Feb. 28, 2012
PL TOURNAMENT CENTRAL
WHAT: #8 Navy (3-25, 0-14 PL) at #1 Bucknell (22-8, 12-2 PL)
WHERE: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pa.
WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 29, 7 p.m. ET
LIVE WEBCAST: Bison Vision
RADIO: Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM) and SportsJuice.com
LIVE STATS: GameTracker
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
NOTE: Tickets remain for the Bucknell-Navy Patriot League Tournament game Wednesday night at Sojka Pavilion. Tickets may be purchased ONLINE, over the phone at 570-577-1000 or in person at the Weis Center (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) or Barnes & Noble Bucknell Bookstore (9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.). If general public tickets remain, walk-up sales begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Sojka Pavilion box office.
With a Win over Navy, Bucknell Would ...
• ... advance to the Patriot League Tournament semifinals for the 17th time in 22 years in the league. The Bison would face the Holy Cross-Lafayette winner on Saturday at Sojka Pavilion at either 2 or 4 p.m.
• ... improve to 23-8 overall.
• ... record at least 23 wins in a season for the seventh time in program history.
• ... improve to 13-2 at home this season and 97-31 all-time at Sojka Pavilion.
• ... improve to 28-18 all-time in the Patriot League Tournament.
• ... defeat Navy for the second time in four days and for the fifth straight time dating back to last season.
• Bucknell wrapped up its second straight outright Patriot League regular-season title with wins over American and Navy last week, and now the Bison host Navy again on Wednesday night in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals. Bucknell is on a quest to become the ninth team in league history to win back-to-back championships.
• Bucknell is the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament for the fourth time. In 1993, the Bison were the top seed but lost at home to Holy Cross in the championship game. In 2006, Bucknell completed a perfect 17-0 league season by beating Holy Cross in the final. And last season, the Bison went 13-1 in the regular season, then swept Army, Lehigh and Lafayette to claim the championship.
• Bucknell fared very well in the All-Patriot League voting earlier in the week. Mike Muscala earned First Team All-Patriot League honors for the second year in a row (he was also a Second Team pick as a freshman in 2009-10). Bryan Cohen, Joe Willman and Cameron Ayers all earned Second Team All-Patriot League accolades, making Bucknell just the second team in league history to have four all-league players. Cohen also won his third straight Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year honor, making him the first player in league history to earn the same major award three times. Dave Paulsen repeated as Patriot League Coach of the Year, while Muscala and Bryson Johnson were named to the five-man Patriot League All-Academic Team.
• Bucknell enters the tournament having won 14 of its last 16, 18 of its last 21, and 22 of its last 28. Since Dec. 1, 2010, Bucknell is 45-11.
• Muscala is averaging 19.0 points over his last 20 games, and he has upped his season scoring average to 16.7, fourth-best in the Patriot League. The last Bison to average better than 16 points per game was Bryan Bailey (17.4) back in 2001-02.
• Muscala continues to lead the Bison in rebounding (9.1) and blocked shots (1.6). He leads the Patriot League in rebounding by a wide margin, and he has 14 double-doubles this season, the most in the league. He is two shy of the school record for double-doubles in a season. Muscala also has 11 20-point games this year.
• The Bison were unanimously picked as the preseason favorite in the Patriot League by the league’s head coaches and SIDs.
• The Bison returned four starters from last year’s team that finished 25-9 overall and 13-1 in the Patriot League. Bucknell went on to capture the Patriot League Tournament title, but the 14th-seeded Bison were ousted by red-hot Connecticut, the eventual national champions, in their NCAA Tournament opener.
• Navy comes into the game looking to shake a 21-game losing streak, dating back to a Nov. 27 win over Mount St. Mary’s. Navy has been competitive in many of its losses, however. Two of its PL setbacks have come in overtime, and recently it lost to Colgate on a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the game.
• Bucknell will surely be focused on Navy sophomore Isaiah Roberts, who had two excellent games against the Bison this season. He had 13 points in the first meeting at Alumni Hall and 19 on Saturday at Sojka Pavilion. Freshman Worth Smith averaged 10.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in the two meetings.
• Meanwhile, in two games against the Midshipmen this season, Muscala has totaled 46 points on 17-for-23 (.739) shooting from the field and 11-for-11 from the foul line. Muscala is 41-for-65 (.631) in six career games against Navy.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Navy game will not be televised, however a live webcast will be available on Bison Vision at BucknellBison.com, as well as on Patriot League All-Access (subscription rates apply).
• The game can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM), with Doug Birdsong and Terry Conrad describing the action. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off.
• The audio feed is available online free of charge via BucknellBison.com and SportsJuice.com.
• Live statistics are available on GameTracker via BucknellBison.com.
Patriot League Success
• The Bison are 200-94 (.680) in Patriot League regular-season games, the best record of any league team. Including this season, they have finished at least .500 in PL play in 18 of 22 seasons.
• This was Bucknell’s sixth Patriot League regular-season title (fourth outright).
• The victory at Lehigh on Jan. 18 made Bucknell the first Patriot League team to go 100 games over .500 in league play. The win over Navy to end the regular season made the Bison the first to reach 200 regular-season PL victories.
• The Bison won a league-record 23 straight contests against conference foes from Feb. 23, 2005 to Jan. 12, 2007.
• Bucknell had a streak of 35 straight wins at home against conference opponents come to an end in 2008.
• Bucknell had won 20 straight games against Patriot League foes, 17 in the regular season and three in the 2011 Patriot League Tournament, before falling to Lehigh on Feb. 16. The Bison were one of five remaining Division I conference unbeatens at the time.
Patriot League Tournament Success
Bucknell has an all-time record of 27-18 in 21 Patriot League Tournaments and has beaten every team in the league at least once in the postseason. The Bison have reached the championship game seven times, including wins in 2005, 2006 and 2011, and reached at least the semifinals in 16 of 21 years. Bucknell’s streak of eight straight first-round wins came to an end in 2009 at Holy Cross.
Bison PL Tourney Log Year Seed Results
1991 4 def. Army 67-49; lost Fordham 82-76
1992 2 def. Army 74-55; def. Holy Cross 86-77; lost Fordham 70-65
1993 1 def. Lehigh 69-65; def. Colgate 75-73; lost Holy Cross 98-73
1994 5 lost Holy Cross 96-91
1995 2 lost Army 94-78
1996 4 def. Lafayette 56-55; lost Colgate 67-61
1997 2 def. Lehigh 84-54; def. Colgate 71-58; lost Navy 76-75
1998 3 def. Holy Cross 60-56; lost Navy 80-61
1999 3 def. Holy Cross 76-52; def. Lehigh 58-50; lost Lafayette 67-63
2000 3 lost Lehigh 73-62
2001 6 def. Colgate 75-68; lost Navy 88-64
2002 3 def. Army 70-59; lost Holy Cross 64-57
2003 5 def. Lehigh 52-47; lost Holy Cross 75-50
2004 4 def. Holy Cross 66-60; lost Lehigh 60-45
2005 2 def. Lafayette 70-34; def. American 53-35; def. Holy Cross 61-57
2006 1 def. Army 59-47; def. American 64-50; def. Holy Cross 74-59
2007 2 def. Navy 62-43; def. Army 68-47; lost Holy Cross 74-66
2008 7 def. Navy 87-86 (3OT); lost Colgate 54-40
2009 7 lost Holy Cross 75-56
2010 2 lost Holy Cross 67-64
2011 1 def. Army 78-51; def. Lehigh 66-64; def. Lafayette 72-57
2012 1 —
Bucknell vs. Navy
• This will be the 64th all-time meeting between the Bison and Midshipmen, with Navy owning a 34-29 series lead.
• Bucknell is 2-3 all-time against Navy in the Patriot League Tournament. The Midshipmen won the first three postseason meetings, including a 76-75 win in the 1997 championship game. They also defeated the Bison in the 1998 and 2001 semifinals. More recently, Bucknell defeated Navy in quarterfinal games in 2007 and 2008. In that 2008 contest, the seventh-seeded Bison stunned No. 2 Navy 87-86 in triple overtime on John Griffin’s buzzer-beater from just inside halfcourt.
• The Midshipmen had won four straight over the Bison until Bucknell won twice last season. Navy swept the season series from Bucknell in both 2009 and 2010, winning by 4, 2 (in OT), 2 and 2 points. Last year Bucknell prevailed 71-64 in Annapolis and 75-49 at Sojka Pavilion.
• The Mids won 12 of 16 from the Bison prior to joining the Patriot League in 1991-92.
• As conference rivals, Bucknell leads 25-22, with the home team winning most of the time. Since Navy joined the league, Bucknell is 17-5 against the Mids at home but is only 8-17 against Navy in Alumni Hall during that time.
• Earlier this season in Annapolis, Mike Muscala poured in 27 points on 11-for-15 shooting to lead Bucknell to a 66-51 win over Navy. Bryan Cohen added 12 points for the Bison, who led 38-23 at the half. Worth Smith paced Navy with 16 points.
• In the rematch at Sojka Pavilion on Saturday, Bucknell won 64-55 behind 19 points from Muscala and 12 from Joe Willman.
Last Time Out
• Bucknell wrapped up the outright Patriot League regular-season title with a 64-55 home win over Navy on Saturday afternoon.
• Mike Muscala led the team in scoring for the 16th time this season with 19 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field, 7-for-7 from the foul line. Joe Willman added 12 points and six rebounds, while Ben Brackney scored all 10 of his points in key situations in the second half.
• Bucknell led 28-17 after scoring the last seven points of the first half. The Bison stretched that lead to 15 early in the second half, but they had a hard time putting Navy away thanks to 41.3% shooting and 16 turnovers.
• Seniors Bryan Cohen, Enoch Andoh and Probese Leo were honored prior to their final regular-season home game. Andoh and Leo came on in the final minute with the Bison leading by 10 and helped ice the game. Andoh went 4-for-6 from the free-throw line, and Leo rebounded one of his misses and stuck it back in for his first points of the season. With 13 seconds left, Leo made his first two career free throws to stretch the lead back to 12.
• The Bison finished with a 36-24 edge on the glass and held Navy to 38.9% shooting.
• Isaiah Roberts led Navy with 19 points, while Jordan Sugars added 13.
Bucknell as the No. 1 seed
• This is the second straight year and fourth time overall that Bucknell has been the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament. In three other seasons, the Bison earned co-regular season titles but lost out on the No. 1 seed on tiebreakers.
• Bucknell is 8-1 while playing as the No. 1 seed.
• In 1993, the Bison were seeded No. 1 but lost at home to Holy Cross in the championship game.
• This is the first time that Bucknell has been seeded No. 1 in back-to-back seasons.
No. 1 Seeds in Tournament History
• The No. 1 seeds have dominated throughout the 20-year history of the Patriot League Tournament. The top seed has never failed to reach the championship game, and it has won the title in 16 of 21 seasons, including each of the last five. • No. 1 seeds are 51-5 all-time in the tournament.
• There have been some close 1 vs. 8 games in Patriot League Tournament history, however. In 1993, the Bison needed overtime to turn back Lehigh 64-60. In the 2004 quarterfinals, No. 8 Navy nearly upset Lehigh before falling 62-60 in overtime. And in 2008, No. 1 American held off No. 8 Holy Cross 62-60.
• The last time a No. 1 failed to win the title was Holy Cross in the 2005 tournament, when No. 2 Bucknell beat the Crusaders in the championship game at the Hart Center.
• In Patriot League Tournament history, no seed lower than a No. 2 has ever won the championship. No seed lower than a No. 3 had ever reached the final until last year, when No. 6 Lafayette won twice before falling at Bucknell in the title game.
All-Patriot League Notes
• Bryan Cohen became the first player in league history to win the same major award three times when he captured the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year honor for the third year in a row.
• Bucknell has now captured five of the eight Defensive Player of the Year awards. Abe Badmus earned the inaugural award in 2005, Stephen Tyree won it as a sophomore in 2008, and Cohen has won it in each of the last three seasons.
• Bucknell tied a league record with four players making either the All-Patriot League First or Second Team. Mike Muscala was a First Team All-Patriot League pick, while Cohen, Joe Willman and Cameron Ayers earned Second Team citations.
• The only other team with four all-league players was Holy Cross in 1993 (Rob Feaster, Bill Walker on First Team; Rick Mashburn, Frank Powell on Second Team). • Dating back to Bucknell’s days in the East Coast Conference, Bucknell has now claimed a first team all-conference player in 26 of the last 29 seasons.
• Muscala is now a three-time All-Patriot Leaguer (Second Team 2010, First Team 2011 and 2012), while Cohen, Willman and Ayers were all honored for the first time.
• Bucknell has now had 45 All-Patriot League players (27 first team, 18 second team). That is the most in the league, just ahead of Holy Cross’ 37.
• Dave Paulsen repeated as Patriot League Coach of the Year. He is the third repeat winner in league history, joining Lafayette’s Fran O’Hanlon (1998-99) and Lehigh’s Billy Taylor (2003-04), and he is one of seven to claim the award multiple times. Paulsen’s selection as Patriot League Coach of the Year gives Bucknell six such honorees. Charlie Woollum captured the award in 1993, and Pat Flannery won it in 1995, 1997 and 2006.
• Bucknell also claimed two of the five Academic All-Patriot League selections. Muscala made the All-Academic Team for the second straight year, while Bryson Johnson was picked for the first time.
Stats Worth Noting
• Bucknell has scored 64 (Navy), 55 (at American), 52 (at Holy Cross) and 53 (Lehigh) points in its last four games, on the heels of a season-best 90-point showing against Lafayette on Feb. 11. In those four games the Bison are shooting just 38.4% from the field and 28.6% from 3-point range.
• The last time Bucknell was held to 55 or fewer in three straight games came late in the 2007-08 season, when it scored 55 at Old Dominion, 39 at Lehigh and 51 at Army.
• Bucknell is now 14-2 since point guard Ryan Hill joined the starting lineup.
• The Bison were 16-0 when leading at the half before suffering their first such loss against Lehigh on Feb. 16. The Bison led 29-27 at the break in that one.
• Despite their recent cold spell, the Bison have shot 50% or better from the field 12 times this season and are 12-0 in those games. Nationally, Bucknell ranks 67th in FG% at 46.1%, 22nd in 3FG% at 38.8% and 14th in FT% at 76.0%.
• Bucknell leads the Patriot League in both field goal percentage (.461) and field goal percentage defense (.390). The latter figure ranks 20th nationally.
• In the last 16 games, Bison opponents are shooting 36.8% (310-843). Only four of those 16 teams (Dartmouth, Army, Lafayette twice) have eclipsed 40%.
• If the season ended today, Bucknell’s scoring defense of 60.7 would rank eighth in program history.
• The Bison rank 33rd nationally (out of 338 teams) in fewest turnovers per game (11.7), but they only rank 283rd in turnover margin (-2.0). Bucknell averages only 4.1 steals per game (336th), but it has counterbalanced that with a good FG% defense and strong defensive rebounding.
• Bucknell has been dominant on the glass for most of the year. After going -15 in rebound margin against Minnesota and Vanderbilt to start the season, the Bison are +201 since then and have outrebounded every opponent except Syracuse, Loyola, Lehigh, American and Holy Cross. Bucknell’s +6.6 rebound margin for the season is by far the best in the Patriot League and ranks 17th nationally.
• A big part of Bucknell’s rebounding success has been limiting opponents’ second chances. The Bison have held 21 of their 30 foes to eight or fewer offensive rebounds.
• Bucknell has been better at the free-throw line of late. After shooting just 68.5% at the line in their first 10 games, the Bison have made 79.4% (316-398) as a team in the last 20 contests. That includes a 21-for-21 performance in the win over Richmond, 15-for-15 in the win at Lafayette, and 10-for-10 in the win at Navy. Bucknell ranked third in the nation in free-throw shooting last season at 78.8%, and after the slow start the team is up to 76.0% this season.
• If you remove the freshman class from the free-throw ledger, Bucknell would be shooting 81.4% as a team, which would rank No. 1 in the nation.
• Strangely, Bucknell has been a much better free-throw shooting team on the road this season. The Bison shoot 78.5% as a team in road games, but only 73.7% at Sojka Pavilion.
• Eight Bison have had at least one double-digit scoring game this season, and 10 of the 14 on the roster have done it at least once in his career.
Who’s Got Next?
• Should Bucknell advance out of the quarterfinal round, it would host the winner of the Holy Cross-Lafayette game on Saturday at 2 or 4 p.m. The game would be televised live on CBS Sports Network.