CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Bucknell and Lehigh have lived up to their billing throughout the 2012-13 season, and now the teams will get to face off for the first time since last year's thriller in the Patriot League Championship.
The Bison and Mountain Hawks have each started 3-0 in the Patriot League after cruising to double-digit victories at home on Saturday, with Bucknell topping Lafayette 66-51 and Lehigh beating Colgate 60-45. Bucknell will host Lehigh on Wednesday at 6 p.m. on CBS Sports Network as the Bison look to get revenge for the Mountain Hawks' 82-77 win at Sojka Pavilion in last year's title game.
While the top two have separated from the pack, a group of Patriot League teams are in range and trying to stay close early in the season. Holy Cross leads that push as the Crusaders knocked off American 79-60 on Saturday to improve to 2-1 in the Patriot League. Lafayette, American, Navy and Army follow at 1-2, with the Mids earning their first League win since 2011 by beating the Black Knights 59-50 on Sunday.
Those teams will try to earn wins to move up the standings when they face off on Wednesday. Holy Cross heads to Lafayette, Navy visits American and Army goes to Colgate in contests that all tip off at 7 p.m. Each game will have regional television coverage and also be available through Patriot League All-Access.
Patriot League Anaconda Weekly Awards (Jan. 14-20)
Anaconda Player of the Week MIKE MUSCALA, BUCKNELLSr., C, 6-11, 239; Roseville, Minn./Roseville
In a season of dominant games and weeks, Muscala might have put up his best performance yet by averaging 26.0 points, 12.5 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 2.5 assists while shooting 52.5% from the field in Bucknell's double-digits wins over Colgate and Lafayette. It started against the Raiders on Wednesday when he totaled 25 points, 10 rebounds, seven blocks, four assists and two steals in a brilliant performance to help Bucknell to a 73-59 win on the road. Muscala came back with 27 points and 15 rebounds, including a career-high nine on the offensive end, to lead the Bison to a 66-51 victory at home against Lafayette. Muscala has five straight double-doubles, and is tied for the national lead with 13 for the season. He has four consecutive games of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. Muscala is 16th in the nation with 20.1 points per game, sixth with 11.2 rebounds per contest and 20th with 2.7 blocks per game while leading the Patriot League in all three categories. He has been even better in League play with 24.0 points, 12.7 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and 4.0 assists per contest. Muscala is up to seventh in Patriot League history with 1,780 career points while standing second in all-time blocked shots and rebounds. He now stands alone in second in Patriot League history with nine career Anaconda Player of the Week awards, and wins the honor for the third straight time and fifth this season.
Anaconda Rookie of the Week DYLAN COX, ARMYFr., G, 6-4, 185; Cedar Park, Texas/Cedar Park (USMAPS)
Cox averaged 11.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in a 1-1 week for the Black Knights, scoring 13 points in a 77-54 win over Lafayette on Wednesday and coming through with a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double in a 59-50 loss to Navy on Sunday. Cox made 5-of-7 field goals against the Leopards and 4-of-7 against the Mids to shoot 9-of-14 (64.3%) in the two games. Army's primary ball-handler, Cox also handed out four assists and did not commit a turnover for the week. He earns his first Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week award.
DAVE DUDZINSKI, HOLY CROSSJr., F, 6-9, 227; Elburn, Ill./Kaneland
Dudzinski put up double-doubles in each of Holy Cross' wins last week, with 16 points and 10 rebounds in a 62-47 triumph at Navy on Wednesday and 14 points and 10 boards in a 79-60 victory over American on Saturday.
HOLDEN GREINER, LEHIGHSr., F, 6-8, 210; Traverse City, Mich./Saint Francis
Greiner had 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting in a 63-57 win at American on Wednesday and put up a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double in a 60-45 victory over Colgate on Saturday.
STEPHEN LUMPKINS, AMERICANSr., F, 6-8, 230; Redwood City, Calif./Junipero Serra
Lumpkins averaged 13.5 points and 14.0 rebounds in a pair of losses for the Eagles last week.
WORTH SMITH, NAVYSo., F, 6-6, 203; Mooresville, N.C./Charlotte Christian
Smith averaged 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in two games for the Mids, with 16 points and nine rebounds in a 59-50 win at Army on Sunday.
Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*Bucknell and Lehigh face off Wednesday for first place in the Patriot League.
*The Bison are trying to open League play at 4-0 for the third straight year.
*Lehigh last started League action at 4-0 in 2006.
*The Bison hold a 5-3 advantage over the Mountain Hawks in the past three seasons, with four of five games in Lewisburg decided by five points or less.
*Bucknell's Mike Muscala won his third straight Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week award on Monday, and fifth this season.
*Muscala is in the top 20 nationally in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.
*His nine career Player of the Week honors stand alone as second all-time.
*He is at No. 1 by a wide margin in player efficiency rating on ESPN.com.
*Muscala, American's Stephen Lumpkins and Holy Cross' Dave Dudzinski eachput up a pair of double-doubles last week.
*Holy Cross is trying to go 3-1 in the League for the second time in three years.
*None of the winners of the first 12 Patriot League games trailed at any point in the second half.
*There has only been one second-half tie in those 12 contests.
*Every League game has been decided by more than five points, with 11 of 12 having a final margin of nine points or more.
*Lehigh is in the NCAA top 50 in nine categories while Bucknell is in six.
Patriot League Notebook
Tale of the Tape in First-Place Showdown at Sojka
Through three games, the preseason favorites have been as good as advertised. Now, they face off to see who will get the first leg up in the Patriot League race. Bucknell and Lehigh come into Wednesday's showdown with 3-0 Patriot League records, and each team has excelled in multiple areas throughout the season and in Patriot League play. The Mountain Hawks rank among the top 30 in Division I in six offensive categories, including scoring offense and shooting percentage from the field, three-point and foul lines. But Lehigh has shown the ability to defend, too, leading the conference in scoring defense in League play and ranking 11th in the country in three-point field-goal percentage defense for the year. Bucknell is more known for its defense, but the Bison can score, too. Bucknell is in the top 50 nationally in six categories, including the top 25 in field-goal percentage defense, free-throw percentage, assist/turnover ratio and turnovers per game, where the Bison rank third. The Bison are the top scoring defense team for the season, but lead in scoring offense during League action with 71.7 points per game.
Bucknell, Lehigh Seniors in For Another Dramatic Clash?
While a significant part of the senior-laden matchup is missing with Lehigh's C.J. McCollum out of action, the four-year players for both the Bison and Mountain Hawks will be ready for yet another chapter to their ongoing rivalry. Bucknell leads the series 5-3 over the past three years, though Lehigh has the latest advantage with the last two wins including an 82-77 triumph in the Patriot League Championship last season. The games have been down-to-the-wire, particulary at Sojka Pavilion where four of the five contests have been decided by five points or less.
Bucknell's Muscala Continues to Shine
It's hard to believe in his outstanding season that Bucknell senior Mike Muscala is getting better, but it appears that way in Patriot League play. The star center put up 26.0 points, 12.5 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 2.5 assists in two games last week to win his fifth Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week award of the season and third in a row. Muscala is 16th in the nation with 20.1 points per game, sixth with 11.2 rebounds per contest and 20th with 2.7 blocks per game while leading the Patriot League in all three categories. He has been even better in League play with 24.0 points, 12.7 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and 4.0 assists per contest. Muscala has five straight double-doubles, and is tied for the national lead with 13 for the season. He has four consecutive games of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. On ESPN.com, he has a player efficiency rating of 38.62, a 3.53 advantage over Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk as the most efficient player in the country.
Logjam in the Standings After the Top Two
Five teams are separated by one game in the Patriot League standings after Bucknell and Lehigh, though Holy Cross has a chance to emerge out of the group as a solid third-place squad on Wednesday. The Crusaders have won two straight to become the only 2-1 team in the League, with Lafayette, American, Navy and Army each coming in at 1-2. Navy earned its first Patriot League win since 2011 with a 59-50 triumph at Army on Sunday.
Patriot League Games Decided Early
You'd think parity in the middle of the standings would mean a bunch of close games, but that has not been the case thus far in Patriot League play. There have been no second-half lead changes in any of the first 12 Patriot League games, and just one tie for 19 seconds in Lehigh's 63-57 win over American on Wednesday. That was the closest final to date as the other 11 League contests have all been decided by nine points or more.
CBS Sports Network with Busy Slate Coming Up
The early part of the Patriot League season will be highly visible on national television with three more games on CBS Sports Network this week. After the rematch of the Patriot League Championship when Lehigh heads to Bucknell on Wednesday at 6 p.m. , the Bison and Mountain Hawks will each appear again this weekend. Bucknell is at Holy Cross on Saturday at 4 p.m. and Lehigh hosts rival Lafayette on Sunday at Noon. That will make five CBS Sports Network games in the month of January, including Lehigh's 79-47 win over Holy Cross on Jan. 12 and Navy's 59-50 victory at Army on Sunday. Five more regular-season games will be shown in February and March before both semifinals and the championship will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
Additional Coverage Ahead on Wednesday
All four Patriot League contests will have television coverage on Wednesday. In addition to the CBS Sports Network matchup at Bucknell, Holy Cross at Lafayette will be shown through the Lafayette Sports Network on RCN-4, RCN-8 and WBPH-60, Navy is at American on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and Army goes to Colgate in a game shown on Time Warner Sports Central New York. Every game that is not on CBS Sports Network this season will also be shown on Patriot League All-Access.
Patriot League Games
Lehigh Mountain Hawks (13-4, 3-0) at Bucknell Bison (16-3, 3-0) Sojka Pavilion; Lewisburg, Pa.; Wednesday, 6 p.m. TV: CBS Sports Network
*First place in the Patriot League will be at stake when Lehigh visits Bucknell Wednesday at 6 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
*It is a rematch of last year's Patriot League Championship, won by the Mountain Hawks 82-77 at Bucknell on March 7.
*Lehigh has won the last two meetings in Lewisburg, also beating the Bison 56-53 at Sojka Pavilion on Feb. 16 last season.
*Bucknell had won the previous four matchups, including a 68-61 triumph at Lehigh on Jan. 18 of last year.
*The Bison won all three meetings in 2011, sweeping the regular-season matchups before knocking off Lehigh 66-64 in the semifinals at Sojka on March 6.
*Bucknell is 71-14 all-time against Patriot League foes at Sojka Pavilion, though the Mountain Hawks own four of those wins.
*Bucknell has a 96-62 lead in the all-time series with the Mountain Hawks, and a 37-15 edge as Patriot League members.
*Bucknell is trying to start 4-0 in the Patriot League for the third straight year.
*Lehigh aims for a 4-0 start for the first time since 2006.
Holy Cross Crusaders (10-8, 2-1) at Lafayette Leopards (8-12, 1-2) Kirby Sports Center; Easton, Pa.; Wednesday, 7 p.m. TV: Lafayette Sports Network - RCN-4, RCN-8, WBPH-60
*Two teams that are very familiar with each other meet in Easton when Holy Cross visits Lafayette.
*The matchup will be televised through the Lafayette Sports Network and shown on Patriot League All-Access.
*The squads have faced off nine times in the last three seasons, with Lafayette holding a 6-3 edge in those games.
*The teams have split the regular-season matchups in each of those years, but Lafayette went on to beat Holy Cross in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals in 2010 and quarterfinals in both 2011 and 2012.
*Holy Cross did post a 70-63 win in Easton on Feb. 15 last year after Lafayette had won 54-43 at Holy Cross on Jan. 19.
*The Leopards had won three straight home games against Holy Cross before last year's meeting.
*Holy Cross has a 33-20 lead in the all-time series, and a 31-19 edge as Patriot League members.
*The Crusaders aim to go 3-1 in the Patriot League for the second time in three years.
*Lafayette has not started under .500 through four League games since 2007.
Navy Midshipmen (7-12, 1-2) at American Eagles (6-12, 1-2) Bender Arena; Washington, D.C.; Wednesday, 7 p.m. TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic
*The Patriot League's southern-most schools square off when Navy pays a visit to American on Wednesday.
*The game will be televised live on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and shown on Patriot League All-Access.
*The Eagles have dominated the series as Patriot League members with a 21-4 advantage against the Mids.
*American has won three straight and eight of the last nine against Navy including a sweep of last year's season series.
*The Eagles won 67-60 at Navy on Jan. 18 last season and 69-47 at home on Feb. 15.
*American swept the matchups in both 2009 and 2010, and has won five straight games at home against Navy.
*The all-time series is closer as the Eagles hold a slim 39-37 advantage.
*American has not been under .500 through four League games since 2010, while Navy was last at .500 through four games in that same season.
Army Black Knights (8-10, 1-2) at Colgate Raiders (6-13, 0-3) Cotterell Court; Hamilton, N.Y.; Wednesday, 7 p.m. TV: Time Warner Sports
*Colgate and Army each try to get back on track when the Raiders host the Black Knights on Wednesday.
*The contest will be televised live on Time Warner Sports Central New York and also shown on Patriot League All-Access.
*Army swept last year's season series with two convincing wins, beating Colgate 91-75 at home on Jan. 18 and 79-59 in Hamilton on Feb. 15.
*It was Army's first season sweep of the Raiders since 2004 as the teams split matchups the previous two years.
*Colgate's last win over the Black Knights was a 77-71 triumph at West Point on Feb. 5, 2011.
*Army has won the last two seasons at Cotterell Court.
*The teams are tied 55-55 in the all-time series, but Colgate holds a 36-10 lead since Patriot League play began.
*Army has not been under .500 through four League games since 2009.
*Colgate hopes to avoid a second straight 0-4 start in the Patriot League.
Team Notebooks AMERICAN The Eagles dropped each of their games last week, falling to Holy Cross 79-60 on Saturday after losing a 63-57 contest at home against Lehigh on Wednesday...American fell behind early at Holy Cross as the Crusaders went up 14-4 in the first six minutes and by as many as 24 points in the second half...American was never able to get back within single digits after intermission...Stephen Lumpkins led the way with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Jesse Reed scored 12 off the bench...Lumpkins had 10 points and 17 rebounds in the loss to Lehigh on Wednesday to average 13.5 points and 14.0 rebounds in two games for the Eagles last week...He stands fifth in the Patriot League with 14.7 points per game and second in the League with 9.6 rebounds per contest, which also ranks in the top 30 nationally...The Eagles try to get back on track Wednesday when they host Navy in a game that will be shown on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, then visit Army on Saturday.
ARMY The Black Knights split a pair of home games last week, topping Lafayette 77-54 on Wednesday before falling to rival Navy 59-50 on Sunday on CBS Sports Network...Army opened with a 21-4 run against Lafayette and never looked back, leading by no less than eight points the rest of the way...Ella Ellis led all scorers with 23 points, while Dylan Cox added 13 and Kyle Wilson scored 11..Army hit 7-of-13 shots from beyond the arc in the contest, but struggled badly from three-point range in the loss to Navy...The Black Knights made only 2-of-20 shots from beyond the arc against the Mids and shot just 15-of-48 in the game...The Black Knights fell behind by 16 points in the first half, but got back into it with an 18-3 run that spanned the first and second halves and cut the deficit to one...Navy answered with an 11-1 run and Army never got closer than eight the rest of the way... Ellis led the Black Knights with 15 points, while Cox had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Wilson added 11...Cox was named Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week for averaging 11.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in the two contests...The Black Knights head back on the road Wednesday to take on Colgate before returning home Saturday to face American.
BUCKNELL Mike Muscala continued to dominate by averaging 26.0 points, 12.5 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 2.5 assists to lead the Bison to a pair of wins last week...Bucknell won 73-59 at Colgate on Wednesday, and took down Lafayette 66-51 in Lewisburg on Saturday...Muscala is now averaging 24.0 points, 12.7 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and 4.0 assists per contest during Patriot League play...For the season, he stands sixth in the nation in rebounding (11.2), 16th in scoring (20.1) and 20th in blocked shots (2.7) while leading the Patriot League in all three categories...He has five straight double-doubles, and is tied for the national lead with 13 for the season...Bucknell took the lead midway through the first half and never looked back after intermission for the 66-51 win over Lafayette on Saturday at Sojka Pavilion...The Bison were down 11-10 with just over nine minutes to play in the first half before they took control with a 16-5 run to build a 26-16 lead...It was 27-20 at the half, and Bucknell scored the first five points of the second half and cruised from there...The Bison led by double digits the rest of the way, holding the lead between 11 and 16 points before settling on the 66-51 final... Bucknell limited Lafayette to 19-of-55 shooting, and a Leopards team that excels from beyond the arc was just 1-of-13 from three-point range...Bucknell committed just six turnovers, and is third in the nation with just 9.6 turnovers per game...The Bison beat Lafayette for the eighth straight time, and remain perfect with a 14-0 mark against the Leopards at Sojka Pavilion...Bucknell is 3-0 in the Patriot League for the third consecutive year, and has won 28 of 31 League contests since 2011 and 36 of the last 41 overall...The Bison are 71-14 all-time against Patriot League teams at Sojka Pavilion, but will try to break a two-game home skid against Lehigh when they host the Mountain Hawks on Wednesday at 6 p.m...Bucknell goes to Holy Cross on Saturday at 4 p.m., with both games shown on CBS Sports Network.
COLGATE The Raiders fell to the top two teams in the Patriot League last week, losing 73-59 at home against Bucknell on Wednesday and 60-45 at Lehigh on Saturday... The Raiders drop to 0-3 in the Patriot League for the third year in a row...Colgate was in the game most of the way against the Bison, but a pair of second-half runs for Bucknell created the margin...Murphy Burnatowski led the way with 17 points, while Damon Sherman-Newsome added 13...The Raiders fell behind early at Lehigh as the Mountain Hawks went up 9-0 and led by as many as 17 points in the first half... Brandon James was the only Raider in double figures with 12 points...Colgate hosts Army on Wednesday on Time Warner Sports Central New York and visits Navy Saturday.
HOLY CROSS The Crusaders had a strong bounce-back week with a 62-47 win at Navy on Wednesday and a 79-60 victory at home against American on Saturday...Dave Dudzinski had double-doubles in each contest and averaged 15.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in the two games...He stands fourth in the Patriot League with 15.7 points per game and third with 7.1 rebounds per contest...Malcolm Miller had 13 points and 13 rebounds in the win over Navy, and a host of Crusaders chipped in with strong performances in the dominant win over American...Jordan Stevens had 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, Miller and Dudzinski scored 14 points apiece, Cullen Hamilton had 13 and Phil Beans scored 10...Justin Burrell was the distributor with nine of the team's 21 assists against just eight turnovers for the Crusaders...The Crusaders made 18-of-28 shots and 8-of-11 three-pointers in the first half to build a 45-27 lead at the break...They finished 30-of-57 from the field and 13-of-21 from three-point range in the hot-shooting effort...Holy Cross went up by as many as 24 points in the first half and never let the lead slip below double digits again...Holy Cross is 2-1 in the Patriot League for the third year in a row...It tries to make it a 3-1 start on Wednesday at Lafayette, then returns home on Saturday to face Bucknell in a game shown on CBS Sports Network.
LAFAYETTE It was a tough week on the road for the Leopards who fell 77-54 at Army on Wednesday and 66-51 at Bucknell on Saturday...Lafayette fell to 1-2 in the Patriot League, putting an end to a run of five straight seasons of starting 2-1 or better through three League games...Lafayette fell behind 21-4 less than nine minutes into the game against Army, and never got closer than eight the rest of the way...It was closer in the first half against Bucknell until the Bison went ahead for good with a 16-5 run late in the period...Lafayette trailed by seven at the half, and never got within single digits after Bucknell scored the first five points of the second half...Dan Trist averaged 13.5 points for the week, while Tony Johnson had 11 points Wednesday and eight points and seven assists on Saturday...Lafayette falls to 1-10 on the road, but returns home on Wednesday to face Holy Cross on Lafayette Sports Network...The Leopards make a short trip to rival Lehigh Sunday at Noon on CBS Sports Network.
LEHIGH The Mountain Hawks are 3-0 in the Patriot League for the first time since 2006 after winning a pair of games last week...Lehigh rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit to win 63-57 at American on Wednesday, then stormed out of the gates with a big early push to roll to a 60-45 home victory over Colgate on Saturday...The Mountain Hawks used two runs to take a halftime lead at American, then went ahead for good with a 13-1 surge after the Eagles had tied the score in the second half...Holden Greiner led Lehigh with 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting, while Mackey McKnight added 11 and filled the stat sheet with team highs of six rebounds, five assists and four steals...Each player was equally impressive on Saturday, with Greiner totaling a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double and McKnight putting up 14 points, seven rebounds, five steals and four assists in the win over Colgate..Lehigh scored the first nine points of the game and led by as many as 17 points in the first half in the win over the Raiders...Lehigh led by double digits throughout the second half... The Mountain Hawks were outstanding on defense, limiting Colgate to 18-of-59 (30.5%) shooting from the field and 2-of-22 from three-point range while forcing 16 Raider turnovers....Lehigh goes to Bucknell on Wednesday at 6 p.m. on CBS Sports Network in a rematch of the 2012 Patriot League Championship game won by the Mountain Hawks 82-77 in Lewisburg...The Mountain Hawks return home to face archrival Lafayette on Sunday at Noon, also on CBS Sports Network.
NAVY The Mids earned their first Patriot League win since 2011 with a 59-50 triumph at Army on Sunday...Navy broke a 16-game League losing streak and gave second-year Head Coach Ed DeChellis his first League triumph...Navy built a 31-15 lead in the first half, only to see Army get back within one early in the second half with an 18-3 run...But the Mids turned it on from there, going on an 11-1 run to take command and lead by at least eight points the rest of the way... Worth Smith led the Mids with 16 points, and just missed a double-double by pulling down nine rebounds...Kevin Alter came off the bench to score 14 points while making 4-of-5 shots from beyond the arc...The Mids had a solid day with an 11-of-23 clip from three-point range while limiting Army to just 15-of-48 from the field and 2-of-20 shooting from three-point range...Navy put an end to a six-game overall losing streak...Smith averaged 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in two games last week after leading the way with a career-high tying 17 in a 62-47 loss to Holy Cross on Wednesday...He needs just 15 points, 43 rebounds and six blocks to become the third Navy player with career totals of 400 points, 300 rebounds and 50 blocks by the end of his sophomore season...The Mids make the short trip to American Wednesday on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic before hosting Colgate on Saturday evening.