ended a three-game winning streak against the Leopards...The Mids had a 60-45 lead with 13:06 to play...After Lafayette grabbed the advantage, Navy re-claimed a four-point edge with a minute to go before the Leopards came back...The Mids led 94-93 in overtime before a final Lafayette push...The Mids got three stellar individual efforts, as Greg Sprink had season highs with 33 points and 12 rebounds, Chris Harris scored a career-high 26 points, and Kaleo Kina had 18 points and 10 assists...Kina is the first Navy player with 10 assists in a game since Reggie Skipworth dished out 10 against Rice on Nov. 16, 1998...Harris is 20-of-31 (.645) from behind the arc in the last five games, and 34-of-61 (.557) in the last nine games...The trio of Harris, Sprink and Kina scored 77 of Navy's 99 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and dished out 21 of Navy's 22 assists...The 99 points scored by Navy were the most since Dec. 18, 2005 (106 vs. Washington (Md.), and the second-most ever in a loss...Navy looks for its first win against Holy Cross since a 58-51 triumph on Feb. 19, 2000...The Mids had won eight in a row in the series before Holy Cross' current 17-game streak.
Holy Cross The Crusaders fell to 0-3 in the League with a 73-65 loss at home to Bucknell on Friday...They have lost their first three League games for the first time since 1998-99, when they started 0-5 under Head Coach Bill Raynor...They have also lost back-to-back home games for the first time since dropping the Patriot League title game to Bucknell in 2005 and then losing the home opener to Harvard in the 2005-06 season...The Crusaders used an 11-0 run to rally from a 10-point halftime deficit and take a 41-40 lead early in the second half...Bucknell later countered with a 10-2 run to pull back ahead for good...Tim Clifford scored 16 points for the Crusaders, while Alex Vander Baan had 11 and Kyle Cruze totaled 10...Clifford needs 13 more points to become the 59th 1,000-point scorer in Patriot League history...Pat Doherty had eight points and five assists in his first extended action since suffering an injury against San Francisco on Jan. 5...The Crusaders have a 17-game winning streak in the series against Navy, and have won the last five meetings by double digits.