Historic Sunday ahead for Patriot League Men's Basketball

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Lehigh junior guard C.J. McCollum
Lehigh junior guard C.J. McCollum

March 17, 2012

Patriot League Men's Basketball Postseason Update Get Acrobat Reader

Lehigh Game Notes
Bucknell Game Notes
Media Coverage

Center Valley, Pa. -- In what is undoubtedly the most anticipated day in the history of Patriot League basketball, Lehigh will play in the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament against Xavier hours after Bucknell has a second-round contest at Nevada in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) on Sunday.

The Mountain Hawks advanced in the NCAA Tournament with one of the greatest upsets in the history of the event, as No. 15 seed Lehigh took down No. 2 Duke 75-70 on Friday in a second-round contest of the South Region in Greensboro. Lehigh will play No. 10 Xavier, who beat Notre Dame on Friday, in a third-round contest on Sunday at 7:45 p.m. on TruTv.

Bucknell advanced in the NIT with a 65-54 win at top seed Arizona on Wednesday. The Bison face No. 5 seed Nevada on Sunday at 3 p.m. on ESPNU.

Both games will also be available on the internet. The Lehigh/Xavier game will be streamed here, with Bucknell/Arizona available on ESPN3

Lehigh will try to become the first-ever No. 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16. The Mountain Hawks are the third Patriot League team to make it this far, as Bucknell lost its Round of 32 game after winning its first-round NCAA Tournament contest in both 2005 and 2006.

The Mountain Hawks became just the sixth No. 15 seed to defeat a No. 2 in the NCAA Tournament on Friday. Lehigh took the lead for good with just over eight minutes to play, and made key plays down the stretch to hold off Duke. C.J. McCollum led the Mountain Hawks with 30 points in the game, while Gabe Knutson added 17.

Likewise, Bucknell is trying to go where no Patriot League team has gone before in the NIT. The Bison can become the first-League squad to make the final eight of the event if they can beat Nevada Sunday.

Bucknell got to the second round behind 20 points and nine rebounds from Mike Muscala in the win at Arizona. The Bison scored the final nine points in the 65-54 win.

Patriot League NCAA Tournament Notebook

Mountain Hawks with Chance to Make More History
On Friday, Lehigh became the sixth No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2 with the win over Duke. It's a feat that had not happened since 2001 until both the Mountain Hawks and Norfolk State (86-84 over Missouri) did it on Friday evening. Now, the Mountain Hawks try to pull off an NCAA Tournament first as no team seeded No. 15 has ever advanced to the Sweet 16. Lehigh is riding a nine-game winning streak coming into the matchup with Xavier.

Patriot League with Third Shot at Sweet 16 Appearance
Lehigh gave the Patriot League its first win in the NCAA Tournament since 2006, when Bucknell won in the first round for the second straight season. Now, Lehigh will try to become the first team from the League to make it to the Sweet 16. The Bison just missed a Sweet 16 berth in 2005, falling to sixth-seed Wisconsin 71-62 in the Round of 32. Bucknell lost a 72-56 final to top-seed Memphis in its second contest in 2006.

National Darlings
Lehigh received praise and attention from around the country after Friday's upset of Duke. The Mountain Hawks were prominenly featured on multiple national sports websites, led SportsCenter on ESPN and Lehigh, Patriot League, C.J. McCollum and Mountain Hawks were all among the top 10 trending words on Twitter towards the end of Friday's game.

Lehigh Earns First NCAA Tournament Win in Fifth Appearance
Lehigh is in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament for the second time in three years, and fifth overall. The Mountain Hawks earned their first victory on Friday with the 75-70 triumph over Duke. Lehigh also went as the Patriot League champion in both 2004 and 2010 after making it in 1985 and 1988 before the formation of the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks fell as a No. 16 seed to No. 1 Kansas by a 90-74 final in 2010, and dropped an opening round game to Florida A & M 72-57 in 2004. The Mountain Hawks earn their highest NCAA Tournament seed as a Patriot League member.

Lehigh, Patriot League vs. NCAA Field
Lehigh's win over Duke on Friday was the first for a Patriot League team against the other NCAA Tournament squads this season. There were good signs for the Mountain Hawks, though, as they showed well in their two matchups against teams that are also still playing in the NCAA tourney. Lehigh lost 86-77 at Iowa State on Nov. 12, and dropped a 90-81 decision to Michigan State, the No. 1 seed in the West Region, on Dec. 22. Patriot League teams dropped 14 games against teams that made the NCAA Tournament before Lehigh's historic win on Friday.

Patriot League History in NCAA Tournament
Lehigh became the third Patriot League team to win its first tournament game on Friday, as the League improved to 3-20 overall in the event and 3-17 in the Round of 64. Bucknell beat Kansas in 2005 and Arkansas in 2006 for the other two victories by a Patriot League team. The Patriot League is taking on the Atlantic 10 in the NCAA Tournament for the third time, with Fordham falling to Massachusetts in 1992 and Lafayette losing to Temple in 2000 in first-round games.

Giant Killers
The Patriot League has now beaten half of the "big-six" conferences in college basketball in less than a decade in the NCAA Tournament. Bucknell started the run by beating Kansas (Big 12) and Arkansas (SEC) in 2005 and 2006, while Lehigh added the ACC to the list with its win over Duke on Friday.

No Place Like....Being Away from Home?
Facing Duke near its Durham campus was a test for Lehigh, but winning away from home is nothing new for the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh is tied for second in the nation with 12 true road wins, and now stands in the top five nationally with 15 road/neutral wins this season. The Mountain Hawks have done it in some tough environments, too, including a win in the regular season and Patriot League Championship at Bucknell before the victory over the Blue Devils in Greensboro.

Lehigh's McCollum Continuing Outstanding Career
Lehigh junior guard C.J. McColllum has made headlines ever since setting foot on campus in Bethlehem, and took it to another level in 2012 by claiming both the Patriot League Player of the Year and Tournament Most Valuable Player awards. McCollum is just the ninth to take both honors in the same season. McCollum moved to third place in career scoring in Patriot League history on Friday, and is just 15 points from the second spot.

Patriot League Postseason Notebook

2005 All Over Again.....But Better?
The 2005 season has its place in history as the most accomplished for the Patriot League...until now. It had been the only year where multiple teams made postseason tournaments, and both Bucknell (NCAA Tournament) and Holy Cross (NIT) won games in their event. That's at least been matched this season as Lehigh won in the NCAA Tournament over Duke and Bucknell opened the NIT with a victory at Arizona. Both teams will try to make this season even more special with wins on Sunday to extend their time in the postseason.

Three Teams Make Postseason for the First Time
Another bonus in arguing for the 2012 season as the best in Patriot League history: three teams made the postseason for the first time in League annals. In addition to Lehigh and Bucknell, American particpated in the College Insider Tournament, where it fell to Buffalo 78-61 on Wednesday.

Winningest Duo, Trio in Patriot League History
It's fitting for three teams to make the postseason in 2012, because it produced the winningest teams at the top of the standings in League history. Lehigh (27) and Bucknell (25) are the first pair of teams to combine for 50 wins, as the Mountain Hawks have shattered the previous school record of 22 wins and the Bison have won 25 games or more for the second straight season and third time in school history. American (20) joins the Mountain Hawks and Bison to give the Patriot League a trio of 20-win teams for the first time.

Run of Success for Postseason Squads
All three teams to earn postseason bids have experienced plenty of success in recent years. The trio has accounted for eight of the nine Patriot League titles since 2004, including five in a row. Lehigh (2004, 2010, 2012), Bucknell (2005, 2006, 2011) and American (2008, 2009) each have multiple titles in that span. Each squad is also accustomed to playing in the postseason. Lehigh is in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years, Bucknell makes a second consecutive postseason appearance and American is back in a postseason tournament for the third time in five seasons.

History of Success in NIT
The Patriot League continued its run of winning first-round NIT games on Wednesday. Each of the three teams that made the field has won its first game after Bucknell beat Arizona 65-54 on the road. Fordham (1991) beat South Florida 76-66 in its first game before falling to Massachusetts 78-74, while Holy Cross (2005) pulled off a 78-73 win over Notre Dame to open the NIT followed by a 68-60 loss to St. Joseph's.

McCollum, Muscala Go Down in Patriot league Record Books
Lehigh junior guard C.J. McColllum and Bucknell junior forward Mike Muscala are both candidates for the Lou Henson Award, presented to the top mid-major player in the country by CollegeInsider.com. And it's easy to see why. They are among 17 players to earn three All-Patriot League honors, with McCollum as one of eight to garner three first-team selections. McCollum is one of only three with multiple Player of the Year awards as well as the only freshman to win the honor, while Muscala was one of just three sophomores to claim the award when he won it last year. Both players are among only 14 in League history with at least 1,200 points and 600 rebounds, with Muscala joining only Colgate's Adonal Foyle by adding at least 150 blocks to that total. Earlier in the season, McCollum passed Foyle as the all-time leading junior scorer in Patriot League history.

Patriot League Championship Notebook
*Lehigh improved to a perfect 3-0 in the Patriot League title game. The Mountain Hawks are the only team with an undefeated mark in the Championship contest. It was their first appearance since a 74-59 win over Lafayette in 2010.
*Bucknell fell to 3-6 in the Patriot League Championship. The nine appearances are one behind Holy Cross for the most in League history. The Bison lost the title as as the No. 1 seed for the first time since 1993.
*Bucknell and Lehigh were facing off in the Patriot League Championship for the first time. The Bison hold a 5-3 advantage in all-time League Tournament meetings with the Mountain Hawks.
*The teams split games in the regular season, with each winning on the other's home court. Bucknell won 68-61 at Lehigh on Jan. 18, while the Mountain Hawks beat the Bison 56-53 on Feb. 16 in Lewisburg.
*Lehigh becomes the first opposing team to win twice in one season at Bucknell's Sojka Pavilion.
*Lehigh became both the fifth No. 2 seed and fifth road team to win the Patriot League Championship. It was the first in both categories since Bucknell in 2005 at Holy Cross.

NCAA Tournament
Third Round - South Region

#15 Lehigh Mountain Hawks (27-7, 11-3 PL) vs #10 Xavier Musketeers (22-12, 10-6 A-10)
Greensboro Coliseum; Greensboro, N.C.; Sunday, 7:45 p.m.

Series: Xavier, 1-0 TV: CBS (Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Tracy Wolfson)
Streak: Xavier, One Win Last Meeting: Xavier 69, Lehigh 63 (12.21.2004)

Lehigh NCAA Tournament History
1985 First Round: Georgetown 68, Lehigh 43
1988 First Round: Temple 87, Lehigh 73
2004 Opening Round: Florida A & M 72, Lehigh 57
2010 First Round: Kansas 90, Lehigh 74
2012 Second Round: Lehigh 75, Duke 70

Lehigh looks to go where no team has gone before as the No. 15 seed Mountain Hawks take on No. 10 Xavier in a third-round game of the South Region on Sunday at 7:45 p.m. in Greensboro...The game will be shown on TruTV...Lehigh became the sixth No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2 in the NCAA Tournament with a 75-70 win over Duke on Friday, and will try to become the first-ever No. 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16...The Mountain Hawks also aim to be the first Patriot League team to reach the round...The Patriot League has reached the Round of 32 twice before, with Bucknell making it in consecutive seasons in 2005 and 2006...The Bison lost to No. 6 seed Wisconsin 71-62 in 2005, then fell to top seed Memphis 72-56 the next season...It marks the third NCAA Tournament matchup for the Patriot League against the Atlantic 10, with Fordham falling to Massachusetts in 1992 and Lafayette dropping a matchup with Temple in 2000 in first-round contests...Patriot League teams are 3-5 against the Atlantic 10 this season, including Lehigh's 78-60 win at Fordham on Dec. 1...The teams have matched up only once before, with Xavier beating Lehigh 69-63 at home on Dec. 21, 2004.

Lehigh Lehigh became the sixth No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2 in the history of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament by stunning Duke 75-70 on Friday evening at Greensboro Coliseum..Lehigh won its ninth consecutive game to improve to 27-7 on the season, matching the most-ever wins for a Patriot League team...It was a back and forth game throughout, but Lehigh went ahead for good on a three-pointer by Mackey McKnight that made it 50-49 with 8:21 to go...The Mountain Hawks led 56-54 before a C.J. McCollum three-pointer followed by a John Adams dunk made it a 61-54 game with 1:59 to go...Duke cut the gap to 67-64 with 28 seconds to go, but Lehigh responded with a dunk by Jordan Hamilton and pair of free throws by Gabe Knutson to go back up seven...McCollum iced the win with a pair of free throws with under a second to play as Lehigh gave the Patriot League its third all-time victory in the NCAA Tournament...McCollum led Lehigh with 30 points, and the Patriot League Player of the Year also added six rebounds and six assists...He moved up to third in Patriot League history with 2,060 career points, just 15 away from second place Tucker Neale (1992-95) of Colgate..Knutson scored 17 and McKnight finished with 11 for Lehigh, which won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in its fifth appearance...Lehigh joins Bucknell as a winner in the NCAA Tournament out of the Patriot League...The Bison upset Kansas as a No. 14 seed in 2005, then won as a No. 9 seed against Arkansas the next season...The Mountain Hawks are the sixth No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2, which had not happened since 2001 until both Lehigh and Norfolk State (86-84 over Missouri) did it on Friday...Lehigh shot 22-of-52 from the field (42.3%), while making 6-of-18 three-pointers...The No. 2 free-throw shooting team in the country had an uncharacteristic 12 misses, with Lehigh going 25-for-37 at the line in the game...The Mountain Hawks limited Duke to 24-of-58 from the field and just 6-of-26 from beyond the arc...Lehigh was outrebounded 42-34, but only turned the ball over eight times...Lehigh's win gives the Patriot League a 3-20 record in the NCAA Tournament, with a 3-17 mark in first or second-round contests (Round of 64).

National Invitation Tournament - Second Round

#8 Bucknell Bison (25-9, 12-2 PL) at #5 Nevada Wolf Pack (27-6, 13-1 WAC)
Lawler Events Center; Reno, Nev.; Sunday, 3 p.m.

Series: First Meeting TV: ESPNU

Bucknell NIT History
2012 First Round: Bucknell 65, Arizona 54

Bucknell tries to become the first Patriot League team to reach the final eight of the National Invitation Tournament when it visits Nevada on Sunday at 3 p.m. on ESPNU...The eighth-seed Bison went on the road and beat top-seed Arizona 65-54 in the first round on Wednesday, while the fifth-seed Wolf Pack posted a 68-59 win at fourth-seed Oral Roberts to advance to the second-round matchup...Bucknell is making its first NIT appearance, and extended an impressive run for the Patriot League as all three teams to make the event have won their first game...Fordham (1991) and Holy Cross (2005) each fell in their second-round game, with the Rams dropping a 78-74 final to Massachusetts and the Crusaders losing to St. Joseph's 68-60... Nevada won the Western Athletic Conference regular-season title but fell to Louisiana Tech in the WAC Tournament semifinals...The teams are meeting for the first time, while the Patriot League and WAC also face off for the first time this season.

Bucknell Bucknell scored the final nine points of the game to hold off Arizona for a 65-54 win in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) on Wednesday evening at the McKale Center... Bucknell took control in the first half, using a 14-3 run to pull out to a 27-14 lead with 5:38 to play in the period...Arizona whittled the advantage down to 32-26 at halftime, and took its only lead of the game at 36-35 less than four minutes into the second half...Bucknell responded from there, going ahead for good on a three-pointer by Cameron Ayers with 13:10 to play as part of a 17-6 run that built the lead back to 52-42 with 6:17 left...Arizona again inched closer, getting within 56-54 with 2:59 left after Bucknell standout Mike Muscala picked up his fifth foul...But the Bison closed the road victory out in the final minutes, scoring the last nine points including a dagger three-pointer by Bryson Johnson for a 61-54 lead with 52 seconds left on the way to the 65-54 win... Muscala paced the Bison with 20 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, while Johnson scored 14 while making 4-of-7 three-pointers...Johnson hit the 1,000-point mark on the late three-pointer, joining Muscala and Bryan Cohen as Bison who have hit the century mark...Cohen, the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, helped hold Arizona's Kyle Fogg to a season-low five points in the game...Ayers had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Joe Willman scored 10 and Cohen had 9 as five players totaled all of the Bison's points...Bucknell was 20-of-49 from the field, but also made a solid 7-of-15 three-pointers and 18-of-22 free throws...The Bison limited the Wildcats to 35 percent shooting (17-of-48) and just 6-of-20 from three-point range...Bucknell also held a 36-28 edge on the boards, with Muscala grabbing five of the team's 10 offensive rebounds. The Bison are the third Patriot League team to play in the NIT, and each has now won its first-round game...Fordham defeated South Florida in 1991 before falling to Massachusetts, while Holy Cross topped Notre Dame in 2005 before bowing out to St. Joseph's...Bucknell is playing in the NIT for the first time and becomes the only Patriot League team to win in both tournaments...Bucknell reaches the 25-win mark for the third time in school history, and second season in a row...The Bison were playing Arizona for the first time, and beat a Pac-12 opponent for the first time since 1951.