Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 11.28.11

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Bucknell's Cameron Ayers
Bucknell's Cameron Ayers

Nov. 28, 2011

Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 11.28.11 Get Acrobat Reader

Center Valley, Pa. -- Bucknell, American and Lehigh have combined to win the last four Patriot League titles, and each school looks ready to contend again with winning streaks into the final days of November.

The Bison turned in a legendary performance over the weekend. Bucknell swept its home subregional of the TicketCity Legends Classic which included a pair of returning NCAA Tournament teams. The Bison knocked off Princeton 62-56 on Friday and Morehead State 54-50 on Sunday to earn a pair of solid non-League wins, and also took down West Alabama 87-50 on Saturday to sweep the weekend. Sophomore Cameron Ayers took home Most Valuable Player honors of the Lewisburg Subregional.

The Bison have won five games in a row after an 0-2 start, and will try to continue the climb when they visit George Mason on Wednesday in a game shown on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN).

American also started off at 0-2, but the Eagles have now rolled off four straight wins after a 65-63 victory at Cornell on Sunday. Charles Hinkle scored 20 points in the victory, and has totaled 20 or more in every game this season to come in second nationally with 24.0 points per game for the year. The Eagles now begin a four-game homestand with a matchup against Howard on Tuesday on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.

Lehigh comes off a week away from action following their sweep of the Lynchburg Subregional of the 2K Sports Classic on Nov. 18-20. The Mountain Hawks have won four straight games, also following an 0-2 start, entering their home opener on Monday against Quinnipiac.

The Lehigh game is the only one for the Patriot League on Monday evening. Three teams play on Tuesday, with Colgate at Fordham and Holy Cross at Providence in addition to American's matchup. A four-game Wednessday schedule features Lafayette at Princeton, Navy at Maryland Eastern Shore and Army hosting NJIT as well as Bucknell's contest at George Mason. Three teams play a second weekday game on Thursday, when Colgate hosts Eastern Michigan, Lehigh visits Fordham and American plays another game on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic when it welcomes UMBC.

Navy notched a win over the weekend, beating Mount St. Mary's 64-56 on Sunday to snap a four-game losing skid. Lafayette, Army, Colgate and Holy Cross each fell in their only action of the weekend.

Patriot League Anaconda Weekly Awards (Nov. 21-27)

Anaconda Player of the Week
JIM MOWER, LAFAYETTE Sr., G, 6-3, 189; Harleysville, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep
Mower had a night to remember on Tuesday, scoring a career-high 37 points, making a school-record 10 three-pointers and going over 1,000 points for his career in an 85-74 win over Fairleigh Dickinson. He made 12-of-16 shots from the field and 10-of-13 from three-point range in the game to break the previous school record of nine. It was just one off the Patriot League record for three-pointers in a game set by Bucknell's Kevin Bettencourt in 2003. Mower scored 28 points after intermission, including 17 in Lafayette's 30-6 run that turned a deficit into a double-digit win. Mower added 19 points and seven rebounds in Saturday's 81-78 loss to Delaware. He averaged 28.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in the two games while making 17-of-31 shots (55%) and 12-of-23 (52%) from three-point range. Mower has topped 200 career three-pointers, and leads the Patriot League in all-time three-point field goal percentage at 42.4. He is 10th nationally in three-pointers made this season, and stands second in the Patriot League with 20.3 points per game for the year. Mower wins his second career Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week award, and first since the 2009-10 season.

Anaconda Rookie of the Week
SETH HINRICHS, LAFAYETTE Fr., G, 6-7, 214; Clara City, Minn./Maccray
Hinrichs claims his second consecutive Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week award for averaging 10.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in two contests for Lafayette last week. He had seven points and three rebounds in an 85-74 win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Tuesday, then contributed 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 2-of-3 from three-point range in an 81-78 loss to Delaware on Saturday. Hinrichs is second in the Patriot League at 57.1 percent from beyond the arc this season, and is averaging 8.2 points and 2.0 rebounds for the year. Hinrichs becomes the first Lafayette player to take home back-to-back Rookie of the Week honors since Bilal Abdullah in the 2004-05 campaign.

Honorable Mention
CHARLES HINKLE, AMERICAN Sr., F, 6-5, 210; Los Alamitos, Calif./Hebron Academy (Maine)
Hinkle ran his season-opening string of 20-point games to six with a career-high 31 points in a 74-73 win over Quinnipiac on Tuesday and 20 in a 65-63 victory at Cornell on Sunday.

CAMERON AYERS, BUCKNELL So., G, 6-5, 203; Blue Bell, Pa./Germantown Academy
Ayers was named Most Valuable Player of the TicketCity Legends Classic Lewisburg Subregional by averaging 13.3 points in three wins over the weekend, and managed 12.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per contest in Bucknell's four victories last week.

Patriot League Notebook

Bucknell Sweeps Legends Classic Subregional
For the second consecutive weekend, a Patriot League team swept through a subregional of an early-season tournament. Bucknell won all three of its games in the TicketCity Legends Classic subregional in Lewisburg over the weekend. The Bison used their grind-it-out defense to keep all of its opponents under 60 points. After beating defending Ivy League champion Princeton 62-56 on Friday and blowing out West Alabama 87-50 on Saturday, the Bison rallied to win the subregional title on Sunday against Morehead State. Bucknell was down 10 points before closing the game on a 30-16 run. Cameron Ayers earned MVP honors of the Lewisburg Subregional in large part for hitting a go-ahead three-pointer with less than two minutes to play against Morehead State. The Bison joined Lehigh as the winner of a subregional after the Mountain Hawks swept all three of their games in the Lynchburg pod of the 2K Sports Classic the previous week.

Hinkle's Star Continues to Shine at American
Charles Hinkle averaged only 4.5 points in his first season at American in 2010-11, but the senior has positioned himself as the breakout star of the 2011-12 campaign thus far. Hinkle has scored at least 20 points in every game so far this season, hitting exactly that number in Sunday's 65-63 win at Cornell after totaling a career-high 31 in a win over Quinnipiac on Tuesday. Hinkle is second in the nation with 24.0 points per game, and leads all players in Division I with 9.7 free throws made per contest. Hinkle has scored 144 points in American's six games this season, already exceeding last year's total of 103 that came in 23 games.

Lafayette's Mower with a Night to Remember
Career-high scoring game, check. School record for three-pointers, check. Career milestone, check it off again. Most players would be happy to hit any of those three marks in a game, but Lafayette senior Jim Mower accomplished them all in Tuesday's 85-74 win over Fairleigh Dickinson. Mower led Lafayette to a comeback win by scoring a career-high 37 points, including 28 in the second half. He made a school record 10 three-pointers on 13 attempts, finishing just one off the Patriot League mark. And Mower became the 38th Leopard and 78th Patriot Leaguer to go over 1,000 career points during the performance. Mower was named Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week on Monday for averaging 28.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in two games for the Leopards, and is among the national leaders in both scoring (20.3) and three-pointers per game (3.5) this season.

Superlative Seniors
Hinkle and Mower are heading up a senior class that is dominating the Patriot League leaderboard early in the 2011-12 season. Hinkle (24.0) and Mower (20.3) are the top two scorers, with Lafayette's Ryan Willen (16.3) fourth and Holy Cross' Devin Brown (15.8) sixth. Brown, Hinkle and Mower have already notched 30-point games this year. Only Lehigh junior C.J. McCollum (19.2) breaks up the senior-driven scoring leaderboard in third place, and McCollum also has the League's other 30-point effort. Fifteen of the 24 performances of 20 points or more this season have come from seniors. Mower, Willen, Brown, Colgate's Yaw Gyawu and Navy's Jordan Sugars have surpassed 1,000 career points, with Sugars becoming just the 26th Patriot Leaguer in the 1,000-point, 500-rebound club.

Home Cooking
Seven Patriot League schools have played their home opener, and six came away with a win. Colgate was the latest to pull it off by defeating St. Francis (Pa.) on Wednesday for its first win in a home opener since 2007. Bucknell, Navy, American, Lafayette and Army also won their home openers, and Patriot League teams are 14-4 on their home courts. Bucknell has won all four of its home games this season and has a 17-game home win streak overall.Lehigh is the last team to open its home slate, facing Quinnipiac on Monday.

Common Opponents
The Patriot League schedule features a number of games against the same teams and conferences, particularly those located in the northeast and mid-atlantic. The Patriot League is off to a good start against its most common competitior, the Northeast Conference, with a 9-3 record so far. The leagues will match up 26 times in 2011-12. Patriot League teams have combined for multiple wins against St. Francis (Pa.) and Fairleigh Dickinson from the NEC.

Team Notebooks

American The Eagles claimed their fourth straight win behind yet another 20-point effort from senior Charles Hinkle on Sunday...American saw Cornell rally to take a 38-36 lead with 12:28 left, but responded with an 18-6 surge to go up 54-44 with 3:51 to play...Hinkle and Daniel Munoz combined to make 10-of-12 free throws in the final minute as the Eagles held on...Hinkle scored 20 points while making 10-of-11 at the line in the game, and has totaled 20 points or more in every game this season...He leads the Patriot League and is second in the nation with 24.0 points per game for the year, and also leads the nation with 9.7 free throws made per contest by going 58-of-69 at the charity stripe this season...Hinkle was coming off scoring a career-high 31 points in Tuesday's 74-73 win over Quinnipiac, where he made a key three-pointer to put American ahead in the final minute..He averaged 25.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in two games last week while making 6-of-11 three-point shots and 25-of-30 at the foul line...American will look to continue its hot streak with three games at home this week, all of which will be shown on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic...The Eagles host Howard on Tuesday, UMBC Thursday and St. Joseph's on Sunday...American beat both Howard and UMBC last season.

Army Yale used a 24-9 second-half run to pull away from Army and beat the Black Knights 84-75 at West Point on Saturday...Josh Herbeck led the Black Knights with 16 points, while Ella Ellis added 15...It capped a big week for Herbeck, who scored a career-high 21 on 7-of-16 shooting from three-point range in a 69-65 win over Bryant on Tuesday...The Black Knights set a school record with 15 three-pointers in the victory...Herbeck averaged 18.5 points for the week while making 11-of-24 three-pointers in the two games...His seven three-pointers on Tuesday were the most for an Army player since Jarell Brown hit a school-record nine on Jan. 2, 2008 against Brown...Maxwell Lenox averaged 6.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in the two games, and the freshman stands third in the Patriot League in assists...Army completes its three-game homestand against NJIT on Wednesday...The Black Knights won the matchup on the road last season.

Bucknell The Bison are playing like a preseason favorite in the Patriot League, rolling their win streak to five by sweeping the weekend at home in the Lewisburg Subregional of the Legends Classic...Bucknell won a pair of tough games, 62-56 over defending Ivy League champion Princeton on Friday and 54-50 against defending Ohio Valley Conference champ Morehead State on Sunday...Bucknell also beat West Alabama 87-50 on Saturday...Cameron Ayers was named MVP of the subregional after averaging 13.3 points and 3.0 rebounds for the weekend, and also making the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:47 left in the win over Morehead State...The Bison rallied from a 10-point deficit by closing the game on a 30-16 surge...Both teams were 2-0 for the weekend coming into the contest...Ayers had 15 points in the game while Bryson Johnson led the way with 20...On Saturday, Johnson had 27 points on 9-of-15 from three-point range and Ayers had a career-high 20 in the win over West Alabama...The Bison led by 23 at halftime and as many as 39 in the second half...Mike Muscala scored 25 points and pulled down 12 rebounds on Friday as Bucknell beat Princeton for the first time since 1996...Bucknell took the lead for good midway through the second half and pushed the advantage to 10 with a late 6-0 run...The Bison have a 17-game home win streak, including 4-0 this season after the weekend sweep...Bucknell also won 74-68 at Marist on Tuesday...The Bison try to make it a six-game win streak when they visit George Mason on Wednesday...The game will be shown on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN).

Colgate Marist pulled away from Colgate midway through the second half and went on to an 81-73 win over the Raiders on Saturday...Sterling Melville paced Colgate with a career-high 20 points, while Mitch Rolls scored 19....Rolls made 7-of-12 shots from the field and 5-of-7 from beyond the arc in the game...He has been playing very well of late, also scoring 12 points while shooting 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in Wednesday's 74-66 win over St. Francis (Pa.)...That gave Head Coach Matt Langel a victory in his home opener...Rolls is second in the Patriot League by hitting 57.1 percent of his shots from three-point range this season...The Raiders will head back on the road Tuesday when they visit Fordham.

Holy Cross The Crusaders fell at Maine as the Black Bears closed the game on a 17-6 run for a 72-60 win on Sunday...Dave Dudzinski led the Crusaders with a career-high 20 points in the game...The Crusaders fell to 0-3 on the road this season...They were 1-1 last week with an 80-66 victory over Hartford on Wednesday...Jordan Stevens scored a career-high 17 in that game...Stevens scored 11 in the loss to Maine, and made 10-of-13 shots and all five three-point attempts last week...He leads the Patriot League by making 60 percent of his shots from beyond the arc...Freshman Justin Burrell is tied for the League lead with 4.3 assists per contest after dishing out 10 in the two games last week...The Crusaders return to action on Tuesday night at Providence.

Lafayette The Leopards rallied from a 14-point deficit to tie the score with less than a minute to play, but Delaware hit a three-pointer to go back ahead and made free throws down the stretch to hold off Lafayette 81-78 on Saturday..Jim Mower led the Leopards with 19 points while Rob Delaney scored a career-high 17...Mower had scored a career-high 37 in an 85-74 win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Tuesday, hitting a school record 10 three-pointers and going over 1,000 points for his career in the process...He was named Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week for averaging 28.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in the two contests while making over 50 percent of his shots both overall and from three-point range...Mower stands 10th in the nation in three-pointers made and has scored in double figures in all six of Lafayette's contests...The Leopards are back at it on Wednesday when they visit Princeton...The Leopards fell to the Tigers at home last season.

Lehigh The Mountain Hawks were off last week, and play their home opener against Quinnipiac on Monday...Lehigh is the last Patriot League team to open its home slate...The Mountain Hawks lost the matchup on the road last season...They will enter the game on a four-game winning streak after sweeping all of their contests from Nov. 15-20... Lehigh beat William & Mary 82-57, topped host Liberty 90-80 and took down Eastern Kentucky 76-51 in the Lynchburg Subregional of the 2K Sports Classic on the weekend of Nov. 18-20...The Mountain Hawks also won at Fairleigh Dickinson 72-61 on Nov. 15 as they have triumphed by double digits in each of their four consecutive wins...It is the longest winning streak for Lehigh since its Patriot League title season of 2009-10...Junior guard C.J. McCollum averaged 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.8 assists in the four games, and was named the Most Valuable Player of the Lynchburg Subregional...McCollum stands third in the Patriot League with 19.2 points per game, and leads the League with 2.3 steals per contest.

Navy The Mids snapped a four-game losing skid with a 64-56 win at home against Mount St. Mary's on Sunday...Navy opened up a 14-point second-half lead and held on down the stretch for the victory...Jordan Sugars hit a key three-pointer to bring the lead back to six with 2:34 left as Navy closed on a 7-2 run...Four players scored in double figures, led by J.J. Avila with 19 and Sugars with 15...Sugars led Navy with 14 points while Avila and Donya Jackson each scored 12 in Friday's 69-62 loss at Albany...The Mids fell behind by 20 points in the second half and could not climb all the way back...Navy also fell at home against Tulane 57-55 on Tuesday...Avila averaged 14.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and over two assists and steals in the three contests...He stands in the top five in the Patriot League in assists, steals and field goal percentage...He leads the team in all three categories in addition to points and rebounds...Freshman Worth Smith chipped in with 11 points and seven rebounds against Mount St. Mary's in his first career start...He averaged six points and six rebounds in the three games last week...Navy hits the court on Wednesday night when it visits Maryland Eastern Shore...The Mids dropped the matchup at home in overtime last season.