Bucknell Men's Basketball Closes Regular Season Saturday at Home vs. Army Tournament Seeding on Line as Bison Shoot for Second Straight Win
Bryan Cohen now ranks No. 4 on Bucknell's freshman scoring list.
Feb. 27, 2009
WHAT: Bucknell (7-21, 4-9 PL) vs. Army (9-18, 5-8 PL) WHERE: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pa. WHEN: Saturday, February 28, 2009, 7 p.m. (*Note: Senior Night ceremony begins at 6:50 p.m.*) RADIO: Eagle 107 and SportsJuice.com TV: None STREAMING VIDEO: Bison Vision LIVE STATISTICS:GameTracker COMPLETE PRESS NOTES
With a Victory over Army, Bucknell Would ...
... improve to 8-21 overall and 5-9 in the Patriot League.
... improve to 7-7 at home this season.
... split the season series and snap a three-game losing streak to the Black Knights.
... secure the 5, 6, or 7 seed in the Patriot League Tournament (see below).
... win on Senior Night for the sixth year in a row.
About the Game Exactly one year ago, Bucknell traveled to Army for the regular-season finale needing a victory to clinch a top-four seed and a home game in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament. The Black Knights won 54-51 to spoil those hopes, and now a year later the situation has reversed. With one game remaining in the regular season, Army still has a chance to gain the No. 4 seed with a win and some help, while the Bison can climb as high as No. 5 with a victory. Both teams are coming off blowout victories on Wednesday. Bucknell, behind yet another 20-point game from Patrick Behan, topped Lehigh 72-51 for its largest margin of victory in two years. Army went on the road and smashed a hot Lafayette team 79-55. The Black Knights had a three-game league winning streak at the end of January with wins over Navy, Lafayette and Bucknell, but after that they lost 5 of 6 before Wednesday’s win in Easton. Cleveland Richard, who exploded for 28 points against Bucknell in Army’s 76-65 win on Jan. 31, leads the team in scoring at 11.7 points per game.
Patriot League Tournament Seeding Scenarios Heading into the final day of the regular season, the top three Patriot League Tournament seeds are locked in. American has clinched the top spot, Holy Cross is the No. 2 seed and Navy is No. 3. Everything else is up for grabs, and there is even a scenario with a five-way tie for fourth place. While Bucknell can still finish in a tie for fourth, due to tiebreakers the best seed the Bison can attain is the No. 5. A victory over Army would most likely land them the No. 5 or 6 seed, while a loss to Army would mean the No. 7 or No. 8 spot. In addition to the Bucknell-Army game, other Saturday games are American at Lafayette (1 p.m.), Lehigh at Holy Cross (3:30 p.m.) and Colgate at Navy (7 p.m.). Here are the 16 possible outcomes:
If Army, Holy Cross, American, Navy Win: Army No. 4, Lehigh No. 5, Colgate No. 6, Bucknell No. 7, Lafayette No. 8
If Army, Lehigh, American, Navy Win: Lehigh No. 4, Army No. 5, Colgate No. 6, Bucknell No. 7, Lafayette No. 8
If Army, Lehigh, Lafayette, Navy Win: Lehigh No. 4, Army No. 5, Lafayette No. 6, Colgate No. 7, Bucknell No. 8
How to Get the Game The Bucknell-Army game will not be televised, however live streaming video is available on the Internet through Bison Vision at BucknellBison.com. The game can be heard locally on the radio on Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM), with Doug Birdsong and Ed Sigl on the call. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off. The audio feed is available free of charge via BucknellBison.com and SportsJuice.com. Live statistics are available on GameTracker at BucknellBison.com.
Bucknell vs. Army Series Notes
The Bison hold a 37-17 lead in a series that dates back to 1929. Bucknell had a 15-game series winning streak until the Black Knights swept the season series last season. During the Patriot League era Army had never beaten Bucknell twice in a row until this current three-game winning streak.
Prior to last season, Army’s last series win came at West Point on Feb. 14, 2001.
Bucknell had also won 12 straight at home against the Black Knights dating back to Army’s 83-71 win in Davis Gym in 1996-97. The Bison are 19-3 all-time at home against Army.
Army won the first 10 series showdowns, nine of them coming prior to 1966.
As Patriot League rivals, Bucknell has won 36 of 43 meetings.
Bucknell vs. Army Last Season Army swept the season series from Bucknell last season:
On Feb. 3, 2008 in Lewisburg, Jarell Brown scored 21 points and Army outscored Bucknell 43-24 in the second half en route to a 68-52 win. John Griffin hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points to lead the Bison, who led by three at halftime but did not score for the first 5:21 of the second half. Army led 37-36 midway through the second half, then used a 14-5 run to pull away. Army had never scored 50 points in seven previous games at Sojka Pavilion, but it shot 63.2% in the second half and 51.2% overall.
On March 1, 2008 at Christl Arena, the Bison squandered a chance to host a Patriot League Tournament first-round game by falling to Army 54-51. Bucknell struggled offensively, shooting 37.7% and making only 4 of 20 from the 3-point arc. The last two of those misses came in the final 15 seconds in a 54-51 game. Jarell Brown led Army with 13 points, but the Patriot League’s No. 2 scorer had only two in the second half, when the Black Knights scored only 17 points and nearly frittered away a 12-point lead.
This Year’s First Army Matchup Cleveland Richard scored a career-high 28 points to help Army defend its home court in a 76-65 win over Bucknell on Jan. 31 at Christl Arena. The Black Knights broke open a close game with a 10-0 run late in the first half and led by as many as 16 in the second before Bucknell mounted a comeback. The Bison drew within four, but precise foul shooting down the stretch by Army stifled the rally. Darryl Shazier scored a career-high 21 points to lead the Bison.
Inside the First Army Boxscore
Darryl Shazier scored 18 of his career-high 21 points in the second half. Shazier also set a personal best with five 3-pointers and was 6-for-9 from the field. The Patriot League assists leader was credited with only one in the game, however, his second-lowest total of the year (0 at Wake Forest).
Justin Castleberry finished with 15 points despite a tough shooting night from the field. He was 3-for-13 overall and 0-for-6 from the 3-point arc, but he did go 9-for-9 from the foul line.
Patrick Behan also scored in double figures again with 12 points and also added nine rebounds.
G.W. Boon, the reigning Patriot League Player of the Week at the time, was hit with two early fouls on charging calls and never got on track. He attempted only one shot in the game and went scoreless in only 19 minutes.
Bucknell had one of its best days of the year at the free-throw line, hitting 19 of 22 (.864). Unfortunately, so did Army. The Black Knights went 24-for-30 (.800) overall, hit 10 of 12 in the last 1:18 and connected on 17 of their last 20.
Bucknell committed 10 of its 16 turnovers in the first half, five of them coming on traveling violations and three others on charges.
The Bison finished with a 33-28 rebounding edge and outscored Army 10-3 in second-chance points.
Last Time Out In a complete performance at both ends of the floor, Bucknell ran past Lehigh 72-51 on Wednesday night at Sojka Pavilion. The Bison made 10 of 17 3-point attempts, shot 47.3% overall and outrebounded the Mountain Hawks 40-33. Defensively, Bucknell held Lehigh to 17.2% (5-29) shooting in the first half, 31.7% overall. The Bison raced to a 31-15 halftime lead and remained ahead by at least 14 points the entire second half.
Inside the Lehigh Boxscore
Patrick Behan enjoyed yet another big night with 23 points and nine rebounds. He made 10 of 16 shots from the field en route to his fourth straight 20-point game and seventh of the year.
Bucknell was red-hot from 3-point distance. Bryan Cohen made three straight in the game’s first six minutes and his first four overall before finishing 4-for-5. Jason Vegotsky made his first three treys and was 3-for-4 on the night, while Justin Castleberry was 2-for-2. The 10 3-pointers tied Bucknell’s season high, while the 58.8% accuracy was the season best.
Cohen finished the game with 17 points (6-8 FG, 4-5 3FG), four rebounds and three assists (all three assists led to 3-pointers). He had another terrific defensive game, as well. Matched up with Lehigh scoring leader Marquis Hall, Cohen held him scoreless in the first half, and Hall finished the night with 11 points on 4-for-15 shooting.
The Bison also shot well from the free-throw line, making 10 of 11 (.909).
In addition to the 10 3-pointers, Bucknell converted three “traditional” 3-point plays, all in the second half.
Bucknell had a 23-point lead on four occasions in the second half. Previously the largest lead this season had been 16 points against Boston University back on Nov. 18.
Every healthy Bucknell player saw action in the game, and only Darryl Shazier played more than 31 minutes.
The 21-point margin of victory was Bucknell’s largest since a 68-47 win over Army in the 2007 Patriot League Tournament semifinals.
Senior Salute Prior to Saturday night’s game Bucknell will honor its three seniors: Justin Castleberry, Josh Linthicum and Jason Vegotsky. It has been an interesting four years for this class of seniors, who will graduate having been a part of teams that have set school records for both wins in a season (27 in 2005-06) and losses in a season (21 this year). All three have been major contributors throughout their careers, although injuries have taken a toll on Linthicum and Vegotsky more recently. So far, this group has been a part of 68 Bison victories, has won a Patriot League title and a first-round NCAA Tournament game, and has played in two league championship contests.
Behan, Cohen Making Push for Postseason Honors The Patriot League will announce the all-league teams and major award winners on Monday, and Bucknell’s Patrick Behan and Bryan Cohen are making excellent cases for themselves with outstanding play down the stretch.
In his last nine games, Behan is averaging 18.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg and is shooting 53.9% from the field. He has scored in double figures in all nine of those games, including 18 or more points seven times and 20 or more five times. He now has seven 20-point games this season, including the last four in a row. Behan, who now ranks seventh in the Patriot League in scoring, is the only player in the league this season with four straight 20-point games. He is also tied for second in the conference in rebounding.
Cohen is not only a candidate for spot on the all-rookie team, but he could receive consideration for both Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors as well. Cohen, who is 7-for-9 from 3-point range in the last two games, has failed to reach double figures in scoring only three times in the last 21 games. Among Patriot League freshmen he ranks second in scoring (12.0), just behind Holy Cross’ R.J. Evans (12.6). Cohen is the only freshman in the league to start all of his team’s games, and he leads all PL freshmen in minutes played (33.5) and 3-pointers (51). Perhaps overlooked in Cohen’s terrific rookie year is that he has quickly developed into one of the team’s top defenders. The 6’5” guard frequently marks the opposition’s best scorer. Cohen has defended many of the league’s stars, from the diminutive Garrison Carr of American to Navy’s Kaleo Kina to Holy Cross’ R.J. Evans to Lehigh’s Marquis Hall. In four recent games against the Bison, those four high-scoring guards combined to shoot 17-for-60 (.283) from the field.
Cohen Climbing Frosh Scoring Chart Bryan Cohen now has 337 points this season, the fourth-highest total ever by a Bucknell freshman. Only Gerald Purnell (467 in 1974-75), Bob Barry (441 in 1976-77) and Al Leslie (367 in 1977-78) have scored more.
Behan for 20 Patrick Behan has now scored 20 or more points in each of his last four games. That is the longest such streak by a Bucknell player since Bryan Bailey had five straight 20-point games in 2001-02. Behan now has seven 20-point games this season.
Bison Lead Patriot League in Home Attendance Despite its record, Bucknell leads the Patriot League in home attendance in 2008-09 and is looking for its fourth straight PL attendance title. The Bison have drawn an average of 2,433 fans to Sojka Pavilion this season, just ahead of Holy Cross (2,371).
Who’s Got Next? The Bison know they will be on the road for the first round of the Patriot League Tournament on Wednesday night, but they will not know their destination until Saturday’s play is concluded. Possible road trips include Colgate, Navy, American and Holy Cross.