Patriot League Men's Basketball Weekend Preview - 2.15.13

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Mike Muscala and Bucknell visit Lafayette on Saturday.
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG
Mike Muscala and Bucknell visit Lafayette on Saturday.
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG

Feb. 15, 2013

Patriot League Men's Basketball Weekend Preview - 2.15.13 Get Acrobat Reader

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- The second Bucknell-Lehigh matchup, which may end up deciding the top seed in the Patriot League Tournament, is just days away. But first each school needs to take care of business on the road on Saturday.

The Bison carry a five-game win streak into Lafayette while the Mountain Hawks have won four in a row heading into their game at Colgate on Saturday, with both contests tipping off at 2 p.m. Both squads can clinch a home game in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals with a win on Saturday. They will face off in Bethlehem on Monday at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

Both the Bucknell-Lafayette and Lehigh-Colgate contests can be viewed on Patriot League All-Access, while the other two games this weekend will be shown on CBS Sports Network. Army visits Navy in the Star Game at 2 p.m. on Saturday, with the Black Knights going for their best 10-game record in League action. On Sunday, Holy Cross visits American in a Noon tip as the Patriot League will appear on CBS Sports Network for three straight days.

Bucknell, Lehigh, Navy and Holy Cross are going for season sweeps of their opponents, which has happened in all eight Patriot League series thus far. Bucknell topped Colgate 69-61, Lehigh beat American 60-47 and Army knocked off Lafayette 85-68 on Wednesday, with Holy Cross beating Navy 66-57 on Tuesday as all four winners completed season sweeps.

Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*The Patriot League will have games on CBS Sports Network for three consecutive days from Saturday-Monday.
*Bucknell and Lehigh can each clinch Patriot League Tournament home games with a win on Saturday.
*Bucknell is tied with Stony Brook for the national lead with 10 road wins.
*Lehigh is one behind with nine road wins and tied for third nationally.
*The pair is a combined 9-0 on the road in Patriot League action.
*Bucknell is going for its 13th Patriot League campaign of at least nine wins.
*Lehigh aims to reach nine Patriot League wins for the sixth time.
*The Bison are trying to start at least 9-1 in the League for a third straight year.
*Lehigh is trying to continue its best start in Patriot League play since 2006.
*Army tries to get to .500 through 10 League games for the first time.
*The Black Knights have not won a Star Game at Navy since 1992.
*Lafayette aims for a 6-4 Patriot League record for the second year in a row.
*All eight completed Patriot League series have ended in sweeps thus far.
*Home teams hold a slight 19-17 edge in Patriot League play.
*Only twice has a team come back from a halftime deficit to win in League play.
*27 of 36 Patriot League games have been decided by nine points or more.
*Bucknell's Mike Muscala is fourth in the country in rebounding and one of two in Patriot League history to reach 1,000 career boards.
*He ranks first in the nation with 18 double-doubles.

Patriot League Notebook

Bucknell, Lehigh Go For Patriot League Tournament Home Games
With winning League records already secured, Bucknell and Lehigh can each clinch at least one home game in the Patriot League Tournament with a win on Saturday. A victory would give each a 9-1 record heading into Monday's showdown on CBS Sports Network, and secure a home contest in at least the quarterfinal round of the League Tournament on March 6. Bucknell has secured a winning League mark for the fourth year in a row and 18th time in 23 seasons, and is going for its 13th year with nine League wins or more. Lehigh has its second straight and eighth overall winning League record, and plays for its sixth season with nine wins or more on Saturday. Bucknell has won 33 of 37 Patriot League games since the start of the 2011 season, while Lehigh has claimed wins in 13 of its last 14 League contests.

Kings of the Road
Bucknell and Lehigh go back on the road Saturday, trying to pad two of the best road marks in the nation. The Bison are tied with Stony Brook for the national lead with 10 road wins, while the Mountain Hawks are one of eight teams that are right behind with nine road wins. Bucknell's 12 road/neutral wins are tied with Gonzaga for the most in the nation, while Lehigh is one of five schools tied for fifth with five road/neutral wins. Lehigh has won nine of its last 10 road games overall. Both teams are especially exceptional on the road in Patriot League play. Lehigh has won nine straight road games against Patriot League opponents including a 5-0 mark this season, while Bucknell has a 4-0 road mark this season and is 16-2 away from Lewisburg in Patriot League action over the last three years.

Break Out the Brooms
Eight completed series, eight sweeps. Every one of the Patriot League series has finished in a sweep thus far. In the mid-week games, Bucknell swept Colgate for the fourth year in a row, while Holy Cross did it for the third straight time against Navy. Lehigh swept American for the first time since 2010, and Army did it to Lafayette for the first time since 2009. Bucknell and Lehigh have each swept both of their completed series this season, while Army, Holy Cross, Lafayette and American own one sweep each. This weekend, Bucknell goes for its third straight sweep of Lafayette, while Lehigh aims for its second in a row against Colgate. Navy has not swept Army since 2011, while Holy Cross last won both regular-season games against American in 2007.

Bucknell's Muscala Hits the 1,000-Rebound Mark
It was another huge night for Bucknell's Mike Muscala on Wednesday, scoring 27 points and pulling down 12 rebounds in a 69-61 win over Colgate. Muscala became the second Patriot Leaguer, and second Bucknell player, to go over 1,000 rebounds. He could challenge Adonal Foyle's League record of 1,103 rebounds. Muscala leads the nation with 18 double-doubles. He is fourth in the country with 11.4 rebounds per game, while ranking 26th in scoring (19.0 ppg) and 17th in blocked shots (2.7 bpg).

More Senior Stars
Muscala and Lehigh's C.J. McCollum are not the only seniors leaving their imprint on the Patriot League record book. The class of 2013 has six players in the top 50 in League history in scoring, one ahead of the class of 2007 as the most in Patriot League annals. There are seven senior 1,000-point scorers, giving the class of 2013 the second-most in League history. American's Stephen Lumpkins is also leaving his name high on the rebounding list, moving to third in Patriot League history behind only Colgate's Adonal Foyle and Bucknell's Mike Muscala. Bucknell's Bryson Johnson is the all-time leader in three-point field goals.

League Play Trends
Holding a lead at halftime is not usually a requirement for winning the game, but it sure seems that way in the Patriot League this season. The only comebacks from halftime deficits this year came in Colgate's win over Army on Jan. 23 and Army's over American on Jan. 26, a game the Black Knights trailed by just one point at the break. The lead has only changed hands after halftime in eight of the 36 Patriot League games to date. There have been 27 League games decided by nine points or more, and only five that came down within five points. Also, home teams have a slight 19-17 advantage in League action.

Patriot League with Three Straight Days on CBS Sports Network
After three weeks without a nationally-televised contest, six different Patriot League teams will be featured on CBS Sports Network in the next three days. It starts with the Star Game on Saturday at 2 p.m. as Army visits Navy, then continues at Noon on Sunday with Holy Cross at American. It's an early weekday game on Monday when Bucknell visits Lehigh at 7 p.m. in another chapter of their rivalry. The first Patriot League flex game will be Lehigh at Lafayette on Feb. 24, while the second flex game is set for the regular-season finale on March 2 at Noon. Coverage continues with the Patriot League semifinals on March 9 (2 and 4:30 p.m.) and the League Championship contest on March 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Patriot League Games

Bucknell Bison (21-4, 8-1) at Lafayette Leopards (12-14, 5-4)
Kirby Sports Center; Easton, Pa. - Saturday, 2 p.m.
TV: Lafayette Sports Network (RCN-4, RCN-8, WBPH-60)
*Bucknell tries to maintain its dominance of Lafayette when it visits the Leopards on Saturday at Kirby Sports Center.
*The Bison recorded a 66-51 win at home on Jan. 19 for their eighth straight victory over the Leopards.
*Bucknell has won six games against Lafayette in each of the last two seasons, sweeping the regular-season and claiming a Patriot League Tournament victory each year.
*Lafayette's last win over Bucknell came at home in 2010 by a 61-57 final.
*Lafayette holds an 85-67 lead in the series, though Bucknell has a 37-13 edge in games played as Patriot League members.
*Bucknell is trying to get to at least 9-1 in the Patriot League for the third year in a row.
*A victory would also guarantee a top-four seed and home game in the Patriot League Tournament for the Bison.
*Lafayette aims for a 6-4 Patriot League record for the second year in a row and third in the past four seasons.

Lehigh Mountain Hawks (18-5, 8-1) at Colgate Raiders (9-17, 3-6)
Cotterell Court; Hamilton, N.Y. - Saturday, 2 p.m.
TV: Time Warner Sports Central New York
*Lehigh aims to secure a home game in the Patriot League Tournament when it visits Colgate on Saturday afternoon.
*A win would have Lehigh hosting in the quarterfinal round for the fourth year in a row and sixth in seven seasons. *Lehigh won all three games between the teams last year, sweeping the regular-season contests and winning in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Tournament.
*The Raiders won both games against Lehigh in 2011.
*Colgate leads the all-time series 47-33, with a 30-20 advantage over the Mountain Hawks as Patriot League members.
*The Mountain Hawks are trying to continue their best Patriot League-opening run since starting 11-1 in 2006, and have won 13 of their last 14 League games overall.
*A 4-6 record would be Colgate's best through 10 Patriot League games since 2010.

Army Black Knights (11-13, 4-5) at Navy Midshipmen (7-18, 1-8)
Alumni Hall; Annapolis, Md. - Saturday, 2 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
*Academy rivals Army and Navy square off in the Star Game on Saturday at 2 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
*Navy posted a 59-50 win at Army on Jan. 20 and is trying to sweep its rival for the second time in three years.
*Army won both meetings last year as there have been consecutive sweeps in the series after splits from 2004-10.
*Navy has defeated Army in the Star Game for eight of the past 10 and 17 of the last 20 seasons.
*However, Army won the Star Game contests at home in both 2010 and 2012.
*Army has not won a Star Game at Navy since 1992, but snapped a three-game skid overall in Annapolis last season.
*The Alumni Trophy is presented to the winner of the game, which consists of plates with the seal of both academies.
*Navy leads the all-time series, 72-45, with a 35-13 edge as Patriot League members.
*Army is trying to improve to 5-5, which would be its best-ever record through 10 League games and mark the fifth time the Black Knights have reached five wins in Patriot League play.

Holy Cross Crusaders (11-13, 3-6) at American Eagles (9-15, 4-5)
Bender Arena; Washington, D.C. - Sunday, 12 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
*Holy Cross heads to American for a Noon tilt on Sunday on CBS Sports Network.
*The Crusaders are trying to sweep the season series with the Eagles for the first time since 2007.
*Holy Cross recorded its most lopsided win of the season when it beat American 79-60 at home on Jan. 19.
*The Crusaders have won the last two meetings in the series, both at home.
*The Eagles have won the last six meetings with the Crusaders at Bender Arena, dating back to the 2008 quarterfinals.
*American has won three of the last five and six of the past nine games against Holy Cross overall.
*Holy Cross holds an 18-11 edge in the all-time series, with a 14-9 lead in regular-season Patriot League games.

Team Notebooks

AMERICAN The Eagles fought back from a 16-point deficit to tie Lehigh in the second half, but then saw the Mountain Hawks go on a 13-0 run to record a 60-47 win on Wednesday at Stabler Arena...American was swept in the season series by Lehigh for the first time since 2010, and fell to a tie for fourth place at 4-5 in the Patriot League...Lehigh took control early with a 15-4 lead, and American trailed by eight at the break...The Mountain Hawks put up the first eight points of the second half to build a 16-point lead, but American surged back from there...American scored eight straight points to get within 38-30, then answered a Lehigh three-pointer with a 13-2 run to even the score at 43-43 on a Mike Bersch trey with 6:31 left...But Lehigh scored the next 13 points from there to take control and go on to the win... Stephen Lumpkins paced American with 10 points and 13 rebounds, helping lead the way to a 40-29 edge on the boards...Lumpkins moved into third place in Patriot League history with 833 career rebounds...American saw its two-game win streak come to an end, but tries to get going again at home when it welcomes Holy Cross on Sunday at Noon on CBS Sports Network.

ARMY Army was impressive from start to finish and rolled to an 85-68 win at Lafayette on Wednesday at Kirby Sports Center...The Black Knights swept the Leopards for the first time since 2009 after getting swept by Lafayette in each of the last three seasons...Army's 4-5 mark is its best through nine Patriot League games since the 2008 season, and the Black Knights put an end to a two-game losing skid...Army never trailed in the game, going on an early 9-0 run to build an 11-2 lead less than seven minutes into the contest...The Black Knights had a 16-4 stretch later in the period and held a 38-19 edge at halftime...Lafayette scored the first 10 points of the second half to briefly get back within single digits, but Army responded with the next 10 to pull back in front by 19 and went up by as many as 31 in the blowout win...Army shot over 55 percent for the game at 30-of-54, and was unconscious from three-point range with a 13-of-24 clip...Kyle Wilson led the way with 24 points on 9-of-13 from the field, while Ella Ellis added 20 points and Kyle Toth had 14...Army dominated the boards with a 43-25 advantage...The Black Knights also excelled defensively, particularly in the first half when they limited Lafayette to 8-of-28 from the field and 1-of-12 from three-point range...Army stays on the road Saturday when it visits rival Navy at 2 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

BUCKNELL Locked in a two-point game with under eight minutes to play, Bucknell turned to its star and Mike Muscala delivered with a big closing stretch in a 69-61 victory against Colgate on Wednesday at Sojka Pavilion...Muscala finished with his NCAA-best 18th double-double by racking up 27 points and 12 rebounds, and scored 12 of the Bison's final 20 points after Colgate had trimmed the Bucknell lead to 49-47...Muscala made 12-of-21 shots in the game...He became just the second Patriot Leaguer, and second Bucknell player, to go over 1,000 rebounds in a career...Bucknell never trailed in the game, scoring the first nine points and going up 34-23 at the half...After Colgate got to within two, Muscala responded with consecutive baskets to put the Bison back up six, and converted a big bucket with 2:02 to play to push the lead to 64-58...The Bison led by at least six points the rest of the way as they went on to the 69-61 final...Cameron Ayers had a strong game with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Bryson Johnson added 12...Bucknell swept the season series with Colgate for the fourth year in a row, beating the Raiders for the eighth consecutive meeting overall...The Bison improve to at least 8-1 in the Patriot League for the third year in a row, and have won 33 of their last 37 League contests...They have won five straight games heading into Saturday's afternoon contest at Lafayette.

COLGATE The Raiders hung tough with one of the Patriot League co-leaders, but could never go ahead and fell at Bucknell 69-61 on Wednesday...It was the fourth straight year that the Raiders were swept in the season series by the Bison...Colgate gave up the first nine points of the game, and trailed 34-23 at the half...The Raiders fought back from there to get as close as 49-47 with 7:49 left...Colgate would stay in touch the rest of the way, but would get no closer as Bucknell hit key shots to fend off the Raiders...Murphy Burnatowski led Colgate with 23 points and seven rebounds, making 9-of-18 shots from the field...The Raiders were a solid 22-of-46 from the field, but struggled from long range and left points at the foul line with a 13-of-21 clip...Colgate outrebounded the Bison 32-30, but was hurt by committing six more turnovers than Bucknell...The Raiders fell for the third straight time, and have another tough test on Saturday when they play the other co-leader as Lehigh comes to Hamilton for a 2 p.m. tip-off.

HOLY CROSS The Crusaders put an end to their longest Patriot League losing streak since 1999 with a 66-57 win at home against Navy on Tuesday evening...The Crusaders had lost five straight games coming in, but swept the season series with Navy for the third year in a row with their sixth straight win over the Mids...It was also Holy Cross's fifth in a row against Navy at the Hart Center...Holy Cross never trailed in the game, jumping out to an 11-2 lead less than four minutes into the contest and building the advantage as high as 18 points in the first half before settling on a 43-28 lead at the break...Navy rallied back to get as close as four points twice in the second half and was within five with 1:58 to play, but Holy Cross sealed the win at the foul line in the final 30 seconds...Justin Burrell led the Crusaders with 14 points and five assists, while Dave Dudzinski added 13 points and eight rebounds...Holy Cross shot 14-of-25 from the field in the first half to build the lead...It also had an advantage at the foul line with a 19-of-25 night, and dished out 15 assists in the game...The Crusaders are back in action on Sunday when they visit American in a game that will be shown on CBS Sports Network.

LAFAYETTE The Leopards could never get on track Wednesday as they fell 85-68 at home against Army...Lafayette gave up an early 9-0 run to fall behind 11-2, and later saw Army go on a 16-4 surge to build a 38-19 lead at the half...Lafayette opened with the first 10 points of the second half to get back within single digits, but Army answered with the next 10 and led by as many as 31 before the Leopards scored the last 12 points to make the final closer...Tony Johnson led Lafayette with 18 points, while Seth Hinrichs and Bryce Scott each added 16...The trio combined to make 7-of-12 shots from long range, but the rest of the Leopards were just 2-of-16 from downtown...Johnson also added seven assists with four steals in the game...Lafayette lost at home for the first time in Patriot League action, and had won eight consecutive home contests overall...The Leopards stay at Kirby Sports Center on Saturday as Bucknell comes to town for a 2 p.m. contest.

LEHIGH With the score tied and just over six minutes remaining, Lehigh put together a 13-0 run to pull away for a 60-47 win over American on Wednesday at Stabler Arena...The Mountain Hawks kept up their best Patriot League start since 2006, and swept the season series with the Eagles for the first time since 2010...Lehigh has won 13 of its last 14 Patriot League games, and won its third in a row against the Eagles...Lehigh had control of the game early, opening up a 15-4 lead less than nine minutes into the contest and going on to a 28-20 lead at the break...The Mountain Hawks scored the first eight points of the second half to build their lead to 36-20, but the Eagles fought back from there...American scored eight straight points to get within 38-30, then answered a Lehigh three-pointer with a 13-2 run to even the score at 43-43...Lehigh re-gained control from there, going on the 13-0 surge in a span of 3:03 to pull back in front and go on to the 60-47 win...Gabe Knutson led the Mountain Hawks with 18 points, making 4-of-5 shots from beyond the arc...Anthony D'Orazio had 15 points and made 3-of-6 three-pointers as Lehigh hit 10-of-19 from downtown in the game...Mackey McKnight had nine points and nine assists as Lehigh finished with 15 assists and seven turnovers...The Mountain Hawks held the Eagles to 19-of-54 from the field and just 5-of-22 from three-point range, and also forced 14 American turnovers...Lehigh puts its perfect Patriot League road mark (5-0) on the line Saturday when it visits Colgate at 2 p.m...The Mountain Hawks have won nine consecutive road games against Patriot League foes.

NAVY The Mids nearly erased an 18-point first-half deficit, but could not come all the way back in a 66-57 loss at Holy Cross on Tuesday...Trailing by 15 at halftime, Navy came out with the first 10 points of the second half to tighten up the game...The Mids would get as close as four points on two ocassions, and trailed 62-57 with 1:58 to play... Navy missed a pair of three-pointers to make it a one-possession game, and Holy Cross sealed the win at the foul line in the final 30 seconds... Worth Smith led Navy with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Brandon Venturini added 14...Tilman Dunbar scored seven points and dished out seven assists....The Mids lost for the sixth straight time and 12th in the last 13 games...They will go for the season sweep of rival Army when the academies face off in the Star Game on Saturday at 2 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.