Patriot League Men's Basketball Weekend Preview - 2.14.14

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Bucknell's Steven Kaspar
Bucknell's Steven Kaspar

Feb. 14, 2014

Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 2.14.14 Get Acrobat Reader

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The top four teams in the Patriot League have separated from the group by winning on the road this season, and they will all get a chance to do just that on Saturday.

Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*The top four teams in the Patriot League standings all go on the road on Saturday.
*American heads to Lafayette and Boston University is at Loyola Maryland with the Eagles and Terriers tied for first place.
*American and BU can also clinch top-four seeds in the Patriot League Tournament with a win.
*Holy Cross goes to Lehigh while Army heads to Bucknell, with the Crusaders up a game on the Black Knights for third.
*The top four teams are 19-7 on the road in League play, and 16-2 on the road against the other six squads in the standings.
*Colgate is at Navy to complete Saturday's schedule, with each game available on Patriot League Network.
*The American/Lafayette, Holy Cross/Lehigh and BU/Loyola games will also be televised.
*American leads the nation by shooting 50.6% from the field this season.
*BU's Maurice Watson Jr. is already in the Patriot League single-season top 10 with 173 assists.
*Lafayette's Seth Hinrichs has become the seventh active Patriot Leaguer and first junior to reach 1,000 career points.
*More than one-third of Patriot League games (22-of-65) have been decided by five points or less.

Patriot League Notebook
Top Four Squads Go on the Road Saturday
The top four teams in the Patriot League have separated from the group by winning on the road this season, and they will all get a chance to do just that on Saturday. It starts in the afternoon when American puts its share of first place on the line at Lafayette and Holy Cross heads to Lehigh, both at 2 p.m. Army goes to Bucknell at 7 p.m., while Boston University visits Loyola Maryland at 8 p.m. American (5-1) and Boston University (5-1) each have just one road loss, while Army (5-2) and Holy Cross (4-3) have posted strong marks as well. The quartet is 16-2 on the road against the other six teams in the Patriot League. Colgate also goes to Navy at 7 p.m. in a matchup of teams tied for eighth place. All five games will be available on Patriot League Network, with American/Lafayette, Holy Cross/Lehigh and BU/Loyola also televised.

Eagles, Terriers Can Clinch Quarterfinal Home Games
Four teams will host games in the Patriot League quarterfinals on March 5, and two of those precious spots could be locked up by Saturday. American and Boston University will both clinch top-four seeds and the right to host in the quarters with victories or losses by Lehigh and Bucknell. The Eagles have been a top-four seed in the League Tournament in 11 of their 12 seasons, only falling short with a No. 5 seed last year. The 2014 Patriot League Tournament begins with the first round on March 3 with the No. 10 seed at the No. 7 and No. 9 at No. 8. The quarterfinals will be hosted by the top four seeds, with the 9/8 winner playing at No. 1 and 10/7 winner at No. 2. The semifinals are at the higher seeds in each bracket on March 8, with the Patriot League Championship on March 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the site of the higher seed. The first round and quarterfinal games will be available on Patriot League Network, with the semifinals and championshp on CBS Sports Network.

American, BU Stay Tied for First While Holy Cross Takes Sole Possesssion of Third
American and Boston University each picked up wins on Wednesday to remain tied for first place in Patriot League men's basketball, while Holy Cross emerged in third place with a 66-63 victory over Army. The Eagles were behind early before going on a dominant 32-7 stretch to pull away for a 64-44 win at home against Lehigh, while the Terriers answered a late run by Colgate for a 76-74 victory in Hamilton. Holy Cross follows the top two in the standings by itself as the Crusaders held off Army to move into sole possession of third place. Holy Cross swept the season series with the Black Knights as Kyle Wilson's shot to tie at the buzzer was off the mark. Bucknell and Lafayette each won decisively at home. The Bison topped Navy 78-57 to move into a fifth-place tie with Lehigh, while the Leopards upended Loyola Maryland 61-44.

BU's Watson, Lehigh's McKnight Among Nation's Assist Leaders
Boston University sophomore Maurice Watson Jr. and Lehigh senior Mackey McKnight are on opposite ends of their careers, but are both tearing up the Patriot League this season. Watson is seventh in the country with 6.7 assists per game, while McKnight is not far behind in 13h at 6.0 per contest. Watson already has 173 assists for the season to sit in the Patriot League top 10, while McKnight is up to third in League history with 542 assists for his career. Both players are also in the top 10 in the Patriot League in scoring this season, with McKnight already in the 1,000-point club.

Lafayette's Hinrichs Becomes First Member of Class of 2015 in 1,000-Point Club
Lafayette's Seth Hinrichs became the first member of the class of 2015 to join the 1,000-point club when he just topped the mark on Wednesday to get to 1,001 points. Active Patriot Leaguers with over 1,000 points in their career also include Loyola's Dylon Cormier (1,659), Bucknell's Cameron Ayers (1,437), Boston University's D.J. Irving (1,358), Lehigh's Mackey McKnight (1,249), Holy Cross' Dave Dudzinski (1,236) and BU's Dom Morris (1,045).

Loyola's Cormier Out for Extended Period After Surgery
Cormier leads the way among active Patriot Leaguers in scoring and tops the charts with 21.2 points per game this year, but he might not have a chance to add to those numbers. Loyola announced last week that Cormier had surgery on his left hand to repair two fractures sustained in the Greyhounds game against the Army on Feb. 1 Cormier will be out indefinitely and likely will miss the remainder of the season.

League Trends
Two more Patriot League games were decided by fewer than five points on Wednesday, and more than one-third of the matchups have come within five points or less with 22 such games in League play this season. There have been 36 games decided by single digits overall and 29 margins of 10 points or more. Home teams have a 37-28 advantage in Patriot League play, with the top four squads going 19-7 on the road but the other six totaling just a 9-30 mark away from home.

Eagles Lead the Nation in Field Goal Percentage
American has shot 48% or better for eight consecutive games after hitting that mark in a 64-44 win over Lehigh on Wednesday. The Eagles have been over 50% six times during that stretch, and are shooting 52.9% in League play while leading the nation with a 50.6% mark for the season.

Lighting it Up from Long Range
A handful of Patriot League teams had big nights from beyond the arc on Wednesday. Holy Cross (10-of-20), Boston University (10-of-21) and Bucknell (8-of-14) turned their long range success into a victory, while Colgate (10-of-22) and Navy (11-of-24) had solid nights in defeat. The Mids are 22-of-44 from three-point land in the last two games.

CBS Sports Network, Patriot League Network Cover the Season
CBS Sports Network has already shown 10 Patriot League games this season, with flex games to come as the regular season closes out on Feb. 23 and March 1. The Bucknell/Boston University contest has been selected as the flex game for Feb. 23. CBSSN also has both semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament on March 8 at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. and the Patriot League Championship on March 12 at 7:30 p.m. Any game that is not shown on CBS Sports Network will be available with free online web streaming through Patriot League Network. Campus Insiders, which powers Patriot League Network, has also produced three broadcasts on PLN this season, and has one more left with Boston University at Army on Feb. 26.

Patriot League Games
American Eagles (15-9, 11-2) at Lafayette Leopards (7-17, 3-10)
Kirby Sports Center; Easton, Pa. - Saturday, 2 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network | Lafayette Sports Network (RCN-4, RCN-8, WBPH-60)
*American tries to earn a top-four seed in the Patriot League Tournament when it visits Lafayette on Saturday.
*A win would give the Eagles a top-four spot for the 12th time in 13 League seasons, only missing out last year.
*American scored the last seven points for a 66-61 home win over Lafayette on Jan. 18.
*American beat Lafayette for the 18th time in the last 20 meetings, though the Leopards won 80-72 at home last year.
*Lafayette's win was the first for the Leopards over the Eagles in the regular season since 2005.

Holy Cross Crusaders (15-10, 9-4) at Lehigh Mountain Hawks (13-13, 6-7)
Stabler Arena; Bethlehem, Pa. - Saturday, 2 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network | Service Electric 2 Sports
*Red-hot Holy Cross has won three straight and eight of its last nine heading into Lehigh on Saturday.
*The Crusaders had an impressive win over Lehigh as they beat the Mountain Hawks 61-42 at home on Jan. 18.
*Holy Cross is trying to sweep the matchups with Lehigh for the first time since 2009.
*That was also the last time the Crusaders posted a win at Stabler Arena.
*Holy Cross can reach 10 Patriot League wins for the first time since 2009 when the Crusaders finished 11-3.
*Lehigh has won three straight home games, while Holy Cross has claimed four of five on the road.
*Holy Cross leads the all-time series 36-17, with all but one game played as League members.

Army Black Knights (12-12, 8-5) at Bucknell Bison (11-13, 6-7)
Sojka Pavilion; Lewisburg, Pa. - Saturday, 7 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Army and Bucknell square off in Lewisburg on Saturday in a game that could be important for League Tournament seeding.
*Four teams host in the quarterfinals, with Army sitting in fourth place at 8-5 and Bucknell tied for fifth at 6-7.
*The Bison particularly need the win because Army posted a 74-67 victory in the first meeting at West Point on Jan. 19.
*Kyle Wilson had 28 points in the win while Josh Herbeck had 18 and went 6-of-6 from three-point range for Army.
*Army snapped a seven-game losing skid against Bucknell and beat the Bison for the first time since 2011.
*Bucknell has won six straight meetings at Sojka Pavilion over the past four seasons.
*The Black Knights last swept the Bison in 2009, also the last time they won at Bucknell.

Colgate Raiders (9-15, 3-10) at Navy Midshipmen (8-16, 3-10)
Alumni Hall; Annapolis, Md. - Saturday, 7 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Colgate and Navy face off for positioning in the standings when they meet at Alumni Hall on Saturday.
*The teams are tied for eighth place in the standings along with Lafayette at 3-10 in the Patriot League.
*Colgate is trying to sweep the Mids for the third consecutive season after a 63-41 win at home on Jan. 18.
*The Raiders opened the game with a 14-0 lead and were up by double digits throughout.
*Colgate has won five straight matchups since Navy swept the contests in 2011.
*Each of the three victories over the last two seasons has come by double digits.
*Colgate holds a 30-24 lead in the all-time series, and is up 25-20 in Patriot League regular-season games.

Boston University Terriers (18-8, 11-2) at Loyola Md Greyhounds (10-14, 5-8)
Reitz Arena; Baltimore, Md. - Saturday, 8 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network | Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN)
*Boston University can clinch a quarterfinal home game in the Patriot League Tournament with a win at Loyola on Saturday.
*The Terriers are tied for first place with American at 11-2 and would guarantee a top-four finish with a win.
*BU topped Loyola 72-58 in the first meeting as Patriot League members in Boston on Jan. 20.
*Loyola won at home against BU 70-63 in last year's College Insider Tournament.
*The Greyhounds also won at home 69-56 in 2012 against BU as part of BracketBusters as the teams are tied 2-2 all-time.
*Loyola has a 5-1 home record in Patriot League games while BU is 5-1 on the road in League play.

Team Notebooks
AMERICAN The Eagles snapped a two-game losing skid and remained in a tie for first place in the Patriot League with a 64-44 win at home against Lehigh on Wednesday... American shook off a slow start to take over late in the first half and into the second...The Eagles trailed 18-12 with just over seven minutes to play in the first half before closing the period on a 15-2 run for a 27-20 lead at the break...AU kept it going in the second half by opening with a 17-5 run, making it a 32-7 stretch overall for a 44-25 lead with 12 minutes left....Darius Gardner had 17 points, six assists and five steals for the Eagles, while Tony Wroblicky filled the stat sheet with 15 points and 12 rebounds...Wroblicky also had two blocks to set the school record with 140 in his career...Jesse Reed had 14 points while John Schoof had 12 as American's top four scorers accounted for all but six of the team's points...The Eagles shot 22-of-45 from the field to hit 48% or better for the eighth game in a row, and also made 15-of-18 free throws...American also did the job defensively by holding Lehigh to 15-of-43 shooting and forcing 21 Mountain Hawk turnovers....The Eagles swept the season series with Lehigh for the first time since 2011...A win on Saturday at Lafayette would guarantee the Eagles a top-four seed in the Patriot League Tournament.

ARMY Army fell out of a third-place tie with Holy Cross with a 66-63 loss to the Crusaders on Wednesday at the Hart Center...The Black Knights were also swept in the season series by the Crusaders...Army took the lead with an 11-2 run for a 51-50 advantage with six minutes left, but Holy Cross re-gained the edge and held off the Black Knights down the stretch...Kyle Wilson twice cut the deficit to one point on a three-pointer, including a trey with 21 seconds left to bring the score to 62-61...Wilson got off a three to tie at the buzzer, but it was off the mark...He led the Black Knights with 23 points, 19 of which came in the second half... Dylan Cox scored 14 and Tanner Omlid added 11 for Army, which played without second-leading scorer Tanner Plomb...The Black Knights have dropped two straight and four of the last six, a stretch they try to put a stop to on Saturday at Bucknell.

BOSTON UNIVERSITY After seeing a double-digit lead evaporate, Boston University made key plays down the stretch for a 76-74 win at Colgate on Wednesday...The Raiders had gone ahead 69-68 with 3:21 left by using a 17-4 run to rally from a 12-point deficit...John Papale hit a three 18 seconds later to put BU back in front for good and ignite an 8-2 run for the Terriers...BU held a 73-71 lead in the final minute before Papale hit a jumper with 28 seconds to go and D.J. Irving added a free throw with 13 seconds left to seal the win...The Terriers won their third straight game, and are 10 games over .500 (18-8) at any point in a season for the first time since 2004-05...Dom Morris led BU with 16 points, while Papale (13), Maurice Watson Jr. (12) and Malik Thomas (10) also finished in double figures...BU shot 31-of-58 overall and 10-of-21 from three-point range for the game, with clips of 16-of-25 and 6-of-11, respectively, in the second half...The Terriers dished out 17 assists against only six turnovers. as they overcame a halftime deficit to win in both meetings against Colgate this year...Boston University can clinch a top four seed in the Patriot League Tournament with a win at Loyola on Saturday.

BUCKNELL The Bison avenged a loss to Navy last month by taking control early in a 78-57 win at home on Wednesday...They took the lead for good five minutes into the game as part of an 8-0 run that pushed the advantage to 17-9...Bucknell then closed the first half with a 13-1 run for a 44-21 advantage at the break, and led by at least 17 points throughout the second half...Chris Hass (15), Brian Fitzpatrick (14), Dom Hoffman (14) and Cameron Ayers (13) all scored in double figures for the Bison...Steven Kaspar had only three points, but did everything else with 10 assists, nine rebounds and four steals in the contest...The Bison had a solid shooting night at 30-of-65 overall and 8-of-14 from three-point range... Bucknell also held a 38-27 rebounding edge and forced 18 Navy turnovers while committing only eight of its own...Bucknell's 14 steals were its most since 2006...The Bison beat the Mids for the ninth time in the last 10 meetings...Bucknell, tied for fifth place with Lehigh at 6-7, tries to get back to .500 in League play when it hosts Army on Saturday.

COLGATE The Raiders played well against a first-place team for the second straight contest, but could not pull it out down the stretch as they fell 76-74 to Boston University on Wednesday...Colgate used a 17-4 run to take a 69-68 lead with 3:21 left, but BU countered with an 8-2 run to pull out the win...Murphy Burnatowski led the Raiders with 27 points while making 8-of-15 shots and 6-of-11 three-pointers, matching his season-high point total set in the first meeting against BU...Damon Sherman-Newsome added 15 points while Ethan Jacobs had 11 as Colgate shot 27-of-49 for the game and 10-of-22 from long range...The Raiders have played the top three teams in the Patriot League consecutively, and held their own with a 63-60 win at American on Saturday and 69-68 home loss to Holy Cross on Feb. 4...Colgate is tied for eighth place with both Navy and Lafayette as it looks for a sweep of the season series with the Mids on Saturday in Annapolis.

HOLY CROSS Holy Cross made big shots down the stretch to hold on for a 66-63 win over Army on Wednesday at the Hart Center...The Crusaders swept the Black Knights for the first time since 2011, going a game ahead of Army for third place in the Patriot League in the process...After the Crusaders used a 19-2 run spanning the first and second half to turn an eight-point deficit into a 40-31 lead, the Black Knights put together an 11-2 stretch for a 51-50 lead with six minutes to play...Eric Green hit a pair of free throws to put Holy Cross back ahead for good, and Malcolm Miller hit a jumper and a three-pointer for a 57-53 lead with 2:28 left...After Army's Kyle Wilson cut it to one with a three-pointer, Justin Burrell made a three-pointer as the shot clock expired for a 60-56 Holy Cross lead with 1:18 left...Wilson cut it back to two, but Dave Dudzinski scored with 29 seconds left to build Holy Cross' lead to 62-58...Wilson answered with a three to cut it to 62-61 with 21 seconds left, but Burrell went 4-for-4 at the line, both in 1-and-1 situations, as Holy Cross held a 66-63 lead with 12 seconds left...Army had a shot to tie, but this time Wilson's three-pointer was off the mark at the buzzer...Dudzinski had a season-high 26 points for the Crusaders, while Burrell added 10 points and nine assists....Holy Cross made only 22-of-51 shots overall, but hit 10-of-20 from three-point range and also stepped up at the line with a 12-of-14 clip...The Crusaders have won eight of nine as they visit Lehigh on Saturday, trying put more distance ahead of the Mountain Hawks for a top-four spot in the League tourney.

LAFAYETTE Lafayette took the lead for good late in the first half and carried the momentum into the second for a 61-44 win over Loyola Maryland on Wednesday...The Leopards finished the first half on a 6-1 run for a 27-22 lead, then started the second with a 15-5 stretch to build the advantage to 42-27 with 16:36 to play...Lafayette would push the lead as high as 24 points before settling on the 17-point win...Dan Trist led Lafayette with 14 points while Seth Hinrichs scored 13, going over 1,000 in his career in the contest...Hinrichs became the first active junior in the Patriot League to reach the 1,000-point mark...Lafayette shot an even 50% from the field at 25-of-50 and limited Loyola to 16-of-48 overall and 1-of-14 from three-point range while forcing 17 Greyhound turnovers...The Leopards won for the third time in four games following an 11-game losing skid...The Leopards have won two in a row at home as they welcome first-place American Saturday.

LEHIGH The Mountain Hawks got off to a good start at first-place American on Wednesday, but could not keep it up and fell to the Eagles 64-44...Lehigh was up 18-12 before the Eagles closed the first half on a 15-2 run and opened the second with a 17-5 stretch to blow the game out...Lehigh never got back within single digits after that point...Austin Price led Lehigh with 20 points, but no other player scored more than six for the Mountain Hawks...Lehigh was swept in the season series by American for the first time since 2011...It tries to avoid the same fate against Holy Cross on Saturday.

LOYOLA MARYLAND Offensive struggles continued for the Greyhounds in a 61-44 loss at Lafayette on Wednesday...Loyola has only totaled 96 points in losing consecutive road trips to Lehigh and Lafayette...The game was tied late in the first half until Lafayette closed the period with a 6-1 run and opened the second with a 15-5 stretch to build a 15-point lead...The Leopards went up by as many as 24 points in the second half... Franz Rassman and R.J. Williams led the Greyhounds with 10 points apiece as they fell to 0-7 on the road in Patriot League action....Loyola will be back at home for its next two games beginning on Saturday night against first-place Boston University.

NAVY Navy could not carry the momentum from Saturday's win at Army as the Mids fell 78-57 at Bucknell on Saturday...The Bison took the lead for good midway through the first half and used a 13-1 run to close the period for a 44-21 lead at the break...Navy never got closer than 17 points in the second half...Navy lost to Bucknell for the ninth time in 10 meetings after breaking an eight-game skid with a 62-61 win over the Bison at home on Jan. 15...Brandon Venturini had 15 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting for Navy, which went 11-of-24 overall from downtown...The Mids are 22-of-44 from beyond the arc in the last two games...They also made 22-of-50 field goals against Bucknell, but hit just 2-of-8 free throws...Navy is tied for eighth place in the Patriot League with Lafayette and Colgate, who the Mids welcome to Alumni Hall on Saturday evening.