Feb. 7, 2013
Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 2.7.13
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Lehigh and Bucknell enter the second half of the Patriot League schedule with a two-game lead on the pack, but both teams will have to go on the road if they want to keep the separation this weekend.
Bucknell heads at Army and Lehigh goes to Holy Cross in contests that tip off at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The start of the second half of the League slate also features Colgate at American at 3 p.m. and Lafayette visiting Navy at 7 p.m.
The Mountain Hawks and Bison share the Patriot League lead at 6-1 in the standings, followed by Lafayette at 4-3. Army, American and Colgate are each tied for fourth place at 3-4, while Holy Cross is 2-5 and Navy holds a 1-6 mark. The top four teams at the end of the regular season will host games in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals on March 6.
Home teams held a 15-13 advantage in the first half of League play, with three hosts winning over the weekend. All three home teams won on Saturday as Bucknell topped Navy, Colgate beat Holy Cross and American snapped Lafayette's three-game winning streak. On Sunday, Lehigh went on the road and recorded an 85-76 victory at Army.
All four of Saturday's games will be shown on Patriot League All-Access, which will broadcast all remaining regular-season contests that are not televised on CBS Sports Network.
Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*The second half of the League schedule tips off on Saturday with four games.
*Each contest will be available on Patriot League All-Access.
*Lehigh is trying to continue its best start in Patriot League play since 2006.
*Bucknell aims to go at least 7-1 for the third year in a row.
*A win at Navy would give Lafayette a 5-3 League mark for the second straight season and fourth in the last six years.
*Army tries to get to .500 in the second half of League play for the first time since 2008, while Colgate has not been there since 2009.
*Bucknell aims to tie Stony Brook for the national lead with a 10th road win.
*Lehigh has an 8-3 road mark with eight wins in its last nine trips.
*22 of 28 Patriot League games have been decided by nine points or more.
*Only twice has a team trailing at halftime went on to win the game, and the lead changed hands in the second half in just six League games to date.
*21 of the 24 teams who went on to host a quarterfinal game in the last six years were in fourth place or better at midseason.
*Home teams have a slight 15-13 edge over road squads in Patriot League.
*Bucknell's Bryson Johnson is two three-pointers from the League record.
*Bucknell's Mike Muscala is fourth in the nation with 11.5 rebounds per game.
*Muscala and Lehigh's C.J. McCollum were each named finalists for the Senior CLASS Award on Wednesday.
*Army's Dylan Cox has 28 assists and no turnovers in his last six games.
Patriot League Notebook
Bucknell, Lehigh Hold the Edge at the Break
Bucknell and Lehigh were picked at the top of the Patriot League preseason poll, and the winners of the last three League championships have lived up to expectations halfway through the League schedule. The Bison and Mountain Hawks are both 6-1 in Patriot League play, with the pair combining for a 7-0 record on the road in League action. Bucknell is 6-1 after starting 6-1 and 7-0 in the first half the past two seasons, while Lehigh has its best mark at the midseason since 2006. One of the two leads the Patriot League in 15 of the 19 statistical categories. Both teams are also receiving high marks among their peers nationally, with Bucknell at No. 7 and Lehigh coming in at No. 13 in the College Insider.com and ESPN.com Mid-Major Top 25 polls this week.
Kings of the Road
Bucknell and Lehigh will each try to build their records on the road Saturday as the Bison visit Army and the Mountain Hawks head to Holy Cross. Bucknell has a 9-3 road record and trails only Stony Brook (10) for the most road victories in the country. Lehigh is right behind with an 8-3 mark in road games, with eight wins in its last nine road contests. Bucknell is 3-0 on the road in Patriot League play this season, while Lehigh is 4-0 and has won eight straight road games against Patriot League teams.
Standings Begin to Take Shape Halfway Through
History brings bad news for Holy Cross and Navy's hopes for a second-half surge to earn a home game in the Patriot League quarterfinals on March 6. In the six years since the quarterfinal round moved to home sites in 2007, only three of the 24 hosts emerged from outside of fourth place at the midway point of the schedule to earn a top-four seed. Holy Cross and Navy do have their name on that small list, as the Crusaders came from fifth place last year and the Mids did it along with Colgate in 2008.
On the Line this Weekend
While Lehigh and Bucknell aim to continue their fast starts, a group of other teams are trying to get their records to an area rarely visited in the second half of the League schedule. In the Colgate-American game, the Raiders are trying to get to. 500 in the second half of League play for the first time since 2009, and first at any point since winning their League opener in 2010. The Eagles, on the other hand, have not been under .500 through eight League games since 2007. A win over Bucknell would give Army a .500 mark in the second half of League action for the first time since the Black Knights were 4-4 in 2008, while Lafayette tries to get to 5-3 for the second year in a row and fourth in the past six seasons. On the other side, Holy Cross hopes to avoid its first five-game losing streak in League play since 1999 and Navy is trying to snap a 10-game home losing streak in League play.
The first half of the Patriot League schedule featured a nearly even home-road split and games decided early. Home squads hold a slim 15-13 advantage in League play at the break, a somewhat surprising number after the eight schools combined for a 34-13 home record in non-League play. Twenty-two of the 28 League games have been decided by nine points or more, with only four within five points. Colgate's win over Army on Jan. 23 and Army's over American on Jan. 26 marked the only games where the winning team overcame a halftime deficit, and the lead has only changed hands at any point after halftime in six League games.
Taking Care of the Ball
Patriot League teams have shown an ability to avoid miscues, as the League is one of only three Division I conferences with three or more teams in the top 30 in turnovers per game. Bucknell is fourth with just 10.0 turnovers per contest, while Lehigh is 24th (11.3) and Navy stands 30th (11.5). The Mountain Hawks and Bison are in the top 25 nationally in assist/turnover ratio.
Freshman Flourishing at West Point
The most impressive stat on the turnover list right now is held by Army freshman Dylan Cox, who has 28 assists and no turnovers in 160 minutes over the last six games. Cox was named Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week on Jan. 21, and was followed by teammates Kyle Wilson (Jan. 28) and Kyle Toth (Feb. 4) as the Black Knights became the first team to have three different freshmen win the honor consecutively. Wilson stands eighth in the Patriot League with 12.9 points per game. Army has started an all-freshmen lineup in the last three games, with Larry Toomey and Kevin Ferguson joining their fellow plebes.
Bucknell's Muscala, Lehigh's McCollum Named Senior CLASS Award Finalists
Bucknell's Mike Muscala and Lehigh's C.J. McCollum are two of the most outstanding seniors in college basektball both on and off the court, and were recognized for that success once again on Wednesday as two of the 10 finalists for the 2012-2013 Senior CLASS Award. Nationwide fan voting has begun to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website or on the Senior CLASS Award Facebook fan page through March 25.
Patriot League Games
Colgate Raiders (9-15, 3-4) at American Eagles (8-14, 3-4)
Bender Arena; Washington, D.C. - Saturday, 3 p.m.
*Colgate tries to get over .500 in Patriot League play for the first time since 2010 when it visits American on Saturday.
*The teams are locked in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Patriot League (along with Army) at 3-4.
*The Eagles have won six straight and 17 of the past 18 matchups, including a 72-63 win in Hamilton on Jan. 12.
*American has swept the season series with Colgate for the last two years.
*The Eagles are a perfect 13-0 at home against Colgate, including an 82-54 victory in last year's League opener.
*American is 24-3 against Colgate as a Patriot League member, including 20-3 in the regular season.
*The Raiders have not been at .500 in the second half of the League season since 2009, and were last at .500 at any point in League play after winning their opener in 2010.
*American has not been under .500 through eight League games since 2007.
Bucknell Bison (19-4, 6-1) at Army Black Knights (10-12, 3-4)
Christl Arena; West Point, N.Y. - Saturday, 4 p.m.
*Bucknell puts its impressive road record on the line when it pays a visit to Army on Saturday afternoon.
*The Bison have a 9-3 record on the road, just one win off the Division I lead (Stony Brook).
*Bucknell has won the last five meetings between the schools, all coming by double digits.
*That includes a 76-55 victory at home against the Black Knights on Jan. 12.
*Bucknell posted a 75-59 win at West Point when the teams matched up to open the Patriot League schedule in 2012.
*The Bison have won 31 of their last 35 games against Patriot League teams, but one of those losses was at Christl Arena as Army came away with a 90-70 win over Bucknell on Jan. 29, 2011.
*The Bison have been 7-1 and 8-0 through eight Patriot League games over the last two seasons.
*Army tries to get to .500 in the second half of League play for the first time since holding a 4-4 mark in 2008.
Lehigh Mountain Hawks (16-5, 6-1) at Holy Cross Crusaders (10-12, 2-5)
Hart Center; Worcester, Mass. - Saturday, 4 p.m.
*Lehigh goes for another road win when it takes on Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon.
*The Mountain Hawks have an 8-3 record on the road this year, with eight wins in their last nine road contests.
*The home team, however, has won the last six meetings between the Mountain Hawks and Crusaders.
*The teams split the season series in both 2011 and 2012 with the home team winning each contest.
*The Crusaders posted an 84-78 at home against Lehigh in the 2012 Patriot League opener.
*Holy Cross leads the all-time series 35-16, with all but one game played as League members.
*The Crusaders have won 17 of the last 18 against the Mountain Hawks at the Hart Center, with Lehigh's lone win in 2010.
*Lehigh is trying to continue its best start in the Patriot League since opening 11-1 in 2006.
*A loss would give Holy Cross its first five-game Patriot League skid since 1999 and worst eight-game record since 2008.
Lafayette Leopards (11-13, 4-3) at Navy Midshipmen (7-16, 1-6)
Alumni Hall; Annapolis, Md. - Saturday, 7 p.m.
*Lafayette goes for its fourth win in the last five games when it takes a visit to Navy on Saturday evening.
*Lafayette has won three straight and six of the last seven against Navy after beating the Mids 64-47 in Easton on Jan. 12.
*The Leopards swept the season series against the Mids in both 2010 and 2012.
*Navy's only win during that stretch was a 57-52 triumph at home against the Leopards in 2011.
*Navy has a 41-29 lead in the all-time series, though Lafayette holds a 25-21 edge as Patriot League members.
*Lafayette was 5-3 in the Patriot League last season and three times in the past five years.
*Navy is trying to snap a 10-game home losing streak in Patriot League play.
AMERICAN The Eagles went into the break on a high note with a 68-64 victory over Lafayette on Saturday at Bender Arena... American took the lead for good late in the second half and held off Lafayette down the stretch...The Eagles beat Lafayette for the 17th time in the last 18 meetings, and the 15th in a row in the regular season...American has still never been worse than 3-4 halfway through the Patriot League schedule as it put an end to a two-game losing skid...The Eagles went up 17 early in the second half, but Lafayette came back and the score was tied 50-50 with 7:40 to go...The Eagles took the lead for good from there, putting together a 10-3 run for a 60-53 lead with 4:17 to play...Daniel Munoz had a layup with 28 seconds to go and a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left after the Leopards had come within two each time to seal the win...Stephen Lumpkins had a big day for the Eagles, scoring 24 points while making 8-of-10 field goals and 8-of-9 free throws...Lumpkins stands fifth in the Patriot League with 15.4 points per game and second with 9.4 rebounds per contest...He is one of five players in American history with at least 1,200 points and 750 rebounds, and the first to do so since 1975...American completes a three-game homestand Saturday against Colgate.
ARMY Army's two-game win streak came to an end with an 85-76 loss at home against Lehigh on Sunday...The Black Knights fell to 3-4 in the Patriot League and in a fourth-place tie with American and Colgate in the standings...Army trailed by as many as 22 points in the first half, and never got all the way back even though it closed the gap to five four times in the second half...Army had an all-freshman starting five for the third straight game, with Kyle Toth leading the plebes and all Black Knights with 20 points...Kyle Wilson scored 12 points and Larry Toomey had 11 as the freshmen starters combined for 52 points in the game...On Wednesday, Ella Ellis had 23 points and Wilson added 21 as the Black Knights posted an 80-66 victory at Holy Cross...Army finished the game on a 12-2 run after the Crusaders had closed to within four with 4:03 to play...Army went 17-of-17 from the free throw line in the win...Toth was named Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week on Monday, making Army the first-ever school with three different freshman to win the award in consecutive weeks...Dylan Cox and Wilson won the previous two honors...In the last six games, Cox has 28 assists and no turnovers while playing 160 minutes at the point...Ellis is the ninth Black Knight to go over the 1,400-point mark in his career...The Black Knights have still never been over .500 midway through the League slate...Army opens its second half at home against Bucknell on Saturday.
BUCKNELL After using a late rally to survive in a 56-55 win at American on Wednesday, Bucknell made things easier on itself with a big early lead in a 69-54 triumph over Navy at home on Saturday... The Bison beat the Mids for the sixth straight time, and have won at least six of their first seven Patriot League games for three straight seasons...Bucknell has won 31 of 35 League games since the start of the 2011 season....Its 19-4 overall record is the third-best in program history after 23 games, with the 2005-06 and 1983-84 teams both starting 20-3...Bucknell led from start to finish, building a 34-22 advantage at half and putting the game away with 12 straight points early in the second half...Bryson Johnson scored 20 points while making 6-of-10 three-pointers in the game...He is up to a school record 300 career treys, just two away from the Patriot League mark held by American's Garrison Carr (2005-09)...Mike Muscala had his NCAA-best 16th double-double of the season with 11 points and a career-high tying 19 rebounds...Thirteen players got in the game and 11 scored for the Bison, and Bucknell held a 47-20 rebounding edge...Bucknell is second in the country with nine road victories, and tries to add another one on Saturday when it visits Army.
COLGATE Colgate dominated the second half to pull away for a 63-45 win over Holy Cross on Saturday at Cotterell Court...The Raiders won for the third time in their last four games, and have their best Patriot League record halfway through the League slate since also going 3-4 in 2008...Colgate also snapped a three-game losing streak to Holy Cross...Colgate went ahead for good with 13:23 to play by starting a 7-0 run that built a 37-31 advantage...The Raiders closed the game on a 17-4 surge to turn a tight contest into the 63-45 final...Murphy Burnatowski was the only Raider in double figures with 19 points, while Luke Roh turned in an impressive overall effort with five points, a career-high 14 rebounds and five assists...The Raiders had 13 assists with six turnovers in the game...Colgate shot an even 50% in the second half at 14-of-28 from the field...Colgate will try to get to .500 in the Patriot League for the first time since starting 1-0 in 2010 when it visits American on Saturday.
HOLY CROSS The Crusaders lost their fourth straight game as they fell 63-45 at Colgate on Saturday...Holy Cross has its fewest wins halfway through the League slate since 2010...The game was close most of the way, with the Crusaders up 31-30 in the second half before Colgate went on a 7-0 run to take the lead for good...The Raiders closed the game on a 17-4 run to pull away...Dave Dudzinski led the Crusaders with 15 points and added eight rebounds, while Phil Beans scored 10 in the game and Justin Burrell added nine points with five assists...No other player scored more than four points as the rest of the team combined to shoot just 5-of-22 from the field...Holy Cross has scored under 60 points in three of its last four games...It was a similar story on Wednesday, as Army broke open a close game with a 12-2 finishing run for an 80-66 victory at Holy Cross...The Crusaders return home on Saturday to face Lehigh, and will try to avoid their first five-game Patriot League losing skid since 1999 and first 2-6 start since 2008.
LAFAYETTE Lafayette rolled past Colgate 69-40 on Wednesday for its third straight win, then was edged 68-64 at American on Saturday as the streak came to an end...Seth Hinrichs was outstanding in both games, averaging 21.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for the week to earn both the Patriot League Anaconda and ECAC Player of the Week awards...He has scored in double figures in 13 of Lafayette's last 14 games, and has six 20-point games on the season...Lafayette had a valiant comeback at American, rallying from a 17-point second-half deficit to briefly take a one-point lead midway through the half...American went ahead for good by answering with a 10-3 run, and had a pair of buckets in the final 30 seconds after Lafayette had closed within two points each time...Lafayette had 14 assists with just six turnovers in the game, and has an outstanding rate of 72 assists and only 29 turnovers in the last four games...Lafayette fell to American for the 17th time in the last 18 meetings, and 15th in a row in the regular season despite a career-high tying 17 points from Bryce Scott and a team-high 18 for Hinrichs...The Leopards try to get back to their winning ways when they visit Navy on Saturday.
LEHIGH Lehigh went 2-0 on the road last week by defeating Army 85-76 on Sunday after winning at Navy 71-49 on Wednesday...The Mountain Hawks are 8-3 on the road this season, with eight wins in their last nine road contests...The 6-1 Patriot League record is Lehigh's best at midseason since 2006....All five starters scored in double figures at Army as Lehigh led by as many as 22 points in the first half...Lehigh led from start to finish, and came out on fire by making 13-of-16 shots to open the game...The stretch concluded with five three-pointers that fueled a 16-5 run and pushed the lead to 32-15 with 8:50 to go in the first half...Lehigh would later use an 11-2 run to go up 47-25 before Army scored the last six points of the first half to trim the deficit to 16 at the break..The Black Knights got to within five points on four ocassions in the second half, but Lehigh hit 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to go on to the 85-76 win...Mackey McKnight led the Mountain Hawks with 21 points and five assists, making 6-of-9 field goals and 8-of-10 free throws...Anthony D'Orazio added a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Gabe Knutson scored 18...Lehigh was over 50% at 30-of-56 from the field in the game, including a blistering 18-of-29 in the first half...Lehigh beat Army for the fourth straight time overall and fourth in a row at Christl Arena, and has now won seven of the past eight against the Black Knights in the last four years...Lehigh completes a three-game road trip on Saturday when it pays a visit to Holy Cross.
NAVY The Mids suffered a pair of losses on their toughest week of the League schedule, falling 69-54 at Bucknell on Saturday after a 71-49 defeat at home against Lehigh on Wednesday...Navy lost its sixth consecutive game to both the Bison and the Mountain Hawks...The Mids have dropped four straight and 10 of the last 11 overall...Navy trailed from start to finish against Bucknell, with the Bison pulling away with a 12-0 run early in the second half... Kevin Alter led the Mids with 15 points, while Worth Smith and Brandon Venturini each scored 11...Tilman Dunbar had eight points and five assists without a turnover as the Mids committed only eight turnovers against Bucknell...Navy was a solid 10-of-11 at the free throw line, but could not overcome its field-goal shooting or rebounding margin...The Mids will try to get back on track Saturday when they host Lafayette.