March 8, 2013
Patriot League Men's Basketball Semifinals Preview
Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament Central
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- After rolling through the regular season and quarterfinals, the top seeds in the Patriot League Tournament meet up on Saturday to vie for spots in the League Championship.
Third-seed Lehigh visits second-seed Lafayette at 2 p.m., followed by fourth-seed Army at top-seed Bucknell at 4:30 p.m. Both games can be seen live on CBS Sports Network. Don Criqui and Vince Curran have the call from Easton, while regular Patriot League broadcasters Bob Socci and Chris Spatola will call the action from Lewisburg.
All four teams advanced to the semifinals with victories in Wednesday's quarterfinals. Three did so convincingly, as top-seed Bucknell beat eighth-seed Navy 58-42, second-seed Lafayette tied a Tournament record with 14 three-pointers to roll past seventh-seed Holy Cross 77-54 and fourth-seed Army advanced for the first time since 2009 with a 65-44 win over fifth-seed American. Defending champion Lehigh had a tougher time, but the third-seed Mountain Hawks rallied in the second half and closed out a 71-64 win over sixth-seed Colgate.
Bucknell is trying to make the Patriot League title game for the third straight season and tie the League record with a 10th overall appearance. Lehigh and Lafayette each aim to get there for the third time in four years, while Army plays for its first League Championship berth. The Patriot League Championship is Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
For more, including an updated bracket, visit Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament Central
Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*The Patriot League Tournament continues with the semifinals on Saturday.
*Both games can be seen on CBS Sports Network.
*Bucknell is trying to tie the League record with a 10th trip to the title game.
*The Bison also aim to get there for the third year in a row and sixth in the last nine seasons.
*The Lehigh/Lafayette winner will make it to the title game for the third time in the last four years.
*The Leopards have been five times overall, while Lehigh has made it to three.
*Army shoots for its first Patriot League title game appearance.
*The No. 1 seed has a perfect 23-0 record in the semifinal round, and has never missed the title game in Patriot League history.
*Higher seeds have a 42-2 record in semifinal contests.
*Only one team seeded lower than third has ever made it to the title game.
*Home teams are 23-3 in the semifinals, with 15 wins in 16 games since 2005.
*Bucknell is 12-1 and Lafayette stands 13-3 at home this season.
*Bucknell is 15-3 at home in the League Tournament and 6-0 in the semis.
*Lafayette has a 7-0 home record in the tournament, with two semifinal wins.
*A victory for Bucknell matches the single-season Patriot League mark (27).
*The top four seeds advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2006.
Patriot League Tournament Notebook
CBS Sports Network to Cover Remainder of Patriot League Tournament
The semifinals and championship of the Patriot League Tournament will all be seen on CBS Sports Network. The Network carries Lehigh at Lafayette at 2 p.m. on Saturday with Don Criqui and Vince Curran on the call, then has Army at Bucknell at 4:30 p.m. with Patriot League announcers Bob Soccit and Chris Spatola calling the action. Socci and Spatola will also have the call for the Patriot League Championship on March 13 at 7:30 p.m. CBS Sports Network (CBSSN) is the 24-hour cable home of CBS Sports. CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers on Verizon FiOS Channel 94 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 643 (1643 in HD) and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 613 and Dish Network Channel 158. For more information on how to get CBS Sports Network, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com
Tickets Available for Patriot League Semifinals
Fans can buy their tickets to see the games at Bucknell and Lafayette through the host schools. Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament tickets cost $12 for adults and $6 for students, children and senior citizens.
Patriot League Quarterfinal Recap
For the first time since 2006, the top four seeds swept the Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament quarterfinals as Bucknell, Lafayette, Lehigh and Army moved on with wins at home on Wednesday. Three of the contests were routs, with top-seed Bucknell beating eighth-seed Navy 58-42, second-seed Lafayette tying a Tournament record with 14 three-pointers to roll past seventh-seed Holy Cross 77-54 and fourth-seed Army advancing for the first time since 2009 with a 65-44 win over fifth-seed American. Defending champion Lehigh had a tougher time, but the third-seed Mountain Hawks rallied in the second half and closed out a 71-64 win over sixth-seed Colgate. For full recaps, go to page six of the release or www.patriotleague.org
Three Familiar Faces, One New Arrival in the Semifinals
Lafayette and Lehigh are in the men's basketball semifinals for the fourth straight season, with Bucknell making the round for the third consecutive year. The Bison lead all schools with an 18th semifinal appearance, while Lehigh is in its 12th and Lafayette its 11th. Army makes the Patriot League semifinals for the sixth time, and first since 2009.
Bucknell Tries to Tie Mark for Patriot League Championship Appearances
With a win over Army on Saturday, Bucknell would tie Holy Cross for the most appearances in the Patriot League title game with 10. The Bison have been nine times overall and in five of the past eight seasons. The Bison are trying to make it in three consecutive years for the second time, and join Holy Cross as the only programs to make it to three straight title games on multiple ocassions. Lafayette and Lehigh are each trying to make the championship game for the third time in four years, with the Leopards as the runner-up in 2010 and 2011 and the Mountain Hawks winning the championship in 2010 and 2012. Lafayette has made it to the final five times, while Lehigh has been on three ocassions. Army is playing for its first trip to the Patriot League Championship.
No. 1 Seed is Perfect in the Semifinals
The top seed has made the championship game in all 22 Patriot League Tournaments, winning it all 17 times. No. 1 seeds are a perfect 23-0 in the semifinal round, with both Navy and Lafayette playing as the No. 1 in 2000. The top seed has a perfect 16-0 mark against the No. 4 seed heading into the Army-Bucknell game on Saturday.
Higher Seed Dominance in Semifinal Round
The No. 1 seed is not the only higher seed to win consistently in the semifinals. In 22 seasons and 44 semifinal contests, the lower-seeded team has only come away with two wins. Holy Cross was a No. 3 seed when it 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 23-3 in the semifinal round of the Patriot League Tournament, with 15 wins in 16 contests since the games all moved to home sites in 2005. Bucknell and Lafayette have outstanding history at home in the Patriot League Tournament, with the Bison at 15-3 overall and 6-0 in the semifinals and the Leopards at 7-0 in the League tourney with semifinal wins in 2000 and 2010. Bucknell and Lafayette each finished 6-1 at home in League action, and after Wednesday's wins the Bison have claimed their last five home games and the Leopards have won four in a row. Bucknell is 12-1 at home this season while Lafayette is 13-3 with 12 wins in its last 13 home games.
Bucknell Makes Patriot League History....
Bucknell made history on a number of fronts with another fantastic season in Patriot League play. The Bison became the first team to earn three consecutive outright regular-season titles, and also the first to finish with at least 12 League victories in three consecutive seasons. The Bison are also just the second squad to garner the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament for three years in a row, joining Lafayette (1998-00). Bucknell's five No. 1 seeds are the most in Patriot League annals. The Bison have a 37-5 League mark in their last three seasons, just one game behind their own mark from 2005-07 (38-4) as the best three-year stretch in League history. The Bison are one of nine Division I teams with at least 26 wins for the season.
With More In Line for Saturday?.....
With a win on Saturday over Army, Bucknell would tie the Patriot League and school record for overall victories with 27. The Bison first set the standard in 2006, while Lehigh matched it in 2012. Both of those teams required a win in the NCAA Tournament to reach their 27th victory. Bucknell also has a three-year school record with 77 wins, and the class of 2013 has the most wins in program history with 91.
Rare Success for Rest of Top Seeds, Too
Bucknell was not the only team with a history-making season. Army posted a winning record in Patriot League play for the first time with its 8-6 finish, and also set a school mark with five straight League wins before Saturday's loss at Lehigh. The Black Knights also secured their first winning season since 1984-85 when they won on Wednesday. Lafayette won its final five games to finish at 10-4 in the Patriot League, its best mark since 2000, and also earn a top-two seed in the League tourney for the first time since that year. The team's current six-game win streak is its longest since a seven-game run in 2004. Lehigh recorded 20 wins overall and 10 in the Patriot League for the third time in four seasons.
Muscala Cleans Up on Awards Day
Bucknell senior center Mike Muscala became the first student-athlete in Patriot League history to win both the Player and Defensive Player of the Year honors on Monday, and also the first to claim three awards as he was named the Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In addition, Muscala is the second player to earn All-Patriot League honors in each of his four seasons. He is one of 30 finalists for the Naismith Men's College Player of the Year Award presented by AT&T and also recognized as one of 25 players up for the Lou Henson Award, given by CollegeInsider.com to the Mid-Major Player of the Year.
Army Takes Pair of Major Awards
Army put a cap on its resurgent season by claiming a pair of Patriot League awards on Monday. Zach Spiker received the Coach of the Year honor for directing the Black Knights to an 8-6 mark, while Kyle Wilson averaged 13.0 points per game to take the Rookie of the Year honor. Spiker was Army's second Coach of the Year and first since 2002, while Wilson was the school's third Rookie of the Year and first since 1993.
Ellis, Johnson Closing out Careers in Style
Muscala received the major accolades on Monday, but Army's Ella Ellis and Lafayette's Tony Johnson have been just as outstanding down the stretch of their senior seasons. Ellis led Army's resurgence and places second in the Patriot League with 17.9 points per game, heating up down the stretch with three 30-point games in his last five contests. Also heating up late was Johnson, who hit consecutive game-winning shots in the final five seconds against Bucknell (Feb. 16) and Holy Cross (Feb. 20) and has averaged 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists during Lafayette's season-ending five-game win streak while making 44-of-65 shots and 26-of-29 free throws during that span. He leads the Patriot League in field goal percentage (56.0%) as well as steals (2.0) and assist/turnover ratio (2.1) while also averaging 13.0 points and 4.8 assists per contest.
More Senior Stars
While Muscala and Lehigh's C.J. McCollum have grabbed headlines the past four years, the great success for both of their programs has come from a deep class of 2013. And the rest of the players are going out in style this year. Joe Willman and Bryson Johnson are both 1,000-point scorers at Bucknell, with Johnson up to 320 career three-pointers as he tries to put the Patriot League all-time record out of sight. At Lehigh, Holden Greiner and Gabe Knutson were two of the key cogs to step up in McCollum's absence this year. Greiner averages 13.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and earned first-team All-Patriot League status, while Knutson puts up 13.7 points per contest as a consistent performer who is just eight point away from 1,500 for his career.
Patriot League Semifinals
No. 4 Army Black Knights (16-14, 8-6) at No. 1 Bucknell Bison (26-5, 12-2)
Sojka Pavilion; Lewisburg, Pa. - Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network (Bob Socci, Chris Spatola)
Series: Bucknell, 45-19
Streak: Bucknell, Six Wins Last Meeting: Bucknell 60, Army 58 (2.9.13)
Last Army Win: 90-70 (1.29.11) Last Five Games: Bucknell, 5-0
Patriot League Tournament History (Bucknell, 6-1)
1991 Quarterfinals: No. 4 Bucknell 67, No. 5 Army 49 (Feb. 28 at Holy Cross)
1992 Quarterfinals: No. 2 Bucknell 74, No. 7 Army 55 (March 7 at Lehigh)
1995 Quarterfinals: No. 7 Army 94, No. 2 Bucknell 78 (March 4 at Army)
2002 Quarterfinals: No. 3 Bucknell 70, No. 6 Army 59 (March 2 at Upper Marlboro, Md.)
2006 Quarterfinals: No. 1 Bucknell 59, No. 8 Army 47 (March 3 at Bucknell)
2007 Semifinals: No. 2 Bucknell 68, No. 6 Army 47 (March 4 at Bucknell)
2011 Quarterfinals: No. 1 Bucknell 78, No. 8 Army 51 (March 2 at Bucknell)
*Two teams on the opposite ends of League history meet for a title-game berth when Army visits Bucknell Saturday.
*The contest will be carried on CBS Sports Network at 4:30 p.m., with Bob Socci and Chris Spatola calling the action.
*Bucknell has made it to nine Patriot League title games, one behind Holy Cross for the most in League history.
*The Bison have been to the League Championship in five of the past eight seasons, including the last two.
*Army is in its sixth semifinal and is still trying to get to its first League Championship game.
*Bucknell holds a 6-1 mark against Army in the Patriot League Tournament, with all seven games decided by double digits.
*All but one game was played in the quarterfinals, with the Bison winning a semifinal at home against Army in 2007.
*Bucknell holds a 9-8 mark in the semifinal round, while Army is 0-5.
*The No. 1 seed has a perfect 23-0 record in the semifinals, advancing to the title game in all 22 Patriot League seasons.
*The top-seed holds a 16-0 mark against the No. 4 in the semifinal round.
*Bucknell has a six-game winning streak against Army, including a sweep of the matchups in 2013.
*Bucknell routed Army 76-55 in the League opener on Jan. 12, then escaped with a 60-58 win at West Point on Feb. 9.
*Bucknell has won 43 of its last 49 games against Patriot League opponents since the start of the 2011 season.
*Army does own a win in that stretch, beating the Bison 90-70 at West Point in 2011.
*Bucknell holds a 45-19 edge in the all-time series, and 44-9 as Patriot League members.
ARMY Fourth-seed Army locked up its first winning season in nearly three decades by taking over in the first half and cruising to a 65-44 win over fifth-seed American on Wednesday at Christl Arena...The Black Knights will finish with a winning mark for the first time since the 1984-85 campaign...Army advances out of the quarterfinal round for the first time since 2009, and fourth in the past seven
seasons...Army never trailed in the game, using a 21-2 run to take a 36-15 advantage and going up by as many as 30 in the second half in the 65-44 win...Ella Ellis led the Black Knights with 16 points, while Larry Toomey scored 13 and Kevin Ferguson finished with 12 and a career-high five blocks...Army beat American in the Patriot League Tournament for the first time in five meetings...The 21-point margin was the most lopsided win in Army's postseason history...The 44 points allowed were Army's best effort against a Division I opponent since the 2009-10 season.
BUCKNELL Top-seed Bucknell took care of business on its home court with an impressive 58-42 win over eighth-seed Navy on Wednesday at Sojka Pavilion... The Bison improve to 18-5 in the quarterfinal round, and advance to the semifinals for the third year in a row...It was a memorable night for Bucknell senior center Mike Muscala, who received his awards for Patriot League Player, Defensive Player and Scholar-Athlete of the Year before the game and then broke the Bucknell school
record for career scoring on a night where he totaled 15 points and 13 rebounds...The Bison never trailed in the game, scoring the first six points and holding at least a five-point lead the rest of the way...Bucknell's lead remained steady throughout the first half to land at 26-16 at the break...The Bison pulled away in the second half with an 8-0 run that pushed the lead to 40-23 with 12:51 to go...Bucknell would go up by as many as 23 points on its way to the 58-42 win.
Muscala finished with his 20th double-double of the season...He broke Al Leslie's 32-year-old Bucknell scoring record of 1,973 points, set from 1977-81...The Bison went 22-of-24 at the free throw line, held a 36-25 edge on the boards and limited Navy to 15-of-49 from the field...Bucknell is 15-3 at home in the Patriot League Tournament.
No. 3 Lehigh Mountain Hawks (21-8, 10-4) at No. 2 Lafayette Leopards (18-14, 10-4)
Kirby Sports Center; Easton, Pa. - Saturday, 2 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network (Don Criqui, Vince Curran)
Series: Lafayette, 138-78
Streak: Lafayette, Two Wins Last Meeting: Lafayette 79, Lehigh 71 (2.24.13)
Last Lehigh Win: 72-53 (2.18.12) Last Five Games: Lehigh, 3-2
Patriot League Tournament History (Lehigh, 3-1)
1991 Quarterfinals: No. 2 Lehigh 69, No. 7 Lafayette 65 (Feb. 28 at Holy Cross)
2000 Semifinals: No.1 Lafayette 66, No. 6 Lehigh 60 (March 5 at Lafayette)
2001 Quarterfinals: No. 4 Lehigh 83, No. 5 Lafayette 71 (March 3 at Navy)
2010 Championship: No. 1 Lehigh 74, No. 3 Lafayette 59 (March 12 at Lehigh)
*Archrivals Lehigh and Lafayette square off in Easton on Saturday for the right to go to the Patriot League Championship.
*The contest will be seen at 2 p.m. on CBS Sports Network with Don Criqui and Vince Curran on the call.
*Both teams are trying to make the title game for the third time in four years.
*Lehigh won the League title in 2010 and again last year, while Lafayette was runner-up in 2010 and 2011.
*Lafayette has made it to the Patriot League title game five times, while Lehigh has made three appearances.
*The Mountain Hawks hold a 3-1 advantage in Patriot League Tournament games against the Leopards.
*Lehigh won the most recent meeting with a 74-59 triumph at home against Lafayette in the 2010 Patriot League title game.
*The Mountain Hawks also defeated the Leopards in quarterfinal contests in 1991 and 2001.
*Lafayette won the lone semifinal matchup when it beat Lehigh 66-60 at home in 2000.
*The Leopards are a perfect 7-0 at home in the Patriot League Tournament, including semifinal wins in 2000 and 2010.
*Lafayette swept the season series, beating the Mountain Hawks 78-57 in Bethlehem on Jan. 27 and 79-71 at home on Feb. 24.
*Lehigh had won the previous five meetings beginning with the 2010 Championship game.
*Lafayette holds a 5-5 mark in the semifinal round, while Lehigh stands at 3-8.
*The No. 2 seed has an 8-1 lead over the No. 3 in semifinal matchups, with eight straight wins since 1992.
LEHIGH Down by nine in the second half, third-seed Lehigh rallied back and came away with a 71-64 win over sixth-seed Colgate on Wednesday at Stabler Arena...Lehigh wins its Patriot League quarterfinal game for the fourth year in a row, beating Colgate for the second straight season...Colgate flirted with the upset throughout the evening, taking a 34-30 lead at the half and stretching it out to 44-35 three minutes into the second half...Lehigh stormed back with 10 straight points to grab a 45-44 lead with 14:26 left, and the game was back and forth from there. The Mountain Hawks held a 60-58 lead with under five minutes left before they finally began to put the game away...Gabe Knutson scored four straight points for a 64-58 advantage, and Holden Greiner hit a three to extend the lead to 67-60 with under three minutes to play. Lehigh led by at least five the rest of the way to take the 71-64 win...Knutson poured in 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, while B.J. Bailey added 16 and Greiner scored 15...The trio combined to make 18-of-26 shots in the game...Mackey McKnight dished out nine of the team's 19 assists...Lehigh shot over 50% at 25-of-47 for the game, and held Colgate to a 4-of-17 clip from three-point range...Lehigh won its seventh straight home game in the Patriot League Tournament, and improved to 5-3 at home in quarterfinal contests.
LAFAYETTE Second-seed Lafayette tied a Patriot League Tournament record with 14 three-pointers on its way to a 77-54 victory over seventh-seed Holy Cross on Wednesday at Kirby Sports Center...The Leopards advance to the semifinal round for the fourth year in a row, doing so for the first time since 1997-00...Lafayette eliminated Holy Cross from the Patriot League Tournament for the fourth year in a
row, including the third straight season in the quarterfinals...Both teams came out hot, with the Crusaders holding a 15-12 lead less than five minutes into the game...Lafayette went on a decisive 16-0 run from there, canning four three-pointers and opening up a 28-15 lead with 11:19 to play in the first half...The Leopards led by double digits the rest of the game, going up by as many as 29 points in the second half on their way to the 77-54 win...Tony Johnson continued his outstanding run of late by scoring 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, leading the team with seven rebounds and dishing out five assists...Seth Hinrichs led the way with 20 points while Joey Ptasinski had 11...The Leopards had 20 assists on their 28 field goals..Lafayette was over 50% at 28-of-54 for the game, and made 14-of-26 shots from three-point range...The Leopards improved to 13-3 at Kirby Sports Center this season, with 12 wins in the last 13 games.