Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament Semifinals Preview

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March 7, 2014

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CENTER VALLEY, Pa.- The Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament moves to the semifinal round on Saturday, and with that the tourney also moves to national television as CBS Sports Network will carry the action the rest of the way. The Saturday afternoon doubleheader on CBSSN begins at 3:30 p.m. with fifth-seed Army at top-seed Boston University, followed by third-seed Holy Cross at second-seed American at 5:30 p.m.

Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*The Patriot League Tournament moves to the semifinals with games on CBS Sports Network on Saturday.
*No. 1 Boston University hosts No. 5 Army at 3:30 p.m., followed by No. 3 Holy Cross at No. 2 American at 5:30 p.m.
*Jason Knapp and Chris Spatola have the call from BU, with Sean Grande and Chris Walker calling the action at American.
*Army and Boston University are each trying to reach their first Patriot League Championship game.
*The top seed has advanced to the League title game in each of the tournament's 23 seasons.
*Army is 0-6 in the semifinal round while BU is there in its first season as a League member.
*Holy Cross is trying to set a Patriot League record with its 11th trip to the League Championship.
*The Crusaders are 10-3 in the semifinals, while American has a 5-6 mark. *Home teams are 25-3 in the semifinal round, and 17-1 since the games all moved to home sites in 2005.
*Higher seeds have a 44-2 advantage in the semifinals.

Patriot League Notebook
Patriot League Tournament Semifinals on CBS Sports Network Saturday
The Patriot League Tournament moves to the semifinal round on Saturday, and with that the tourney also moves to national television as CBS Sports Network will carry the action the rest of the way. The Saturday afternoon doubleheader on CBSSN begins at 3:30 p.m. with fifth-seed Army at top-seed Boston University, followed by third-seed Holy Cross at second-seed American at 5:30 p.m. Jason Knapp and Chris Spatola have the call from BU, with Sean Grande and Chris Walker calling the action at American. Tickets are on sale through the host schools for both contests. The winners will meet in the Patriot League Championship at the site of the higher seed on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

Patriot League Tournament Recap
The top three seeds in the Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament held serve on their home court Wednesday, but the defending champion was knocked off as #5 seed Army got a shot from Kyle Wilson with 12.5 seconds to play to take down #4 Bucknell 72-71. The Black Knights advance to Saturday's semifinal round where they will play top-seed Boston University, which opened its Patriot League Tournament era with a resounding 91-54 win over #9 Lafayette. The 37-point margin was the largest in a quarterfinal contest, and BU shot a Patriot League Tournament record 66.1%. The other side of the bracket held serve as #2 seed American put together an 18-0 first-half run on its way to a 59-50 win at home against #7 Colgate, while #3 Holy Cross held off #6 Lehigh 54-48 behind 19 points from Malcolm Miller for its first Patriot League Tournament win since 2010. The Patriot League Tournament began with a first-round on Monday, where Lafayette won 84-71 at #8 Loyola Maryland and Colgate triumphed 57-51 at home against #10 seed Navy. Lafayette shot 63.6% from the field in the win over the Greyhounds, which was a Patriot League Tournament record before BU broke it on Wednesday.

Changing of the Guard
The state of Pennsylvania has been Patriot League Tournament central the past four seasons, with all but one semifinal game hosted in the state since 2010. But that has changed in 2014 as Lafayette, Lehigh and Bucknell all had their streak of semifinal appearances snapped. The Leopards and Mountain Hawks had made it to the semifinal round in four consecutive seasons, while the defending champion Bison saw a run of three straight trips to the title game come to an end.

New Teams, New Coaches with Success
The four coaches in the Patriot League Tournament have won a total of five games in the postseason event, and that's after each of their teams won on Wednesday night. Army's Zach Spiker has led his team to a quarterfinal win in consecutive seasons and leads the group with two Patriot League Tournament wins, while fourth-year Holy Cross Head Coach Milan Brown got his first League tourney win and Boston University's Joe Jones and American's Mike Brennan each won their League Tournament debuts on Wednesday. Jones and Brennan had never won any conference tournament game before this season, while Spiker just had the one win for Army. All four coaches now try to make their first Patriot League Championship, with Army and Boston University each aiming to go for a first time while Holy Cross and American last appeared in 2009.

Varying Levels of Semifinal Success for Returning Teams
Holy Cross is tied for the Patriot League Tournament record with 10 appearances in the championship game, and can move ahead of Bucknell for the most in League history with a win at American on Saturday. The Crusaders are 10-3 in the semifinal round including seven straight wins from 2001-09, though they lost in their most recent appearance in 2010. American has a 5-6 mark in the semifinals, with losses in six of its last eight appearances including three straight from 2010-12. Army is 0-6 in the semifinals, with four of those losses coming since 2007.

Terriers Go For Highest Win Total Since 1997
Boston University won its first conference tournament game on Wednesday since claiming the America East title in 2011, and the victory gave the Terriers their most overall wins in a season (23) since going 23-6 in 2003-04. BU claimed a conference regular-season title for the first time since going 17-1 in the America East in that 2003-04 season, and on Saturday can record its most wins in a year since a 25-5 record while winning the America East regular-season and tournament title and making it to the NCAA Tournament in 1996-97. If the Terriers do not win the Patriot League Tournament, they are guaranteed to appear in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) as the regular-season Patriot League champion.

Higher Seed Dominance in Semifinal Round
The top seed has made the championship game in all 23 Patriot League Tournaments, winning it all 18 times. No. 1 seeds are a perfect 24-0 in the semifinal round, with both Navy and Lafayette playing as the No. 1 in 2000. That is just part of the reason for the overall dominance of higher seeds in the semifinals. The higher-seeded squad has a 44-2 record in the semifinal round, with the only exceptions coming when Holy Cross was a No. 3 seed and beat No. 2 Lehigh in the inaugural season in 1991 and sixth-seed Lafayette took down second-seed American in double overtime in 2011. The Leopards are the only team seeded lower than third to advance to the title game.

Home Sweet Home
The signs, both past and present, are all good for the home teams on Saturday. Home squads are 25-3 in the semifinal round of the Patriot League Tournament, with a 17-1 record since the games all moved to home sites in 2005. The No. 1 seed is a perfect 6-0 against the No. 5 seed, while the No. 2 has a 9-1 edge over No. 3 with nine straight wins since Holy Cross' victory in 1991. This season's results are also good for BU and American, which each swept their opponent on Saturday.

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.

Patriot League Tournament - Semifinals
No. 5 Army Black Knights (15-15, 10-8) at No. 1 Boston Univ. Terriers (23-9, 15-3)
Agganis Arena; Boston, Mass. - Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
*Top-seed Boston University hosts fifth-seed Army in a semifinal contest on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
*The game will be shown on CBS Sports Network with Jason Knapp and Chris Spatola on the call.
*Both teams are trying to reach their first Patriot League Championship game, BU in its first season and Army its 24th.
*The No. 1 seed is a perfect 24-0 in the semifinals of the League tourney, with 12 of those wins at home.
*The record includes both Navy and Lafayette from the 2000 season when the pair shared the top seed.
*Army is 0-6 in the semifinal round, with the last three of those defeats against the No. 1 seed.
*The Black Knights lost 61-60 to top-seed American in 2009, and 78-70 at No. 1 seed Bucknell last season.
*The top seed holds a 6-0 mark against the No. 5 in the semifinals.
*Home teams are 25-3 in the semifinal round, and 17-1 since the games all moved to home sites in 2005.
*The higher seed has a 44-2 advantage in Patriot League semifinal games.
*Boston University swept the season series with Army, but both games were extremely close.
*Army rallied from a 22-point deficit to force overtime at BU on Jan. 29, but the Terriers held on for an 86-81 win.
*BU escaped Army with a 71-70 win on Feb. 26 as Josh Herbeck made a shot just after the buzzer for the Black Knights.
*The Terriers lead the all-time series 11-6 as the teams last faced off in 1994-95 before this season.
*BU is trying to make a conference title game for the first time since winning the America East in 2011.

No. 3 Holy Cross Crusaders (19-12, 12-6) at No. 2 American Eagles (18-12, 13-5)
Bender Arena; Washington, D.C. - Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
*Third-seed Holy Cross visits second-seed American in the semifinals of the League Tournament on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
*CBS Sports Network will carry the contest with Sean Grande and Chris Walker on the call.
*Both teams are trying to make it to the title game for the first time since 2009, when American beat Holy Cross 73-57.
*The Eagles also beat the Crusaders 62-60 in the quarterfinals at Bender Arena on the way to their first League title in 2008.
Holy Cross leads 3-2 in League Tournament matchups, including a 58-54 victory at American in the 2002 Championship.
*The Crusaders also beat the Eagles at home in the 2003 title game (72-64) and 2007 semifinals (55-53).
*Holy Cross is tied for the League lead with Bucknell with 10 trips to the Championship, with seven from 2001-09.
*The Crusaders are 10-3 in the semifinal round, falling at Lafayette in their last appearance in 2010.
*American has a 5-6 mark in the semis, making it in each of their seasons in the League except 2013.
*There have only been two lower seeds to win semifinal games, but the Crusaders and Eagles have each been involved.
*Third-seed Holy Cross won at home against second-seed Lehigh 95-90 in double overtime in 1991.
*Twenty years later, sixth-seed Lafayette won at second-seed American 73-71 also in double overtime in 2011.
*The No. 2 seed has a 9-1 edge against the No. 3 in the semifinals, with nine straight wins since Holy Cross' victory in 1991.
*Home teams are 25-3 in the semifinal round, and 17-1 since the games all moved to home sites in 2005.
*American swept Holy Cross during the regular season, winning 69-54 on the road on Jan. 5 and 63-57 at home on Feb. 1.
*The Eagles swept the Crusaders for the first time since 2011 and have won six of eight meetings the last four years.
*American has won eight straight home games against Holy Cross, a run that began in the 2008 League Tournament.
*Holy Cross holds an 18-14 edge in the all-time series, with all but one game played as Patriot League members.

Team Notebooks
AMERICANSecond-seed American took control with an 18-0 first-half run and cruised the rest of the way to a 59-50 win over seventh-seed Colgate on Wednesday...The Eagles were down 7-6 early before the 18-0 stretch gave them a 24-7 lead as they held Colgate scoreless for nearly 11 minutes...The Eagles led 30-15 at the half, and held a lead of at least seven points throughout the second half... Colgate did get it down to seven three times in the final two minutes, but the Eagles kept the Raiders from getting any closer...The Eagles held Colgate to 19-of-48 from the field and just 3-of-15 from three-point range...John Schoof led American with 16 points, while Tony Wroblicky had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds...The Eagles were just under 50% for the game at 21-of-44 and held a 34-27 edge on the boards...American improved to 12-1 all-time in the quarterfinal round, with a 12-0 mark as the higher seed and 7-0 at Bender Arena...American also moved to 5-0 in the Patriot League Tournament against Colgate...The Eagles stay at home to face third-seed Holy Cross in the semifinals on Saturday at 5:30 p.m....American swept the season series, and beat the Crusaders in the two most recent tournament meetings at Bender in the 2008 quarterfinals and 2009 championship.

ARMYKyle Wilson scored nine points in the final three minutes, including a game-winning fadeaway with 12.5 seconds left, to send fifth-seed Army to a 72-71 win over fourth-seed Bucknell in the quarterfinals on Wednesday...Wilson's surge was part of a game-closing 9-1 run for the Black Knights to rally for the win...He scored seven straight points to turn a 70-63 deficit into a 70-70 tie on a three-pointer with 1:03 left...Bucknell went ahead by one on a free throw by Brian Fitzpatrick with 35 seconds left before Wilson hit the game-winner on the other end...Bucknell had a final chance to win, but Army played solid defense and forced a tough three-pointer by Chris Hass that was off the mark at the buzzer...Army's lead in the final seconds was the first for the Black Knights since late in the first half, as Bucknell closed the period with a 19-6 run to lead 39-36 at the break...Wilson led the Black Knights with 19 points, while Dylan Cox had 11 and Kevin Ferguson scored 10 points with eight rebounds and five blocks...Army forced 17 turnovers to win a game where it was outrebounded 42-27....The Black Knights made 29-of-60 shots and 11-of-23 three-pointers in the game...Army won consecutive quarterfinal contests for the first time since three straight in 2007-09...Army's win marked the seventh time in eight seasons of the home-site format where at least one road team won in the quarterfinal round...Only one seed lower than third has won in the semifinals, a feat the Black Knights try to pull off when they visit Boston University on Saturday.

BOSTON UNIVERSITYTop-seed Boston University had a record-setting debut in the Patriot League Tournament with a 91-54 win over ninth-seed Lafayette in the quarterfinals on Wednesday...The 37-point win marks the largest margin in the quarterfinal round, and is only two points off the most all-time in the tourney...BU's 66.1% mark from the field also set a Tournament record, topping Lafayette's 63.6% clip set in the first round against Loyola Maryland on Monday night...BU shot 37-of-56 from the field in the game, which also set a school record that topped the mark of 65.4% set back on Dec. 10, 1968, against Merrimack...The Terriers went on a 10-2 run to build a 27-15 lead with under eight minutes to go in the first half, and led by double digits for the final 26 minutes...BU went up 42-27 at the half, and opened the second half with a 14-6 run to break the game open with at least a 20-point lead for the last 15 minutes...Maurice Watson Jr. had 21 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to lead the Terriers in all three areas...Watson is up to 214 assists this season, just 11 from the Patriot League single-season record...D.J. Irving had 17 points while Travis Robinson added 14 for BU....The No. 1 seed improved to 18-0 in the quarterfinal round...The top seed has advanced to all 23 Patriot League title games, a streak the Terriers try to maintain at home against Army on Saturday.

HOLY CROSS Third-seed Holy Cross won its first Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal since 2010 by holding off sixth-seed Lehigh 54-48 in Worcester on Wednesday...The Crusaders led for the final 30 minutes, but had to hold off Lehigh down the stretch...Holy Cross opened the second half with an 11-3 run for a 39-27 lead, but Lehigh would not go away...The Mountain Hawks chipped the margin down to eight before scoring six straight points to get within 50-48 on a layup by Mackey McKnight with 58 seconds to go...Dave Dudzinski answered on the other end with a jumper in the paint with 38 seconds left, and Malcolm Miller sealed the win at the free throw line with 22 seconds to go...Miller led the Crusaders with 19 points while Dudzinski added 12...Holy Cross shot just over 40%, but held Lehigh to 20-of-62 from the field and just 3-of-21 from three-point range....Holy Cross improved to 6-0 in the Patriot League Tournament against Lehigh as the teams were facing off in the postseason for the first time since 2006...The Crusaders are 3-2 in the League tourney against American, but fell to the Eagles at Bender Arena in 2008 and 2009 as the teams prepare to clash there on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.