Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals Preview

PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG Cameron Ayers and Bucknell begin defense of their Patriot League title at home against Army on Wednesday.
PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG
Cameron Ayers and Bucknell begin defense of their Patriot League title at home against Army on Wednesday.
PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG

March 4, 2014

Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals Preview Get Acrobat Reader

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - After four teams opened the Patriot League Tournament with first-round games on Monday, the postseason kicks into full gear on Wednesday with quarterfinal contests.

Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*The top four seeds in the Patriot League Tournament host quarterfinal games on Wednesday.
*Top seed Boston University plays its first League Tournament game at home against No. 9 Lafayette.
*No. 5 Army goes to No. 4 Bucknell for the right to face the Lafayette/BU winner in the semifinals.
*The other side of the bracket has No. 7 Colgate at No. 2 American and No. 6 Lehigh at No. 3 Holy Cross.
*All four games will be on Patriot League Network, with three 7 p.m. tips and the Colgate-American game at 7:30 p.m.
*Lafayette and Colgate opened the Patriot League Tournament with first-round wins on Monday.
*The Leopards won 84-71 at No. 8 seed Loyola Maryland, while the Raiders topped No. 10 Navy 57-51 at home.
*Lafayette and Lehigh are each trying to win quarterfinals for the fifth year in a row, while Bucknell goes for four straight.
*Army aims to win quarterfinals in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2008 and 2009.
*The winners will advance to the semifinals at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Saturday on CBS Sports Network.
*The Patriot League Championship will be on CBS Sports Network on Wednesday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Patriot League Notebook
Patriot League Quarterfinals Tip Off on Wednesday
After four teams opened the Patriot League Tournament with first-round games on Monday, the postseason kicks into full gear on Wednesday with quarterfinal contests. No. 9 seed Lafayette, which beat Loyola 84-71 in the first round on Monday, heads to No. 1 seed Boston University and No. 5 Army is at No. 4 Bucknell in the top half of the bracket. The bottom half features No. 7 seed Colgate, a first-round winner over Navy, at No. 2 American and No. 6 Lehigh at No. 3 Holy Cross. Each of the games will be seen on Patriot League Network, with three contests tipping at 7 p.m. and the American home game at 7:30 p.m. The semifinals are at the higher seeds in each bracket on Saturday at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., with the Patriot League Championship on March 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the site of the higher seed. The bracket does not re-seed throughout the League tourney. Both semifinals and the championship will be on CBS Sports Network.

Lafayette, Colgate Advance with First-Round Wins on Monday
One did it with offense while the other stepped up on defense, but in the end Lafayette and Colgate each did enough to prevail in first-round games of the Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament on Monday. The No. 9 seed Leopards got hot in the first half and stayed that way in an 84-71 win at No. 8 Loyola Maryland, while the No. 7 seed Raiders clamped down to hold off No. 10 seed Navy 57-51. Lafayette won its Patriot League Tournament opener for the fifth straight year, while Colgate earned its first win in the League Tournament since 2009.

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 22-9 record overall, notching their highest regular-season win total since a 20-7 mark in the 2004-05 campaign. BU claimed a conference regular-season title for the first time since doing so in the America East in 2003-04. If the Terriers do not win the Patriot League Tournament, they are guaranteed a spot in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).

Four Teams Try to Sustain Quarterfinal Success
Each of the four games on Wednesday features a team that has enjoyed plenty of success in the quarterfinal round of the Men's Basketball Tournament. Lafayette and Lehigh have each won their quarterfinal game in four consecutive seasons, while Bucknell has claimed three in a row and has an 18-5 all-time record in the round. American lost its quarterfinal last year at Army, but the Eagles had won their first 11 as a Patriot League member. American is 11-0 as the higher seed and 6-0 at Bender Arena in the quarterfinal round.

Colgate, Holy Cross Hope to Get Back to Semifinals
When four teams are always winning, that means others are going down. And in this case, it's Colgate and Holy Cross that are trying to break a drought in the Patriot League Tournament. The Raiders earned their first League tourney win since 2009 in the first round, but have still not won a quarterfinal game since that season. Holy Cross has dropped its quarterfinal in three consecutive seasons, twice falling at home in that time. Army is just 6-17 in the quarterfinal round, though the Black Knights beat American at home last year and are trying to win in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2008 and 2009.

Hot-Shooting Leopards Becoming Road Warriors
Lafayette is the only team that is guaranteed to be on the road throughout the Patriot League Tournament, but that may not be so bad for the Leopards. Lafayette has won four road games in the past four seasons of the League tourney including Monday's 84-71 victory at Loyola Maryland. In that same span since 2011, the only other road victory in the League Tournament was Lehigh's win at Bucknell in the 2012 Championship. Lafayette has shot the ball extremely well in the postseason, and set the tourney's single-game field-goal percentage record by going 63.6% from the floor Monday. The Leopards also set the single-game three-point percentage mark with a 68.4% clip in a road win at Holy Cross in the 2012 quarterfinals.

Home Teams, Higher Seeds Have the Advantage
Playing at home, and as the higher seed, has proven to be a significant edge in the Patriot League Tournament. The host won all seven League Tournament games last year, and there has not been a year where the home team lost more than two games in the tourney since the format changed to all home sites in 2007. The No. 1 seed has never lost before the Patriot League Championship and is 17-0 in the quarterfinals, while the No. 2 (16-6), No. 3 (16-7) and No. 4 (17-6) all have impressive marks. The visitors can take some solace in the fact that at least one road team won in the quarterfinals in the first six seasons of the home-site format until the hosts swept last year's contests.

All-League, Major Awards Announced
American had a pair of major award winners on Monday, as senior center Tony Wroblicky became the first Eagle to be named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and Mike Brennan earned the Patriot League Coach of the Year honor in his first season. The Eagles grabbed a third major award winner Tuesday when Jesse Reed was named the Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Bucknell senior guard Cameron Ayers was named Patriot League Player of the Year, while Lehigh freshman forward/center Tim Kempton claimed the Patriot League Rookie of the Year award. More on the major award winners is included in page six of the release, with the full All-Patriot League and Academic All-Patriot League Teams on page two.

League Play Trends
The top five teams in the Patriot League finished 30-15 on the road in League action, while the bottom five squads were a combined 10-35 as home teams held a 50-40 edge in League games. Fifty of the 90 League games were decided by single digits with 31 within five points or less. There were 24 sweeps and 21 splits during the season. Among the quarterfinal matchups, Boston University and Holy Cross swept their opponents while Colgate-American and Army-Bucknell split.

Lehigh's McKnight Sets School Assist Record; Will BU's Watson Break Single-Season Mark?
The last two point guards at Lehigh have accounted for more than 1,100 assists, as Mackey McKnight on Wednesday surpassed the school record of 566 set by Marquis Hall (2007-10). McKnight's total of 575 is second in Patriot League history, just 24 behind all-time record holder Holy Cross' Jave Meads (2000-04). There could be another assist record to go down as Boston University's Maurice Watson Jr. is up to 206 for the season, just 19 away from the Patriot League record set by American's Andres Rodriguez in 2003-04. Both players are also in the top 10 in the Patriot League in scoring, and McKnight has passed 1,300 points for his career.

Patriot League Tournament - Quarterfinals
No. 9 Lafayette Leopards (11-19, 6-12) at No. 1 Boston Univ. Terriers (22-9, 15-3)
Agganis Arena; Boston, Mass. - Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Top seed Boston University plays its first Patriot League Tournament game at home against No. 9 Lafayette on Wednesday.
*The 7 p.m. contest can be seen on Patriot League Network.
*The Terriers won the outright regular-season title by two games over American with a 15-3 record.
*BU swept Lafayette during the regular season with an 89-78 win in Easton on Jan. 11 and 88-54 at home on Feb. 8.
*The schools are tied 4-4 in the all-time series, as they had last met before this year in 1990-91.
*Lafayette shot a Patriot League Tournament record 63.6% in an 84-71 first-round win at Loyola Maryland on Monday.
*It was Lafayette's fourth road win in the last four League Tournaments, while all other schools combine for one in that time.
*The Leopards have made it to at least the Patriot League semifinals in four consecutive seasons.
*The No. 1 seed has a perfect 17-0 record in the quarterfinal round, and has advanced to every League Championship.

No. 5 Army Black Knights (14-15, 10-8) at No. 4 Bucknell Bison (16-13, 11-7)
Sojka Pavilion; Lewisburg, Pa. - Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Defending champion Bucknell opens the League Tournament as the No. 4 seed at home against No. 5 Army Wednesday.
*The 7 p.m. contest can be seen on Patriot League Network.
*The teams split the matchups in the regular season, with the home squad winning each time.
*Army pulled out a 74-67 victory at West Point on Jan. 19, while Bucknell won 73-61 at home on Feb. 15.
*Bucknell has won seven straight meetings at Sojka over the past five seasons, and eight of nine versus Army overall.
*That includes a 78-70 win over Army in last year's Patriot League Tournament semifinals in Lewisburg.
*Bucknnell has a 7-1 edge in League Tournament games versus Army, including 5-1 in the quarterfinals and 3-0 at home.
*Bucknell has an 18-5 mark in the quarterfinals and is trying to advance for the fourth consecutive season.
*Army is 6-17 in the quarterfinal round, and aims to win in back-to-back years for the first time since 2008 and 2009.

No. 6 Lehigh Mountain Hawks (14-17, 7-11) at No. 3 Holy Cross Crusaders (18-12, 12-6)
Hart Center; Worcester, Mass. - Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Holy Cross goes for its first Patriot League Tournament win since 2010 when it hosts Lehigh on Wednesday.
*The 7 p.m. game can be seen on Patriot League Network.
*The Crusaders have dropped four straight Tournament games, including quarterfinal contests at home in 2011 and 2012.
*Lehigh has won its quarterfinal contest in four consecutive seasons, though all of those games were at home.
*Holy Cross is 12-10 in the quarterfinal round while Lehigh has a 12-11 mark.
*The teams are playing in the League Tournament for the first time since Holy Cross won at home in the semifinals in 2006.
*Holy Cross is 5-0 against Lehigh in the League Tournament, with a 4-0 mark at the Hart Center.
*Four of those games came in the semifinals, while Holy Cross also beat Lehigh in the quarterfinals in 1996.
*The No. 6 has the most success of any lower seed in the quarterfinal round with a 7-16 mark.
*The Crusaders swept the Mountain Hawks this year, winning 61-42 at home on Jan. 18 and 72-67 at Lehigh on Feb. 15.
*Holy Cross swept Lehigh for the first time since 2009 and leads the all-time series 37-17.

No. 7 Colgate Raiders (13-17, 6-12) at No. 2 American Eagles (17-12, 13-5)
Bender Arena; Washington, D.C. - Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*After earning its first victory at Bender Arena on Feb. 8, Colgate aims to do it again when it visits American Wednesday.
*The 7:30 p.m. tip between the No. 7 seed Raiders and No. 2 Eagles can be seen on Patriot League Network.
*Colgate advanced to the quarterfinal round with a 57-51 win at home against No. 10 Navy in the first round Monday.
*The Raiders won 63-60 at American on Feb. 8 to snap an 0-for-14 drought at Bender.
*The Raiders beat American for the first time since 2010, snapping an eight-game run in the series for the Eagles.
*The Eagles still hold a 26-4 edge against Colgate as League members, including a 69-62 win at Colgate on Jan. 11.
*American is a perfect 4-0 against Colgate in the Patriot League Tournament, including 2-0 in the quarterfinals.
*The Eagles beat the Raiders in the quarters in 2011 and 2007, championship in 2008 and semifinals in 2004.
*The latter three Tournament games were all played at Bender Arena.
*Colgate's win over Navy was its first in the League tourney since 2009, the last time the Raiders won a quarterfinal game.
*American has won in the quarterfinal round in 11 of 12 seasons in the League, but fell at Army last year.
*The Eagles are 11-0 as the higher seed in the quarterfinals, and 6-0 at Bender Arena.

Team Notebooks
AMERICAN The Eagles saw plenty of rewards for their outstanding season on Monday when they captured two individual awards and four All-Patriot League honors...Senior center Tony Wroblicky led the way as the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-League selection, while Mike Brennan was named Patriot League Coach of the Year in his first season...Jesse Reed and Darius Gardner each earned second-team All-League honors, and John Schoof was on the third team...The Eagles finished second in the Patriot League at 13-5, but have lost five of eight after a 10-0 start...American enters the Patriot League Tournament after falling 56-51 at home against Bucknell on Saturday...American will open the Patriot League Tournament at home against either Navy or Colgate in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

ARMY Army snapped a two-game losing skid with an 87-84 win over Lafayette on Saturday...The Black Knights used a 27-9 stretch in the first half to turn a seven-point deficit into an 11-point lead, and held off Lafayette the rest of the way....Kyle Wilson led Army with 28 points, while Kevin Ferguson had 17 points and Dylan Cox and Tanner Omlid added 11...Wilson leads all players in both overall and League only games with 18.2 points per game, which helped him earn a unanimous -team All-League selection on Monday...Omlid was selected to the All-Rookie Team...Ferguson earned the final Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week award of the season after averaging 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.0 blocks in two games last week...Ferguson has cracked the Patriot League single-season top 10 with 73 blocks...Army opens the Patriot League Tournament with a quarterfinal game at Bucknell on Wednesday...The teams split the season series, with each squad winning at home.

BOSTON UNIVERSITY Boston University held off Holy Cross 68-64 to claim the outright Patriot League regular-season title in its first season in the conference on Saturday...The Terriers are a regular-season champ and No. 1 seed for the first time since doing it in the America East in 2004...As the No. 1 seed, BU has secured a berth to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) if it does not win the Patriot League Tournament...Boston University had three players earn Patriot League honors on Monday as Maurice Watson Jr. was a first-team selection, D.J. Irving made the second team and Cedric Hankerson made the All-Rookie squad..Watson averages 13.4 points per game while ranking in the top 10 nationally and leading the Patriot League with 6.6 assists per contest...His 206 assists are the third-highest single-season total in League history, and 19 away from the record...Irving went over 1,400 career points while leading the team with 15 on Saturday...The Terriers beat every team at least once in their first Patriot League season, and swept six of the other nine schools...Two of those sweeps were against Lafayette and Loyola Maryland, one of whom BU will host in a quarterfinal Wednesday.

BUCKNELL Bucknell remained red-hot going into the Patriot League Tournament by winning 56-51 at American for its sixth straight victory on Saturday...The Bison dominated the glass with a 45-26 advantage in the game, and have a +86 rebound margin in the six-game win streak to bring their season total to a +3.4 rebound margin per game...Senior guard Cameron Ayers was named Patriot League Player of the Year on Monday...Ayers also earned his third consecutive All-Patriot League honor, becoming the 19th player in League history to be named to the squad in three seasons or more...Chris Hass earned third-team All-Patriot League honors...Bucknell went 11-7 in Patriot League play, and has finished .500 or better in 20 of 24 League seasons...The Bison defeated every team in the Patriot League at least once during the season...They will open the Patriot League Tournament at home against Army on Wednesday in the quarterfinals...Bucknell has not lost a quarterfinal game since 2010, and has an 8-1 record and two titles in the last three League Tournaments.

COLGATE Colgate won a Patriot League Tournament game for the first time since 2009 by holding on for a 57-51 victory at home against Navy in the first round on Monday...The Raiders won their fourth straight game as they head to No. 2 seed American in the quarterfinals on Wednesday...Colgate took the lead for good by scoring the last seven points of the first half for a 27-21 advantage at the break... The Raiders went on a 10-0 run to build the lead to 39-26 with 13:28 to go..The Mids got the deficit all the way down to two at 53-51 with 13 seconds, but Damon Sherman-Newsome and Austin Tillotson each hit a pair of free throws to seal the win for the Raiders...Sherman-Newsome led the Raiders with 16 points, while Ethan Jacobs and Luke Roh each scored 10...Colgate shot 19-of-46 from the field and just 3-of-12 from three-point range, but had a strong game at the free throw line with a 16-of-20 clip...The Raiders also held the Mids to 20-of-57 from the field and 6-of-22 from long distance...Colgate won in the League Tournament for the first time since a victory in the quarterfinals at Navy in 2009, and improved to 4-2 against the Mids in the postseason tourney...The Raiders were playing at home in the League Tournament for the first time since winning in the quarterfinals and semifinals at Cotterell Court in 2008.

HOLY CROSS The Crusaders have won 11 of 14 games as they head to the Patriot League Tournament, though they fell 68-64 at home against Boston University on Saturday...Dave Dudzinski led the way with 20 points in that game, and on Monday he was named a first-team All-Patriot League selection...Dudzinski finished third in the Patriot League with 15.3 points per game and had a League-high 7.5 rebounds per contest, and had nearly identical numbers in League action with 14.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game...Malcolm Miller was named to the third-team All-Patriot League squad, while Anthony Thompson was an All-Rookie selection...Holy Cross tries to win its first Patriot League Tournament game since 2010 when it hosts Lehigh on Wednesday in the quarterfinals...The Crusaders are facing the Mountain Hawks in the League tourney for the first time since 2006.

LAFAYETTE Lafayette set a Patriot League Tournament record by shooting 63.6% from the field and pulled away for an 84-71 win over Loyola Maryland in the first round on Monday...The No. 9 seed Leopards advance to play at No. 1 Boston University in the quarterfinal round on Wednesday night...Lafayette started 2-of-8, then made 26-of-36 shots the rest of the way to pull away for the win... The Leopards were down 22-19 with under seven minutes to play in the first half before closing the period with a 23-13 stretch for a 42-35 lead at the break...Lafayette went up 12 early in the second half, but Loyola fought back and used an 11-2 run to get within 53-50 with 13 minutes left...Lafayette would not let the Greyhounds get any closer, scoring six straight points to go back up 11 with under eight minutes to play and staying ahead by eight or more in the 13-point win...Seth Hinrichs led four Leopards in double figures with 22 points, while Joey Ptasinski had 18, Nick Lindner scored 14 and Bryce Scott finished with 12...The Leopards won their opener in the Patriot League Tournament for the fifth consecutive year...Lafayette has now won four Patriot League Tournament games on the road in the last four years...It tries to duplicate its back-to-back road wins from 2011 when it heads to BU on Wednesday.

LEHIGH Lehigh continued to stumble with a 74-57 loss at home against Colgate on Saturday, but the Mountain Hawks managed to hold on to a first-round bye and earn the No. 6 seed in the Patriot League Tournament...Tim Kempton had his sixth double-double of the year with 14 points and 14 rebounds in the loss, and was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year on Monday...Kempton is the only freshman in the top 10 in scoring with 13.2 points per game, and is third in the Patriot League with 7.0 rebounds per contest...Mackey McKnight was a second-team All-Patriot League pick for the second year in a row after averaging 13.3 points and ranking in the top 15 nationally with 6.1 assists per game... McKnight has set a school record and stands second in Patriot League history with 575 career assists...The Mountain Hawks will open the Patriot League Tournament at Holy Cross on Wednesday after getting swept by the Crusaders in the regular season...Lehigh is facing Holy Cross in the postseason for the first time since 2006.

LOYOLA MARYLAND The Greyhounds got a pair of outstanding individual efforts, but could not get enough stops and fell 84-71 at home against Lafayette in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament on Monday...Lafayette shot a Patriot League Tournament record 63.6% from the field in the win...The Greyhounds fell behind for good in the first half, though they did use an an 11-2 run to get within 53-50 with 13 minutes left...Loyola would get no closer as Lafayette continued to hit shots and pulled away down the stretch... Loyola fell in its first Patriot League Tournament contest despite a career night from Jarred Jones with 28 points and 10 rebounds...R.J. Williams had six points and 10 assists and directed an offense that put up 18 assists and turned it over only six times...Loyola could not keep up with Lafayette's shooting as the Greyhounds were 25-of-62 overall and 5-of-17 from three-point range...The Greyhounds' season comes to an end at 11-19, with Loyola losing seven of its final eight games.

NAVY Navy closed a double-digit deficit down to two in the final seconds, but could not complete the comeback and fell 57-51 in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament at Colgate on Monday...The Mids trimmed a 13-point deficit to two at 53-51 with 13 seconds left, but the Raiders made four straight free throws to seal the win...Colgate held the Mids to 20-of-57 from the field and 6-of-22 from long distance... Brandon Venturini had more than half of Navy's points with 26 in the game...Worth Smith was the only other Mid in double figures with 10 points, and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds...Navy finishes its season with a 9-21 record, and lost its 14th consecutive Patriot League Tournament game dating back to 2001.