Bucknell's Cameron Ayers was named Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week on Monday.
Feb. 17, 2014
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - First place in Patriot League men's basketball is on the line when Boston University hosts American on Wednesday at Agganis Arena.
Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*First place is at stake when American visits Boston University on Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Patriot League Network.
*The Terriers have won four straight to move a game ahead of the Eagles, who have lost three of four.
*American is trying to sweep the matchups after an 86-56 trouncing of BU in Washington on Jan. 22.
*Boston University aims to win 20 games in the regular season for the first time since 2004-05.
*BU won 87-72 at Loyola Maryland while American lost 74-62 at Lafayette on Saturday.
*Both teams have clinched top-four seeds and will host quarterfinals of the Patriot League Tournament on March 5.
*Holy Cross has won four straight and nine of its last 10 games to pull within a game of American for second place.
*The Crusaders swept Lehigh for the first time since 2009 on Saturday, and try to do the same vs. Lafayette on Wednesday.
*Bucknell moved within a game of fourth-place Army after beating the Black Knights 73-61 at home on Saturday.
*Army hosts Colgate while Bucknell heads to Loyola Maryland on Wednesday.
*Lehigh also hosts Navy with all of Wednesday's games available on Patriot League Network.
Patriot League Anaconda Weekly Awards (Feb. 10-16)
Anaconda Player of the Week
CAMERON AYERS, BUCKNELL Sr., G, 6-5, 203; Blue Bell, Pa./Germantown Academy
Ayers led the Bison to a pair of victories by averaging 17.5 points in two games last week. He started off with 13 points in a 78-57 win over Navy on Wednesday, then did the job on both ends of the court in a 73-61 win against Army on Saturday. Ayers scored 22 points in the game and pulled down five rebounds, and also helped hold the Patriot League's second-leading scorer, Kyle Wilson, without a field goal and to just two points overall in the game. Ayers was just under 50% for the week at 11-of-24 from the field, and also made 6-of-10 three-pointers and 7-of-8 free throws, which all came against the Black Knights. Ayers scored 13 points against Army in the final seven minutes as Bucknell closed with a 23-9 run to earn the win. Ayers stands third in the Patriot League with 15.6 points per game. He is named Anaconda Player of the Week for the second time this season and third in his career.
Anaconda Rookie of the Week
ANTHONY THOMPSON, HOLY CROSS Fr., G, 5-10, 150; Glen Dale, Md./Bullis
Thompson averaged 9.5 points and 3.0 assists in a pair of victories for the Crusaders last week as Holy Cross ran its winning streak to four in a row. He had six points while making both of his three-point attempts and added four assists in a 66-63 win over Army on Wednesday, then came through with 13 points and made 3-of-4 three-pointers in a 72-67 triumph at Lehigh on Saturday. Thompson hit 5-of-6 three-pointers and all four of his free-throw attempts for the week. He is named Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week for the first time.
DAVE DUDZINSKI, HOLY CROSS Sr., F/C, 6-9, 227; Elburn, Ill./Kaneland
Dudzinski had 26 points and seven rebounds against Army and averaged 18.0 points and 6.5 boards in two games.
JOHN PAPALE, BOSTON UNIVERSITY So., G, 6-3, 190; Wallingford, Conn./Choate Rosemary Hall
Papale averaged 16.5 points while making 12-of-14 shots and 8-of-10 three-pointers in two games last week.
DAN TRIST, LAFAYETTE Jr., F, 6-9, 246; Sydney, Australia/North Sydney Boys'
Trist averaged 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds while making 13-of-16 field goals in two wins for Lafayette.
BRANDON VENTURINI, NAVY Jr., G, 6-0, 184; Allendale, Mich./Allendale
Venturini averaged 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists in a 1-1 week for the Mids.
Patriot League Notebook
Boston University Hosts American in First-Place Showdown
First place in the Patriot League is on the line when Boston University hosts American on Wednesday at Agganis Arena. The Terriers (12-2) have won four straight games to move one game ahead of the Eagles (11-3) in the League standings, but American would own the head-to-head tiebreaker with a win after blasting BU 86-56 in the first meeting in Washington. Both teams have clinched top-four seeds in the Patriot League Tournament and will host quarterfinal games on March 5.
Holy Cross Tries to Stay Within Touch of Leaders
While the American-BU game will impact first place immediately, Holy Cross has won four straight and nine of 10 to get within reach of the top two squads. The Crusaders are one game back of the Eagles for second place as they prepare to take on Lafayette, who has won four out of five, at the Hart Center on Wednesday. Army tries to remain in fourth place as it hosts Colgate, with Bucknell one game back of the Black Knights heading to Loyola Maryland. Lehigh is a game back of the Bison as the Mountain Hawks host Navy. All five of Wednesday's games will be available on Patriot League Network.
2014 Patriot League Tournament
American and Boston University have already locked up two of the four spots to host quarterfinal games in the Patriot League Tournament on March 5, but very little else about the event has been decided with two weeks to play. Holy Cross can clinch a top-four spot with a win over Lafayette and Bucknell loss at Loyola on Wednesday. The tournament starts with a first round this season when the bottom four teams compete on March 3 with No. 10 at No. 7 and No. 9 at No. 8. The top four seeds host the quarterfinals, with the No. 9/8 winner at No. 1 and No. 5 at No. 4 in one bracket and No. 10/7 at No. 2 and No. 6 at No. 3 on the other side. 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 championship on CBS Sports Network.
Boston University Moves into Sole Possession of First Place in League Standings
Boston University won its fourth straight game with an 87-72 victory at Loyola Maryland and now sits alone in first place in Patriot League men's basketball after American fell for the third time in four contests with a 74-62 defeat at Lafayette on Saturday. Holy Cross moved within a game of second place after winning for the ninth time in 10 games and fourth in a row with a 72-67 triumph at Lehigh. Army remains in fourth, but is now just one game up on Bucknell after the Bison beat the Black Knights 73-61 in Lewisburg. Navy and Lafayette are tied for eighth place in the Patriot League after the Mids won 71-61 at home against Colgate.
Terriers Posting Best Season in a Decade
Boston University is enjoying success both within and outside the Patriot League in its inaugural season in the conference. The Terriers have a 19-8 record overall, and have their highest regular-season win total since a 20-7 mark in the 2004-05 campaign. BU is trying to win a confernce regular-season title for the first time since claiming one in the America East in 2003-04. The Terriers have led by at least eight points in each of their last 18 games, and have a 13-5 record in that span.
BU's Watson, Lehigh's McKnight Among Nation's Assist Leaders
Boston University sophomore Maurice Watson Jr. and Lehigh senior Mackey McKnight are among the top assist men not just in the Patriot League but nationally this season. Watson is seventh in the country with 6.7 assists per game, while McKnight is not far behind in 12th at 6.1 per contest. Watson already has 181 assists for the season to sit in the Patriot League top 10, while McKnight is up to third in League history with 551 assists for his career, just 15 from the school reocrd. 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.
Lighting it Up from Long Range
Patriot League teams were red-hot from three-point range last week, continuing a trend that has been on display all season. Bucknell went 15-of-26 (57.7%) and Boston University went 24-of-44 (54.5%) to finish over 50% from long range last week, while Holy Cross (19-of-40, 47.5%) and Navy (18-of-39, 46.2%) were just under the mark, with the Mids now hitting 29-of-59 (49.2%) from long range in the past three games. The four hot-shooting teams were a combined 7-1 last week.
Road Wins Separate the Standings
The top four teams in the Patriot League standings all went on the road on Saturday, and two came away with victories as Boston University and Holy Cross both triumphed. That has been the difference this season as the top four teams in the League standings are 21-9 on the road overall and 18-4 against the other six squads in the League. Boston University leads the road success at 6-1, while American (5-2), Holy Cross (5-3) and Army (5-3) all have winning road marks. None of the other six Patriot League squads has a winning road record in League play, and those teams have combined for a 9-31 away mark overall as home teams have a 40-30 edge in League action.
Double-Digit Outcomes Coming More Often
Four out of the five Patriot League games were decided by double digits on Saturday, continuing a recent trend of big wins. Eleven of the last 15 League contests have finished with double-digit margins, though there are still more games decided by single digits (37) than double digits (33) in League play for the season. The close games tend to be very close, with 23 games decided by five points or less in League action.
An Even Distribution of Sweeps, Splits
There have been 25 matchups played twice in the Patriot League this season, with 12 of those ending in sweeps and 13 in splits of the two contests. Boston University leads the way by sweeping each of its last four opponents, while Holy Cross has three, American and Army have two apiece and Bucknell has one.
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 on Sunday (Bucknell/BU) and again on March 1. 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 BU at Army on Feb. 26.
Patriot League Games
American Eagles (15-10, 11-3) at Boston University Terriers (19-8, 12-2)
Agganis Arena; Boston, Mass. - Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*First place in the Patriot League is on the line when surging Boston University hosts slumping American on Wednesday.
*The Terriers have won four straight to take a one-game lead over the Eagles, who have dropped three of four.
*American would win the head-to-head tiebreaker with a victory after blowing out BU 86-56 in Washington on Jan. 22.
*The Terriers actually led 13-2 early before the Eagles took over by shooting 71.4% from the floor.
*The Eagles made 29-of-36 shots after a 1-of-6 start, and hit 11-of-12 three-pointers after missing the first two.
*Both the field goal and three-point percentage (78.4%) stand in the top five for a single game in Division I this season.
*Boston University shot just 16-of-50 overall and 4-of-16 from three-point range in the loss.
*American evened the all-time series at 2-2 with the victory after BU had won games in 1997-98 and 1998-99.
Lafayette Leopards (8-17, 4-10) at Holy Cross Crusaders (16-10, 10-4)
Hart Center; Worcester, Mass. - Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Two red-hot teams face off at the Hart Center when Lafayette visits Holy Cross on Wednesday.
*The Crusaders have won four straight and nine of 10, while the Leopards have captured four of the last five games.
*The first meeting went down to the wire as Holy Cross held on for a 59-58 win in Easton.
*Lafayette's Nick Lindner missed a shot in the final seconds with a chance to win.
*Holy Cross snapped a four-game losing skid against the Leopards with the win.
*Lafayette won all three meetings last year, and has also beaten the Crusaders in the postseason for four straight years.
*Holy Cross is trying to sweep the season series with the Leopards for the first time since 2009.
*The Crusaders are also trying to put an end to a four-game home losing streak to Lafayette.
Colgate Raiders (9-16, 3-11) at Army Black Knights (12-13, 8-6)
Christl Arena; West Point, N.Y. - Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Colgate and Army both look to get back on track when they meet in West Point on Wednesday.
*The Black Knights have dropped three straight and five of seven, while the Raiders have lost two in a row and four of five.
*Army beat Colgate for the fourth time in the last five meetings with a 66-63 win in Hamilton on Jan. 22.
*Dylan Cox scored on a putback of his own miss with 21 seconds left to give Army the lead for good at 64-63.
*After Colgate missed a layup, Kyle Wilson hit a pair of free throws to seal the win for the Black Knights.
*Army has won two straight against Colgate after a 77-63 win at home on Feb. 20 last season.
*The Black Knights are trying to sweep the season series for the second time in three years.
*Army can also lock up at least a .500 Patriot League record after going 8-6 last year for its first ever mark at .500 or better.
Navy Midshipmen (9-16, 4-10) at Lehigh Mountain Hawks (13-14, 6-8)
Stabler Arena; Bethlehem, Pa. - Wednesday 7 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network | Service Electric 2 Sports
*Lehigh has won eight straight meetings with Navy as the Mountain Hawks host the Mids on Wednesday.
*Lehigh barely added to that run with a 68-66 victory in overtime in Annapolis on Jan. 22.
*Mackey McKnight hit a tying layup with 18 seconds left in regulation and then won it with 1.1 seconds left in overtime.
*Lehigh won each of last year's matchups by more than 20 points and is going for its fourth straight season sweep of Navy.
*Navy's last wins over Lehigh came during a season sweep of the Mountain Hawks in 2010.
*The Mids have already snapped an eight-game series losing streak against Bucknell this season.
Bucknell Bison (12-13, 7-7) at Loyola Md Greyhounds (10-15, 5-9)
Reitz Arena; Baltimore, Md. - Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Bucknell has moved within a game of fourth place as it heads to Loyola Maryland on Wednesday.
*The Bison won both games last week to move a game back of Army for the very important fourth-place spot.
*Bucknell posted a 70-60 home win against Loyola on Jan. 22.
*The Bison made 27-of-34 free throws and used an 8-2 run in the last 1:20 to pull away for the win.
*Bucknell leads the series 7-2 as the teams played for the last four seasons prior to Loyola joining the Patriot League.
*The road team won in each of those four seasons before Bucknell ended that streak in the first meeting in 2014.
*The Bison have won the past two meetings after a 66-46 victory at Loyola on Dec. 28, 2012.
AMERICAN The Eagles have fallen out of first place for the first time this season as they lost 74-62 at Lafayette on Saturday...American has dropped three of its last four games after a 10-0 start in League play to fall one game behind Boston University for the top spot...The Eagles visit the Terriers in a first-place showdown on Wednesday night...American won the first meeting 86-56 at home on Jan. 22, so a win on Wednesday would give them the head-to-head tiebreaker over BU... Tony Wroblicky and Jesse Reed led American with 13 points apiece against Lafayette...The Eagles led by three points early in the second half, but Lafayette went ahead for good with a 12-0 run...After American closed within six with three minutes left, the Leopards went on another 12-0 run to put the game away...American shot 22-of-45 (45.8%) for the game, finishing under 48 percent for the first time since their first meeting with the Leopards on Jan. 18....The Eagles are third in the country in field-goal percentage at 50.4% heading into Wednesday's tilt at BU.
ARMY The Black Knights lost on the road for the second time this week after falling 73-61 at Bucknell on Saturday...Army has lost five of its last seven games after opening League play at 6-1...The Black Knights came back from a deficit to lead Bucknell by two with under eight minutes to go before the Bison closed with a 23-9 stretch to earn the win...Tanner Omlid led the Black Knights with 12 points off the bench and has scored in double figures in consecutive games for the first time in his career... Kyle Wilson, the second-leading scorer in the Patriot League, did not make a shot and finished with two points while Army's No. 2 scorer, Tanner Plomb, was out of action for the second straight game...Army shot 8-of-26 from long range and made 5-of-13 free throws...The Black Knights lost at Sojka Pavilion for the seventh straight time as the teams split the season series...Army has three of its last four at home, beginning Wednesday against Colgate.
BOSTON UNIVERSITY John Papale and Cedric Hankerson scored 20 points apiece to lead Boston University to an 87-72 win over Loyola Maryland on Saturday...The Terriers won their fourth game in a row, each time completing a season sweep of an opponent...BU is alone in first place for the first time this season...The Terriers led from start to finish, going up by as many as 19 points in the first half before settling on a 42-28 lead at the break...Loyola was within 62-57 with under six minutes to go, but BU pulled away from there with a 13-2 run and went on to the 15-point win...Papale was 7-of-7 from the field and 6-of-6 from three-point range, and hit four consecutive three-pointers during BU's decisive run down the stretch...He made 12-of-14 shots and 8-of-10 threes in two wins last week...Hankerson went 5-of-6, all from long range, and made 5-of-6 free throws...D.J. Irving added 14 points for the Terriers while Maurice Watson Jr. had 12 points and eight assists...Irving is 41 points away from the school's career top 10 list, while Watson's 181 assists stand seventh on the Patriot League single-season record list...Dom Morris became just the sixth player in Terrier history to reach 1,000 career points and 700 career rebounds in the win...BU had lights-out three-point shooting at 14-of-23 in the game, and was solid overall at 25-of-54 while also making 23-of-29 free throws...The Terriers also forced 22 Loyola turnovers...BU has its highest regular-season win total (19) since a 20-7 regular-season mark in 2004-05, and a win at American would aid the quest for the first regular-season conference title since doing so in the America East in 2003-04.
BUCKNELL After Army went ahead by two, Bucknell closed the game with a 23-9 run to earn a 73-61 victory at home on Saturday...The Black Knights were up 52-50 with under eight minutes to go before the decisive stretch began...Cameron Ayers hit a three-pointer to put Bucknell ahead for good at 55-52 with 7:03 left, and consecutive treys by John Azzinaro and Brian Fitzpatrick made it a 61-54 lead with 5:12 left...Ayers scored Bucknell's next nine points as Army never got closer than six again...Ayers led the Bison with 22 points, while Fitzpatrick and Chris Hass each finished with 15...Both Ayers and Fitzpatrick were playing on their Senior Day...Fitzpatrick made 7-of-10 shots and went 15-of-18 from the floor in two games against Army this year...He leads the Patriot League with a 62.5% mark from the field...The Bison were 7-of-12 from three-point range, and went 15-of-26 from long range in winning each of their games at home last week....Bucknell heads on the road twice this week, with a trip to Loyola Maryland on Wednesday and Boston University on Sunday.
COLGATE After leading from start to finish in a home win over Navy on Jan. 18, the Raiders never led in a 71-61 loss to the Mids in Annapolis on Saturday...Colgate hung tight through most of the game, but the Mids used a pair of 6-0 runs in the second half to go ahead by 12 and led by at least eight points for the last five minutes... Austin Tillotson led Colgate with 24 points while Murphy Burnatowski added 13...The duo made 11-of-21 shots, but the rest of the Raiders hit a combined 8-of-26 from the field...Colgate lost for the fourth time in five games overall, and saw its five-game win streak against Navy end...The Raiders fell to last place in the Patriot League, and will try to turn it around at Army on Wednesday.
HOLY CROSS Holy Cross won for the fourth straight time and ninth in the last 10 with a 72-67 victory at Lehigh on Saturday...The Crusaders swept the Mountain Hawks for the first time since 2009, and also won at Lehigh for the first time since that season...Holy Cross has won double-digit Patriot League games for the first time since an 11-3 finish in 2009...Holy Cross never trailed, though the Crusaders did not shake Lehigh until the final minute...The Crusaders held a 63-60 lead for nearly four minutes before Justin Burrell canned a jumper for a five-point edge with 30 seconds left...Lehigh twice closed back within three, but Burrell answered with a pair of free throws each time as the Crusaders went on to the five-point win...Eric Green led Holy Cross with 14 points as each member of the Crusader starting five finished in double figures...Burrell followed with 13 along with Anthony Thompson, while Malcolm Miller scored 12 and Dave Dudzinski finished with 10... The Crusaders only turned it over eight times in the game and made 9-of-20 three-pointers and 15-of-21 free throws...Holy Cross is just a game out of second place, and has a pair of home games this week against Lafayette on Wednesday and Navy on Sunday.
LAFAYETTE Lafayette took the lead for good with a 12-0 run early in the second half and went on to a 74-62 win over American on Saturday...The Leopards won for the fourth time in the last five games after an 0-9 start in the Patriot League...They trailed 39-36 before the 12-0 stretch gave them a nine-point lead with 12:37 to play...American was within six with three minutes left, but consecutive three-point plays by Bryce Scott and Dan Trist started another 12-0 Lafayette run as the Leopards went on to the 12-point win...Trist scored 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting and pulled down 10 rebounds for the double-double...He made 13-of-16 shots and all seven free throw attempts while leading the team in scoring in two wins last week...Seth Hinrichs added 18 points and Joey Ptasinski scored 10...Lafayette shot 27-of-45 (60.0%) for the game and made 21-of-27 shots from inside the arc...The Leopards also hit 14-of-17 free throws to win a game where they were just 6-of-18 from long range...Lafayette climbed out of last place for the first time this season as they are now tied with Navy for eighth in the Patriot League standings...The Leopards meet another hot team when they visit Holy Cross on Wednesday evening.
LEHIGH The Mountain Hawks hung around but were never able to grab the lead in a 72-67 loss to Holy Cross on Saturday...Lehigh was within 63-60 for four straight minutes late in the contest before Holy Cross finally scored with 30 seconds left to go up five...Lehigh twice closed back within three, but each time the Crusaders made free throws to push the edge back to five... Tim Kempton led Lehigh with 17 points, while Mackey McKnight had 16 and Jesse Chuku finished with 10...McKnight also dished out nine assists and stands at 551 for his career, just 15 away from the school record held by Marquis Hall (2006-10)...Lehigh lost to Holy Cross at home for the first time since 2009, and was also swept by the Crusaders for the first time since that season...The Mountain Hawks finished with a 1-7 mark against the top four teams in the Patriot League standings, and lost to each of the squads at home....Lehigh stays at home Wednesday to take on Navy.
LOYOLA MARYLAND Despite a career effort from Jordan Latham, Loyola's comeback fell short in an 87-72 home loss to Boston University on Saturday...The Greyhounds trailed throughout and were down by as many as 19 points in the first half, but had it down to five at 62-57 with under six minutes to go...BU pulled away from there with a 13-2 run to go on to the win... Latham had a career night for the Greyhounds with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting as well as 10 rebounds...He easily surpassed his previous career highs of 17 points and seven rebounds...Latham helped Loyola hold a 37-24 edge on the boards and the Greyhounds also shot a solid 52% (26-of-50) for the game, but were done in largely by 22 turnovers... Eric Laster had a career-high 18 points for Loyola while Jarred Jones added 10... The Greyhounds fell for the third straight game and seventh in the last nine, a run they try to end when they host Bucknell on Wednesday.
NAVY Navy led from start to finish in a 71-61 home win over Colgate on Saturday...The Mids remained tied for eighth place in the Patriot League with Lafayette, and snapped a five-game losing streak to the Raiders...Navy scored six straight points for a 49-39 lead with under 10 minutes to go, and later tallied six in a row again to go up 57-45 with under five minutes left and led by at least eight
the rest of the way...Brandon Venturini led the Mids with 19 points while Worth Smith added 16...Venturini also dished out eight of the team's 19 assists against only six turnovers...He matched his career-high assist total and averaged 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists last week...The Mids were over 50% from the field at 25-of-46, and hit 7-of-15 three-point shots...Navy has made 29-of-59 three-points shots in the last three games, winning twice...Navy's four conference wins are double the total of the last two seasons...The Mids go on the road twice this week as they visit Lehigh on Wednesday and Holy Cross on Sunday.