Patriot League Men's Basketball Weekend Preview - 1.31.14

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Dave Dudzinski and Holy Cross visit American on Saturday.
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG
Dave Dudzinski and Holy Cross visit American on Saturday.
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG

Jan. 31, 2014

Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 1.31.14 Get Acrobat Reader

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Campus Insiders made a good choice for its exclusive Patriot League Network broadcast on Saturday, as it will provide a production of the Holy Cross/American contest from Bender Arena beginning at 1 p.m. The Crusaders have won five straight, which pales in comparison to the Eagles with a 10-game winning streak and 9-0 Patriot League record.

Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*American and Holy Cross both bring long winning streaks into their meeting in Washington on Saturday at 1 p.m.
*The Eagles have won 10 in a row overall, while the Crusaders have claimed five straight.
*American aims to become the fifth team to open 10-0 in Patriot League play.
*The Eagles are also one of only 18 Division I teams undefeated in conference play, and one of three at 9-0.
*The Patriot League Network broadcast features an exclusive production by Campus Insiders.
*The Lehigh-Boston University and Army-Loyola games also tip off at 1 p.m.
*Bucknell-Colgate and Navy-Lafayette both feature 2 p.m. tip-offs.
*All five games will be available for free on Patriot League Network.
*27 of 45 League games have been decided by single digits, with 16 finishing at five points or less.
*Ten of the last 12 games not involving American have been single-digits margins.
*The top four teams in the standings are 15-4 on the road in League play, while the other six are a combined 4-22.

Patriot League Notebook
Hottest Teams in Patriot League Meet in Washington
Campus Insiders made a good choice for its exclusive Patriot League Network broadcast on Saturday, as it will provide a production of the Holy Cross/American contest from Bender Arena beginning at 1 p.m. The Crusaders have won five straight, which pales in comparison to the Eagles with a 10-game winning streak and 9-0 Patriot League record. Six of the top seven teams in the League standings will be in action at 1 p.m. as second-place Boston University hosts Lehigh and Army, which is tied for third with Holy Cross, visits Loyola Maryland. The Mountain Hawks and Greyhounds are tied for fifth with Bucknell, which visits Colgate at 2 p.m., while Navy heads to Lafayette at the same time. All five games will be shown on PLN.

American Tops Army to Win Another First-Place Matchup
American won easily over Navy to move to 9-0 in the Patriot League while three other home teams survived for victories in Wednesday's men's basketball action. The Eagles became the sixth team to ever start 9-0 in League action by riding a career-high 28 points from Jesse Reed and going up by 20 at halftime in a 74-52 win over Navy. American won its 10th game in a row overall. Boston University remained one game behind American in the standings, but it did not come easy as the Terriers gave up a 22-point second-half lead before getting past Army 86-81 in overtime. BU scored its final 11 points at the foul line to pull out the win. Holy Cross ties Army for third place in the standings after closing with a 9-2 run to hold off Loyola Maryland 60-51 in Worcester. The Crusaders won their fifth game in a row behind 24 points and 12 rebounds from Dave Dudzinski. There is a three-way tie for fifth, as Lehigh and Bucknell each join Loyola after the Mountain Hawks came back in the second half for a 66-63 win over the Bison. There was one road winner during the week as Colgate pulled out a 75-68 victory at Lafayette in a game shown on CBS Sports Network.

Eagles Off to One of the Best Starts in Patriot League History
American is one of six teams to open Patriot League play at 9-0, and can become one of just five to start 10-0 when it hosts Holy Cross on Saturday. The last to do it was Bucknell two years ago, and only the undefeated Bison team in 2005-06 got past 11 wins before a loss. American Head Coach Mike Brennan is just the second in League history to win his first nine League games to open his League tenure. He is the first to do it in his initial season at the school, as Fordham's Nick Macarchuk was 11-0 to begin the League's inaugural campaign in 1990-91. The Eagles have their best start to any conference play since they were 11-0 under Gary Williams in the East Coast Conference in 1980-81.

American On a Short List of Division I Conference Unbeatens
American is one of 18 Division I teams with an undefeated mark in conference play entering the weekend, with only the Ivy League with more than one squad as the Ancient Eight just opened its conference slate. The Eagles join Cincinnati (American Athletic Conference) and Wichita State (Missouri Valley) as the only squads at 9-0 in conference action. American also boasts one of the longest winning streaks in the country at 10 games.

Eagles Shooting the Lights Out in League Play
American's start has featured strong play on both ends of the court, but of particular note is the sharp-shooting of the Eagles in League action. The Eagles topped 50% for the third straight game when they finished 21-of-39 against Navy on Wednesday, and are shooting 54.3% from the field in League action. American also leads in field goal percentage defense at 38.2%. The Eagles lead the Patriot League in field goal percentage (50.8%) and field goal percentage defense (40.2%) for the season, ranking fourth in the former categiry in all of Division I.

Photo Finishes
While American has won three straight games by double digits, few other Patriot League teams are doing the same. All of the rest of the weekday games were decided by single digits, with two by five points or less. Of the 45 League games played to date, 27 have been decided by single digits and 16 have finished with margins of five points or less. Ten of the last 12 League games that have not invovled the Eagles have been decided by less than 10 points.

Winning on the Road
Successful teams need to win games on the road, and the Patriot League season is proving that point so far. The top four teams in the Patriot League standings have a 15-4 record in League road games, with American (5-0) undefeated and Army (4-1), Boston University (3-1) and Holy Cross (3-2) holding winning marks. The other six teams are just 4-22 on the road in League play, with only Lehigh, Bucknell and Colgate owning road wins. Home teams have a 26-19 edge for the season after the hosts swept all four games on Wednesday.

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, including the Holy Cross/American contest on Saturday.

Patriot League Games
Holy Cross Crusaders (12-9, 6-3) at American Eagles (13-7, 9-0)
Bender Arena; Washington, D.C. - Saturday, 1 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*The hottest teams in the Patriot League face off when Holy Cross visits American on Saturday at 1 p.m.
*The Patriot League Network broadcast features an exclusive production by Campus Insiders.
*Holy Cross has won five straight, while American has its longest win streak since 2009 at 10 in a row.
*The Eagles are trying to become just the fifth team to start League play with 10 wins, and first since Bucknell in 2012.
*American posted a 69-54 win at Holy Cross on Jan. 5 for its second straight victory in the series.
*The Eagles are trying to sweep Holy Cross for the first time since 2011.
*American has won seven straight home games against Holy Cross, a run that began in the 2008 League Tournament.
*Holy Cross holds an 18-13 edge in the all-time series, with a 14-11 lead in regular-season Patriot League games.

Lehigh Mountain Hawks (11-11, 4-5) at Boston University Terriers (15-7, 8-1)
Agganis Arena; Boston, Mass. - Saturday, 1 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Boston University tries to stay perfect at home in Patriot League play when it welcomes Lehigh on Saturday.
*The Terriers are 5-0 at Agganis Arena against League squads, while Lehigh is 2-2 on the road in League play.
*BU held on for a 67-66 win at Lehigh in the first matchup on Jan. 5.
*It was just the second meeting between the schools, and first since BU won in the 1968-69 season.
*BU has won two straight while Lehigh has claimed three wins in a row coming into the contest.

Army Black Knights (10-10, 6-3) at Loyola Maryland Greyhounds (9-11, 4-5)
Reitz Arena; Baltimore, Md. - Saturday, 1 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Loyola aims to maintain its unblemished home record in Patriot League play when it welcomes Army on Saturday.
*The Greyhounds are 4-0 at Reitz Arena to offset an 0-5 mark on the road in League action.
*Army has a 4-1 road record in Patriot League play after losing in overtime at Boston University on Wednesday.
*The Black Knights won the first meeting 91-82 at home on Jan. 5.
*It was the second meeting between the schools, and first since Loyola won at home in January 1990.
*Army has lost two straight games while Loyola has dropped three of four entering the contest.

Bucknell Bison (9-11, 4-5) at Colgate Raiders (8-12, 2-7)
Cotterell Court; Hamilton, N.Y. - Saturday, 2 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Bucknell puts its nine-game winning streak against Colgate on the line when it visits Hamilton on Saturday.
*The Bison won 68-57 at home on Jan. 5 to increase the run to nine in a row.
*Colgate's last win over Bucknell came at home in 2009 as the Bison are trying to sweep for the fifth year in a row.
*Bucknell has not lost six Patriot League games in a season since finishing 4-10 in 2009.
*The Bison had a total of five League losses over the last three years.
*Colgate is trying to win consecutive League games for the first time since last January.

Navy Midshipmen (7-13, 2-7) at Lafayette Leopards (4-16, 0-9)
Kirby Sports Center; Easton, Pa. - Saturday, 2 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network | Lafayette Sports Network (RCN-4, RCN-8, WBPH-60)
*Lafayette tries to earn its first Patriot League victory when it hosts Navy on Saturday.
*The Leopards have dropped 11 in a row overall, while the Mids have lost four straight.
*Navy is 0-4 on the road in Patriot League play and 1-10 away from Alumni Hall this season.
*Navy posted a 79-71 win at home against Lafayette on Jan. 5 to end a four-game streak in the series for the Leopards.
*Lafayette has won the last five matchups between the schools at Kirby Sports Center.
*Navy has a 42-30 lead in the all-time series, though Lafayette holds a 26-22 edge as Patriot League members.

Team Notebooks
AMERICAN American closed the first half on a 16-1 run and rolled from there to a 74-52 win over Navy at Bender Arena on Wednesday...The Eagles won their 10th straight and became the sixth team to reach 9-0 in the Patriot League...American led throughout, using the 16-1 stretch in the final six minutes of the first half to take a 37-17 lead at the break...The lead never dipped below 14 in the second half as American cruised to the win...Jesse Reed had a career-high 28 points for American while making 8-of-10 shots and 6-of-8 from long range...He now leads the Patriot League by making 50% from downtown this season...The reigning Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week has scored 20 points or more in three straight games...Darius Gardner and Kyle Kager each added 11 points, while Tony Wroblicky had eight points and 16 rebounds...American shot over 50% again at 21-of-39 for the game, and beat Navy at home for the seventh straight time...American has a seven-game home winning streak versus Holy Cross going into Saturday's game with the Crusaders.

ARMY The Black Knights rallied from 22 points down to force overtime, but saw BU hold on in the extra session for a 86-81 win over Army on Wednesday...Army dropped its second straight game, and fell on the road for the first time in League action...Army trailed 47-25 with under 17 minutes to play in the game, but chipped away and eventually used an 8-0 run to tie the game at 70-70 on a three-pointer by Dylan Cox with 1:29 left...After BU went back ahead, Army sent the game to OT when Kyle Wilson hit a bucket with 11 seconds to go...Army took its first lead of the game at 76-75 with under two minutes left in overtime, but BU used six straight free throws to go ahead for good... Army twice got within two points, and Wilson missed a pair of three-point attempts to tie in the final seconds... Wilson led the Black Knights with 23 points, while Cox scored 19 and Josh Herbeck had 15...Army was outscored 24 to 11 at the foul line...The Black Knights have another road trip on Saturday when they visit Loyola Maryland.

BOSTON UNIVERSITY After giving up a 22-point lead, Boston University made 11-of-12 free throws down the stretch in overtime to hold off Army 86-81 on Wednesday...Army took its first lead of the game at 76-75, but D.J. Irving sank six straight foul shots to put BU up 81-76 with 37 seconds left...Army twice got within two points and missed a pair of three-point attempts to tie in the final seconds before Malik Thomas added two clinching free throws with under a second to play...BU stormed out to a 23-6 lead, was up 37-18 at halftime and peaked with a 47-25 edge with 16:48 left...Army came back to tie with 1:29 left, and answered an Irving basket by sending the game to overtime on a bucket with 11 seconds to play...Irving led the Terriers with 22 points while making 14-of-14 free throws...Cedric Hankerson had 19 points while making 5-of-6 three-pointers and Thomas scored 18 as both players led a BU bench that contributed 42 points...BU hit 24-of-29 foul shots to win its second straight game and move to 5-0 at home in Patriot League action...The Terriers are right back at Agganis Arena on Saturday when they welcome Lehigh.

BUCKNELL The Bison gave up a pair of second-half runs and fell 66-63 at Lehigh on Wednesday night...After Bucknell led by as many as 10 points in the first half and 35-28 at the break, the Mountain Hawks opened the second half with an 18-3 stretch to go up eight...Bucknell bounced back and took a 55-54 lead before Lehigh scored nine straight points to go ahead for good... Bucknell got within 63-60 and missed two shots with a chance to cut it to one before Lehigh hit a pair of free throws with 24 seconds left...Cameron Ayers cut Lehigh's lead to 65-63 on a three-pointer with seven seconds to play, but the Mountain Hawks sealed the win at the foul line...Ayers led Bucknell with 23 points, while Brian Fitzpatrick and Chris Hass each added 13...Bucknell had 18 assists and only eight turnovers, but was under 40% from the field at 24-of-62...The Bison lost at Lehigh for the first time since 2010...They go back on the road to visit Colgate on Saturday afternoon.

COLGATE Colgate showed it is more than a long-range squad as the Raiders overcame a tough three-point shooting night to beat Lafayette 75-68...Colgate had what proved to be a decisive 10-2 run to close the first half and take a 38-30 lead at the break...The Raiders scored six straight points to build a double-digit lead at 51-41 midway through the second half....Lafayette chipped away and got as close as three points in the final minute, but Colgate secured the win by hitting 12-of-14 foul shots in the last two minutes...Four Raiders scored in double figures as Austin Tillotson had 16 points, Murphy Burnatowski finished with 15, Damon Sherman-Newsome had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Luke Roh scored 12...Colgate made 24-of-53 shots and 23-of-27 free throws to win a game where it was just 4-of-23 from three-point range, well below its average of more than nine treys coming in...The Raiders go for a winning streak when they host Bucknell on Saturday

HOLY CROSS After seeing a 14-point lead cut to two, Holy Cross closed on a 9-2 run to earn a 60-51 win over Loyola on Wednesday...The Crusaders have won five straight games and go three games over .500 in League play for the first time since claiming six straight to finish 9-5 in the Patriot League in 2012...Holy Cross only trailed once early, and built a 22-9 lead on its way to a 28-19 advantage at the break...The Crusaders pushed the lead as high as 38-24, but Loyola would use a 16-6 stretch to get within 49-47 with four minutes left...The Greyhounds missed a chance to tie at the foul line, and Anthony Thompson started the game-closing run with a three-point play to put Holy Cross ahead 54-49 with 2:21 left...Loyola had a nearly three-minute drought until scoring its final bucket with 31 seconds left...Dave Dudzinski made 8-of-11 shots and finished with a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds...Holy Cross held a 38-30 edge on the boards and limited Loyola to 17-of-50 shooting from the field...The Crusaders put their five-game winning streak on the line at American, who is on a 10-game run...Holy Cross looks for its first win at Bender Arena since 2008.

LAFAYETTE The Leopards fell behind late in the first half and could never get all the way back in the game in a 75-68 loss to Colgate on Monday night on CBS Sports Network...The Raiders used a 10-2 run to go up 38-30 at the break, and Lafayette never tied or led in the second half...The Leopards did chip away and get as close as three points in the final minute, but the Raiders hit 12-of-14 free throws in the last two minutes to secure the win... Joey Ptasinski led Lafayette with 21 points while making 8-of-10 shots and 5-of-6 three-pointers...Bryce Scott (12), Nick Lindner (11) and Monty Boykins (10) each finished in double figures while Seth Hinrichs scored five in his first action since mid-December...Lafayette saw its seven-game winning streak over Colgate come to an end, and lost its 11th in a row overall...The Leopards have lost their last four games by a total of 16 points, all coming by seven points or less...Lafayette remains at home to take on Navy on Saturday.

LEHIGH Lehigh used a late 9-0 run to go in front and held off Bucknell for a 66-63 victory on Wednesday at Stabler Arena...The Mountain Hawks were down 55-54 before getting two three-pointers by Stefan Cvrklaj and one by Jesse Chuku in the 9-0 stretch for a 63-55 edge with three minutes to play...Bucknell got within 63-60 and missed two shots with a chance to cut it to one before Cvrklaj hit a pair of free throws with 24 seconds left...Holding a 65-63 lead, Mackey McKnight rebounded his own missed free throw with four seconds left before making 1-of-2 with a second to play to seal the win...Lehigh opened the second half on a 18-3 stretch to go ahead by eight and the teams went back and forth from there...Corey Schaefer led Lehigh with 15 points, while Cvrklaj had 14, all in the second half, and Tim Kempton scored 12...Chuku just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds, while McKnight had nine points, seven assists and six boards...Lehigh made 14-of-24 shots and 7-of-8 three-pointers in the second half, and overcame a 3-of-12 mark from the foul line in the period and 9-of-22 for the game....The Mountain Hawks finished with 20 assists and just seven turnovers in the game...Lehigh beat Bucknell at home for the first time since 2010, and snapped a run where the road team had won five straight in the series...The Mountain Hawks make the trip north to Boston University on Saturday.

LOYOLA MARYLAND Loyola nearly rallied from a 14-point deficit but could not get all the way back in a 60-51 loss at Holy Cross on Wednesday...The Greyhounds trailed 38-24 but eventually got back into the game with a 16-6 stretch to get within 49-47 with four minutes left... Dylon Cormier missed a pair of free throws with a chance to tie, and the Crusaders closed the game with a 9-2 run from that point... Loyola had a nearly three-minute drought until scoring its final bucket with 31 seconds left...Cormier led the Greyhounds with 15 points, while Tyler Hubbard added 13...Loyola made 7-of-12 three-pointers, but was hurt by 17-of-50 overall shooting and a 10-of-19 mark at the foul line...The Greyhounds fall to 0-5 on the road in the Patriot League while posting a 4-0 home mark...Loyola will have its next two games at Reitz Arena, beginning with a visit from Army on Saturday.

NAVY Navy has lost four straight games after falling 74-52 at American on Wednesday...The Mids hung tough for most of the first half until American closed the period with a 16-1 run to build a 37-17 lead at the break...Navy was never able to get closer than 14 points in the second half... Zach Fong led Navy with 11 points off the bench, but the Mids fell at American for the seventh straight time...Navy is 0-4 on the road in League action and 1-10 for the season as it heads to Lafayette on Saturday...The Mids defeated the Leopards 79-71 at home on Jan. 5.