Feb. 17, 2012
Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 2.17.12
Center Valley, Pa.
- Bucknell, Lehigh and American have combined for a 21-2 record against the rest of the Patriot League, and that dominance has the trio in line to secure high seeds for the Patriot League Tournament on the penultimate weekend of the regular season.
Despite a gut-wrenching loss in the final seconds to Lehigh on Thursday, Bucknell can still lock up the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament if it can win at Holy Cross on Saturday. At 10-1, the Bison have a two-game lead over both Lehigh and American in the Patriot League standings.
The Mountain Hawks and Eagles can each seal their spots in the top four of the League standings on Saturday, and lock up a home game in the quarterfinals of the League Tournament on Feb. 29. Lehigh hosts rival Lafayette on CBS Sports Network, while American visits Army.
All three games tip off at 4 p.m., with the Bucknell/Holy Cross and American/Army contests shown on Patriot League All-Access in addition to the Lafayette/Lehigh game on CBS Sports Network. Also on Saturday, Colgate visits Navy at 7 p.m. on Patriot League All-Access.
While the top three teams are nearing their spots as hosts in the quarterfinal round, the fourth place in the standings is very much up for grabs. Holy Cross beat Lafayette 70-63 on Wednesday to tie the Leopards at 6-5 in the Patriot League, while Army is one game behind after a 79-59 win at Colgate. American won 69-47 at home against Navy on Wednesday.
The best game of the week was saved for natonal television, as Lehigh rallied late for a 56-53 victory at Bucknell on Thursday on CBS Sports Network. C.J. McCollum hit the game-winning three-pointer with 0.8 seconds left as the Mountain Hawks closed the game on a 12-2 run. Bucknell saw its 12-game overall win streak come to an end, as well as a 20-game streak versus Patriot League opponents.
Patriot League Notebook
Bucknell Plays for No. 1 Seed in Patriot League Tournament
Bucknell came up short in its first chance for the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament when it lost to Lehigh on Thursday, but the Bison can still seal up the top spot with a win over Holy Cross on Saturday. The Bison won the League Tournament as the No. 1 seed both last season and in 2006, which started a run of six consecutive seasons where the No. 1 seed has won the Patriot League title. The Bison would clinch at least a share of the regular-season title with a win over Holy Cross, and by claiming the No. 1 seed would be guaranteed of a spot in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) if they do not win the Patriot League crown.
Lehigh, American Moving Closer to League Tournament Home Games
Lehigh and American have a chance to join Bucknell as a host in the quarterfinal round of the Patriot League Tournament this weekend. The Mountain Hawks need to beat Lafayette to lock up their spot in the top four, while the Eagles will need a win at Army and a loss by either the Leopards or Holy Cross. Lehigh has claimed a top four seed in eight of the past nine seasons, while American has placed in the top four of the Patriot League in each of its first 10 seasons in the conference. The Mountain Hawks and Eagles are tied at 8-3 in the Patriot League, and split the season series with each team winning at home.
Top Trio Dominant in Patriot League, Overall Action
Bucknell, Lehigh and American are closing in on top spots for the Patriot League Tournament after having their way with the competition throughout League play. The trio is a combined 21-2 against the other five teams in the Patriot League, with Lehigh and American each losing at Holy Cross as the only blemishes. Each squad opened the 2011-12 season with two losses, but since that time the trio has combined for a .770 winning percentage. The teams have also combined for a 31-3 record at home this season, with American's 11-0 mark leaving the Eagles as one of 18 teams in Division I with an undefeated record on their own court. Two of the three home losses came as Bucknell and Lehigh each won on the other's home court. That's nothing new for the Bison and Mountain Hawks, who are among 19 teams in the country with at least nine true road wins.
More Teams Fighting for Home Court Advantage
If Lehigh and American are able to hold on and lock up home court dates for the Patriot League Tournament, there would just be one spot remaining to host in the quarterfinals on Feb. 29. And that race is very hot after Wednesday, as Lafayette and Holy Cross are each at 6-5 in the Patriot League following the Crusaders' win in Easton. Army is just one game off the pace at 5-6. None of the teams can slip below sixth place in the standings.
Streaks Come Crashing Down for Bucknell
Bucknell's loss to Lehigh on Thursday put an end to one of the best runs in Patriot League history. The Bison had won 17 consecutive regular-season Patriot League games, tying their own League record from 2005-07. Bucknell's 20-game win streak against Patriot League opponents (regular season and Tournament) was the longest against conference foes in Division I and just three off the League record it set during the back-to-back title seasons from 2005-07. The Bison were trying to become just the third team to start 11-0 in the Patriot League. Bucknell also saw its 12-game overall win streak come to an end, which was the fourth-longest nationally at the time.
Lehigh Snaps Another Sojka Streak
Bucknell also saw successful runs at home come to an end on Thursday, as the Bison had won 15 straight games against Patriot League opponents at Sojka Pavilion and 18 in a row in the regular season against League foes in the arena. It was the first loss at home for Bucknell since 2010. It was not, however, the first time Lehigh has come up with a significant win in the arena. The Mountain Hawks beat Bucknell 60-56 when the building opened on Jan. 15, 2003, and in 2008 Lehigh snapped Bucknell's 38-game home winning streak against Patriot League foes with a 56-54 win on Jan. 30. That's not to say the Mountain Hawks have been dominant in the arena: Bucknell has won the other eight meetings between the schools at Sojka Pavilion outside of Lehigh's three memorable wins.
The Patriot League had plenty of national coverage out of Lehigh's dramatic win over Bucknell on CBS Sports Network on Thursday. In addition to being shown live to a national audience, the game-winning three-pointer in the closing seconds by C.J. McCollum was selected as the No. 2 play on the evening edition of ESPN SportsCenter. McCollum was picked as the "Avatar of the Day" by CBS Sports columnist Jeff Goodman and the finish earned plenty of attention from national writers in both daily recaps and through Twitter messages.
Going for the Sweep
American and Army each swept their opponent on Wednesday, with the Black Knights winning two games from Colgate for the first time since 2004 after doing so against rival Navy for the first time since 1992. There have been 11 sweeps in 16 completed series thus far, with Holy Cross and Lehigh bucking the trend by defeating Lafayette and Bucknell, respectively, on the road to split their season matchups this week. Bucknell owns three series sweeps, while Lafayette, Army and American each have two.
More League Trends
Lehigh's win over Bucknell Thursday was just the third Patriot League game decided by three points or less this season, and only the fourth that was within five points. Wednesday's action was more to the tune of the 2012 season, with a pair of double-digit winners and all three victors never trailing in their game. So far this season, 29 of 44 Patriot League games have been decided by double digits. There have been 23 games with no lead changes or ties in the second half, while in 10 others the winning team was either tied or trailed by only two points or less after intermission. There have been 20 games where the winning team led for the last 29 minutes or more.
Lehigh's McCollum Adds Another Player of the Week Honor
Lehigh's C.J. McCollum averaged 26.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals in two games last week to win the Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week award for the fifth time this season and 11th in his career. McCollum is in fourth place in Patriot League history with 1,887 points, and nearing the top 10 in career steals. McCollum leads the Patriot League and ranks in the top 10 nationally in both scoring (21.4) and steals (2.6).
Bucknell's Muscala, Navy's Sugars Pass 1,200/600 Marks
Bucknell junior Mike Muscala and Navy senior Jordan Sugars joined the Patriot League's list of players with 1,200 points and 600 rebounds in their career last week. They are part of a group of now 13 players with career totals of at least 1,200 points and 600 rebounds, with McCollum only needing 13 rebounds to add his name to the list. Muscala joins former Colgate standout Adonal Foyle (1994-97) as the only players in Patriot League history with at least 1,200 points, 600 rebounds and 150 blocks in a career.
Soon to be a Lucky 13 of 1,000-Point Scorers?
The Patriot League already has 11 active 1,000-point scorers, and two more have a chance to add their name to the list on Saturday. Colgate's Mike Venezia has closed to within seven points of 1,000 for his career, while Army's Ella Ellis stands eight away from the mark. They are looking to join an active group that includes Lehigh's C.J. McCollum (1,887), Lafayette's Ryan Willen (1,393), Holy Cross' Devin Brown (1,380), Navy's Jordan Sugars (1,297), Lafayette's Jim Mower (1,261), Bucknell's Mike Muscala (1,239), Army's Julian Simmons (1,228), Colgate's Yaw Gyawu (1,207), Holy Cross' R.J. Evans (1,151), Bucknell's Bryan Cohen (1,062) and Lehigh's Gabe Knutson (1,012).McCollum, Muscala, Sugars, Willen and Knutson are in the 1,000-point/500-rebound club.
CBS Sports Network, All-Access Cover Patriot League Action
The Patriot League has three games remaining in the regular season on CBS Sports Network. Two days after a dramatic win on the network, Lehigh hosts Lafayette in its regular-season home finale on Saturday at 4 p.m. Bucknell is at American on Thursday at 7 p.m. before Lafayette visits the Eagles on Feb. 25 at 4 p.m.. CBS Sports Network coverage will continue in the Patriot League Tournament with both semifinals shown on March 3 at 2 and 4:30 p.m. and the Patriot League Men's Basketball Championship on the network for the first time on March 7 at 7 p.m. Games that are not on CBS Sports Network , including the League Tournament quarterfinals on Feb. 29, can be seen through the Patriot League All-Access package for a small monthly fee.
Patriot League Games
Bucknell Bison (20-7, 10-1) at Holy Cross Crusaders (12-13, 6-5)
Hart Center; Worcester, Mass.; Saturday, 4 p.m.
Series: Bucknell, 31-25
Streak: Bucknell, Three Wins Last Meeting: Bucknell 75, Holy Cross 41 (1.21.2012)
Last Holy Cross Win: 67-64 (3.3.2010) Last Five Games: Bucknell, 4-1
Bucknell has the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament at stake when it visits Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon...While the Bison can lock up the No. 1 seed, the 6-5 Crusaders can strengthen their chance at a top four spot with a victory...Bucknell rolled past the Crusaders in the first meeting of the season, beating Holy Cross 75-41 at home on Jan. 21...It was Bucknell's third straight win against Holy Cross, and the Bison are trying to sweep the Crusaders for the second year in a row...Four of the last five meetings have been decided by five points or less... Bucknell holds a 31-25 lead in a series that has been played entirely as Patriot League members.
Bucknell The Bison saw their long list of winning streaks come to an end in dramatic fashion as Lehigh rallied late for a 56-53 win at Sojka Pavilion Thursday in a game shown on CBS Sports Network...The Bison are still two games ahead of both Lehigh and American in the Patriot League standings, and just one win away from securing the No. 1 seed in the League Tournament... Bucknell had tied its own Patriot League record with 17 consecutive regular-season League victories, and its 20 straight wins against Patriot League opponents overall was the top mark against conference foes in Division I...Bucknell's overall 12-game win streak was tied for the fourth-longest in the nation...The Bison also fell at home to a Patriot League opponent for the first time since 2010, snapping win streaks of 15 games overall and 18 in the regular season against Patriot League foes at Sojka Pavilion...The game was back and forth throughout, but the Bison appeared to be in good shape when a 13-4 run gave them a 51-44 lead with less than five minutes to go...But Lehigh fought back from there, closing the game on a 12-2 run to earn the victory...The Mountain Hawks tied it at 53-53 with 1:04 left, and after Mike Muscala missed two shots to go ahead on the next possesssion Lehigh won it on a three-pointer by C.J. McCollum with 0.8 seconds left...Joe Wilman had a strong game for the Bison with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Cameron Ayers finished with 13...The pair combined to shoot 14-of-27 from the field, but the rest of the Bison went 7-of-30...Muscala overcame early foul trouble for another double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, but was just 3-of-12 from the field...The Bison held a 39-32 edge on the boards...Bucknell's last loss to a Patriot League team had come on Jan. 29, 2011 at Army...Bucknell is back on CBS Sports Network on Thursday at American.
Holy Cross The Crusaders ran their winning streak to three in a row and have pulled into a fourth-place tie with Lafayette after a 70-63 victory over the Leopards on Wednesday at Kirby Sports Center...The teams split the season series for the third year in a row..Holy Cross started the game on a 12-2 run and held the lead throughout, though it was never able to pull away from the Leopards... The Leopards would get back within single digits for the final 34 minutes, but were never able to get closer than three points...Lafayette trimmed Holy Cross' lead to 30-27 at halftime and was within three points four different times in the second half, the last of which came at 57-54 with 5:34 left...Holy Cross scored six straight points to build its advantage to 63-54 with 3:37 to go...Lafayette would not get closer than four points again, with the Crusaders hitting three free throws down the stretch for the 70-63 win...Devin Brown led all players with 18 points, while Justin Burrell was one off his career high with 16 points...The Crusaders dominated the boards with a 46-26 advantage, and used a sparkling 14-of-23 second-half shooting effort to finish 23-of-49 from the field...Holy Cross also made 6-of-11 three-pointers to win a game where it had nine more turnovers and nine fewer assists than the Leopards...Holy Cross held the Leopards to just 7-of-26 from three-point range...The Crusaders have now split season series with American, Lehigh and Lafayette...They try for another split Wednesday at home against Army.
Lafayette Leopards (11-15, 6-5) at Lehigh Mountain Hawks (20-7, 8-3)
Stabler Arena; Bethlehem, Pa.; Saturday, 4 p.m.
Series: Lafayette, 138-78 TV: CBS Sports Network
Streak: Lehigh, Four Wins Last Meeting: Lehigh 90, Lafayette 76 (1.22.2012)
Last Lafayette Win: 90-75 (2.21.2010) Last Five Games: Lehigh, 4-1
After a dramatic win on CBS Sports Network over Bucknell on Thursday, Lehigh is right back on the network when it hosts rival Lafayette on Saturday at 4 p.m....The Mountain Hawks can clinch a top four seed and home game in the Patriot League Tournament with a win, while the Leopards are tied for fourth place and could use a victory to solidify their position...Lehigh has won the last four games against its archrival, including a 90-76 victory at Lafayette on Jan. 22 in a game that was also shown on CBS Sports Network...That streak started with a win at home in the 2010 Patriot League Championship game, and the Mountain Hawks have won the past three meetings at Stabler Arena...Lehigh is trying to sweep the season series from Lafayette for the second year in a row... Lafayette holds a 138-78 edge in the series, with Lehigh holding a slight 25-22 lead as Patriot League members.
Lafayette The Leopards started slow and were never able to get on track in a 70-63 loss at home against Holy Cross on Wednesday...Lafayette fell into a fourth-place tie with the Crusaders, one game ahead of sixth-place Army...The Leopards were down 12-2 five minutes into the game, and were never able to tie or take the lead despite staying within single digits for the final 34 minutes...They cut the Holy Cross lead to 30-27 at halftime, and were down by only three points four times in the second half...Holy Cross scored six straight points in a two-minute span for a 63-54 lead with 3:37 left, and Lafayette would not get closer than four points again...Ryan Willen paced Lafayette with 15 points, while Rob Delaney had 11...The Leopards had only eight turnovers while forcing 17 from Holy Cross, but were outrebounded by 20 and shot 40 percent overall and 7-of-26 from three-point range...The Leopards were trying to sweep the Crusaders for the first time since 2004. ..Lafayette fell to 2-4 at home in the Patriot League...The Leopards play their home finale Wednesday against Colgate.
Lehigh C.J. McCollum hit a three-pointer with 0.5 seconds left as Lehigh dealt Bucknell its first Patriot League loss with a 56-53 win in Lewisburg on Thursday on CBS Sports Network...Lehigh also remained in a second-place tie with American, pulling to within two games of Bucknell in the standings...Lehigh snapped Bucknell's 20-game win streak against Patriot League opponents, and the Bison's 12-game run overall...Neither team was able to gain much separation throughout the game, but the Bison went on a 13-4 run that put Lehigh behind 51-44 with less than five minutes to go...The Mountain Hawks closed the game on a 12-2 run from there, tying the score at 53-53 on Mackey McKnight's layup with 1:04 left before McCollum's game-winning shot in the final seconds... McCollum led Lehigh with 15 points and seven rebounds, though the tough Bison defense forced him into 4-of-12 shooting and 1-of-4 from beyond the arc...McKnight added 10 points...The Mountain Hawks were held to their lowest point total of the season and shot just 33 percent from the field...Lehigh also made only 6-of-23 from three-point range, but one of the top free-throw shooting teams in the country came through by making 16-of-17 at the line.. The Mountain Hawks limited the Bison to 37 percent from the field and 3-of-16 from three-point range...Lehigh won for the sixth time in the past seven games, and beat the Bison in Lewisburg for the first time since 2008...Lehigh also snapped a four-game losing skid overall to Bucknell...The Mountain Hawks play both of next week's Patriot League games on the road, going to Navy on Wednesday and Army in Saturday's regular-season finale.
American Eagles (17-9, 8-3) at Army Black Knights (12-14, 5-6)
Christl Arena; West Point, N.Y.; Saturday, 4 p.m.
Series: American, 22-3
Streak: American, Four Wins Last Meeting: American 67, Army 55 (1.21.2012)
Last Army Win: 68-48 (1.20.2010) Last Five Games: American, 4-1
American has a spot in the top four of the Patriot League Tournament in its sight when it visits Army on Saturday at Christl Arena...The Eagles can lock up a top four seed, and home game in the quarterfinals on Feb. 29, with a win coupled with a loss by either Lafayette or Holy Cross...American has owned the all-time series with the Black Knights, holding a 22-3 edge overall and 22-2 in games played as Patriot League members...The Eagles added to the success with a 67-55 victory at home against Army on Jan. 21, their fourth straight victory over the Black Knights...American is trying to sweep the season series with Army for the second year in a row.
American American scored the first 10 points and built its lead to 24 by halftime to roll past Navy 69-47 on Wednesday at Bender Arena...The Eagles stayed in a second-place tie with Lehigh with the victory, inching to within two games of first-place Bucknell...The Eagles were up 10-0 just over three minutes into the game, and had the advantage over 20 when they went ahead 28-7 with 5:30 to play in the first half...American would keep the lead at 20 or more for the final 22 minutes, going up 36-12 at the half and by as many as 31 after intermission on its way to the 69-47 final...Charles Hinkle led the Eagles with 18 points while shooting 6-of-9 from the field and 4-of-5 from three-point range, while Tony Wroblicky finished with a double-double for the second time in the past three games with 13 points and 12 rebounds...The Eagles shot nearly 50 percent from the field (26-of-53) and three-point range (8-of-17), committed only six turnovers and had a 33-24 rebounding advantage...American limited Navy to just 14-of-44 from the field and 3-of-16 from three-point range, with the Mids making only 5-of-23 shots in the first half...The Eagles swept the Mids for the third time in the past four years, and are guaranteed of a winning Patriot League record for the fourth time in five seasons. American improved to 11-0 at Bender Arena, and is one of 18 teams in the nation with a perfect home record...It plays its final two regular-season games at home, beginning on Thursday with Bucknell.
Army Army swept Colgate for the first time since 2004 by outscoring the Raiders 44-24 in the second half on its way to a 79-59 win at Cotterell Court on Wednesday...The Black Knights never trailed in the game, and looked like they were going to break it open early with an 18-8 advantage...Colgate scored the final seven points of the first half to even the score at 33-33 at the break, but Army would not let the Raiders go ahead after intermission..The Black Knights scored the first seven points of the second half to take the lead for good...After Colgate cut the gap to four midway through the second half, Army put the Raiders away with a 21-2 run and led by at least 20 points for the final seven minutes of the 79-59 win...The win brings the Black Knights within one game of fourth-place Holy Cross and Lafayette...Ella Ellis scored 22 points on 8-of-12 from the field and 5-of-7 from three-point range, closing to within eight points of 1,000 for his career...Josh Herbeck added 21 points while making 7-of-11 shots and 5-of-8 three-pointers, and Julian Simmons finished with 18...The Black Knights hit just over 50 percent of their shots (30-of-58) and nearly 50 percent from three-point range (12-of-25)...Army limited Colgate to 40 percent from the field and 2-of-13 from three-point land...The Black Knights are now guaranteed of finishing no worse than sixth place in the Patriot League standings...Army has a key game for its chances for a top four seed when it visits Holy Cross on Wednesday.
Colgate Raiders (7-19, 1-10) at Navy Midshipmen (3-22, 0-11)
Alumni Hall; Annapolis, Md.; Saturday, 7 p.m.
Series: Colgate, 26-24
Streak: Colgate, One Win Last Meeting: Colgate 65, Navy 54 (OT) (1.21.2012)
Last Navy Win: 75-55 (2.26.2011) Last Five Games: Navy, 3-2
Two teams trying to snap losing skids meet in Annapolis on Saturday night when Colgate visits Navy at Alumni Hall...The Raiders have dropped six League games in a row since beating the Mids 65-54 in overtime at home on Jan. 21, while Navy has lost 18 straight contests overall...The teams are guaranteed to finish in seventh and eighth place in the Patriot League, with a Colgate victory on Saturday locking up the No. 7 seed for the Raides and sending Navy to No. 8..The Mids swept last year's season series, and have won three of the last four at home against Colgate...Colgate holds a slim 26-24 lead in the all-time series, and is up 21-20 in Patriot League regular-season games.
Colgate The Raiders never led and saw Army pull away late in a 79-59 loss to the Black Knights on Wednesday at Cotterell Court...Despite never holding the lead, Colgate did score the final seven points of the first half to tie the game at 33-33 at the break..Army went back ahead for good with the first seven points of the second half, and used a 21-2 run later in the half to build the lead to 20 points or more for the final seven minutes...John Brandenburg led Colgate with 14 points while Yaw Gyawu finished with 12...The pair combined to shoot 9-of-16 in the game, and Colgate was 17-of-34 from inside the arc...However, it was not enough to overcome a 2-of-13 night from long range...Colgate had a 33-26 rebounding edge but also turned the ball over 16 times...The Raiders fell for the sixth straight time, and can finish no higher than seventh place in the Patriot League...Colgate heads to Lafayette on Wednesday.
Navy The Mids struggled offensively in the first half and fell 69-47 at American on Wednesday...Navy made only 5-of-23 shots in the first half as American scored the first 10 points and held a 36-12 lead at intermission...The Mids held the advantage in the second half, but it was not enough to make up the significant margin... Thurgood Wynn was Navy's only player in double figures with 10 points, while four others scored five points or more...Navy made 16-of-19 foul shots but could not make up for shooting 14-of-44 from the field...Navy lost for the 18th straight time, and is one loss away from its worst start in the Patriot League...The Mids can finish no higher than seventh in the regular-season standings...They play their home finale on Wednesday when Lehigh comes to Alumni Hall.