Dec. 19, 2011
Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 12.19.11
Center Valley, Pa.-- Last week the Patriot League men's basketball schedule was light with final exams. This week, the games are packed into a four-day stretch as teams get in action before Christmas.
Bucknell will be the busiest team leading into Christmas with a pair of games this week, including a matchup at No. 1 Syracuse on Tuesday night on ESPNU. The Bison will also travel to Boston University on Thursday in their third game in six days after beating Richmond 79-65 on Saturday. The victory was the 18th straight at home for the Bison, who shot 70 percent while scoring 52 points in the second half. Cameron Ayers tied a career high with 23 points and was named the Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week on Monday.
Colgate will also play a pair of games this week in its first action since Dec. 10. The Raiders get back on the court Monday when they host Dartmouth, then make a trip to Hofstra on Thursday. Colgate is 3-0 at home this season.
Army and Lafayette will both be in action on Wednesday. The Black Knights will play host to Dartmouth, while the Leopards visit Vanderbilt in a game shown on Fox Sports South. Army returned to the court with a 61-59 win over Texas-Pan American on Sunday, while Lafayette will play for the first time since Dec. 11.
Thursday will be the final pre-holiday competition, and six teams will take the court. In addition to Bucknell and Colgate, American will visit Villanova, Navy heads to Presbyterian and Holy Cross plays host to San Francisco at 7 p.m. Lehigh takes a trip to No. 19 Michigan State in a game shown on ESPNU at 9 p.m.
The Mountain Hawks and Midshipmen will each play their first game in more than a week. American and Holy Cross both fell over the weekend against top 25 opponents from the BIG EAST.
The eight Patriot League teams are just under .500 overall at 43-44 for the season. American, Bucknell, Colgate and Lehigh are all undefeated on their home court as Patriot League teams are a combined 27-7 at home this season.
Patriot League play begins on Jan. 7. Every team will have at least three more non-League games before the tip-off to the League schedule.
Patriot League Anaconda Weekly Awards (Dec. 12-18)
Anaconda Player of the Week
CAMERON AYERS, BUCKNELL So., G, 6-5, 203; Blue Bell, Pa./Germantown Academy
Ayers tied a career-high with 23 points in a near-flawless shooting effort to lead the Bison past Richmond 79-65 on Saturday. He made 8-of-9 shots from the field and all six attempts at the free throw line. Ayers also had three steals and two assists without a turnover while playing 39 minutes. He is averaging 17.0 points in his last six games, and leads the Bison while placing 10th in the Patriot League with 13.2 points per game. Ayers wins the Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week award for the first time in his career.
Anaconda Rookie of the Week
JOHN SCHOOF, AMERICAN Fr., G, 6-5, 200; Fairfax, Va./W.T. Woodson
Schoof had a career-high 12 points with three rebounds and two steals in American's 81-55 loss at No. 16/17 Georgetown on Saturday. He made 4-of-9 shots from the field and each of his free-throw attempts to score double figures for the first time in his career. Schoof has started all 12 games for the 8-4 Eagles. He is American's first Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week winner since Derrick Mercer in the 2005-06 season.
ELLA ELLIS, ARMY Jr., F, 6-7, 185; Houston, Texas/Eisenhower (USMAPS)
Ellis scored 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting and finished with six rebounds and three steals in a 61-59 win over Texas-Pan American on Sunday.
Patriot League Notebook
The home court has not played a major role in Patriot League games in recent seasons, but it looks like that could change in 2012 as League squads are having great success at home so far. Patriot League teams are a combined 27-7 at home, with American (6-0), Bucknell (5-0), Lehigh (3-0) and Colgate (3-0) all perfect on their home court. Every team has at least two wins at home, and none of the eight squads has a losing record. Bucknell has won 18 straight home games dating back to last season. Colgate tries to keep its perfect mark alive when it welcomes Dartmouth on Monday.
Patriot League teams take on some of the top programs in the country heading into Christmas, and the games will be available to wide audiences. A pair of contests will be on ESPNU this week, as Bucknell visits No. 1 Syracuse on Tuesday and Lehigh heads to No. 19 Michigan State on Thursday. The Lafayette at Vanderbilt game will be shown on Fox Sports South on Wednesday. Each of the games will also be available online through ESPN3. Over the weekend, American and Holy Cross each had games against top 25 opponents shown on both regional television and ESPN3.
Eight Active 1,000-Point Scorers
The count of all-time 1,000-point scorers in Patriot League history is up to 80, and 10 percent of those players are active. A junior leads the group of active scorers, as Lehigh's C.J. McCollum is into the top 20 in League history with 1,533 points. Following McCollum are Lafayette's Ryan Willen (1,157), Holy Cross' Devin Brown (1,156), Colgate's Yaw Gyawu (1,141), Navy's Jordan Sugars (1,127), Lafayette's Jim Mower (1,096), Holy Cross' R.J. Evans (1,018) and Army's Julian Simmons (1,011). A pair from Bucknell could be next on the list, as junior Mike Muscala and senior Bryan Cohen are each closing in on 1,000 points.
A handful of players have stood out early in the 2011-12 season. Most were expected to do so, but American's Charles Hinkle has certainly surprised. The senior leads the Patriot League and is in the top 10 nationally with 21.7 points per game. He has a pair of 30-point games and eight 20-point outings, and has scored 15 or more in all but one game. Behind Hinkle on the scoring list is Lehigh junior C.J. McCollum. The Patriot League Preseason Player of the Year has lived up to expectations with 18.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and a League-best 2.5 steals per contest. Last year's Patriot League Player of the Year, Bucknell junior Mike Muscala, has picked up where he left off with 13.0 points and a League-best 9.2 rebounds per contest. Navy sophomore J.J. Avila, the 2011 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, is doing a bit of everything and stands in the top 10 in the League in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, field goal and free throw percentage. Mower, Brown and Willen have added to their status as 1,000-point scorers by placing among the top 10 in the League in scoring.
0-2 Start Could Not Stop this Trio
Starting the season with an 0-2 record would not deter Lehigh, American or Bucknell as each squad has bounced back nicely from the slow start. The Mountain Hawks have won nine of 10 games to record the best overall mark in the Patriot League at 9-3. Lehigh's only loss during that span was in overtime at Cornell on Dec. 3, and the Mountain Hawks have won three straight since that defeat. American still stands at 8-4 overall after opening 0-2, as the Eagles won eight in a row to reach the mark. Bucknell won five in a row after its 0-2 start, and stands at 7-4 after winning its second straight game at home against Richmond on Saturday.
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 has already clinched the season series against its most common competitior, the Northeast Conference, with a 14-7 record and five games remaining. The League is also 6-3 against the America East. Patriot League teams have combined for multiple wins against St. Francis (Pa.), St. Francis (NY), Fairleigh Dickinson, Quinnipiac and Binghamton.
AmericanAmerican trailed No. 16/17 Georgetown by just six points at halftime before the Hoyas pulled away in the second half for an 81-55 win on Saturday...Charles Hinkle led the Eagles with 16 points, while John Schoof scored 12 and Blake Jolivette finished with 11...Hinkle has scored in double figures in every game this season, with just one under 15 points...He leads the Patriot League and is among the national leaders with 21.7 ppg...Schoof notched a career high with his first-ever double-digit scoring performance...The Eagles have dropped two in a row after an eight-game win streak...They have a tough task to get back on track as they visit Villanova on Thursday.
ArmyThe Black Knights started a stretch of four out of five games at home in good fashion by holding on for a 61-59 win over Texas-Pan American on Sunday...Army stretched a nine-point halftime lead to 15 with just over six minutes to play, then held off a furious late rally by Texas-Pan American...The Black Knights did not score for the final five minutes of the contest and gave up 11 straight points, but the lead was enough as Texas-Pan American missed a three-pointer to win in the final seconds...Ella Ellis led the Black Knights with 25 points, hitting 9-of-11 shots from the field, 3-of-4 from three-point range and 4-of-5 at the line...He scored 16 points in the first half as Army built the lead, and scored 25 despite playing only 24 minutes...Ellis has scored in double figures in all 11 of Army's games, and 13 straight dating back to last year...He is fourth in the Patriot League with 16.9 points per game...Maxwell Lenox had six points and seven rebounds...Army stays at West Point for a matchup with Dartmouth on Wednesday afternoon...The teams split the season series last year, with Army winning at home.
BucknellThe Bison put together an outstanding second half to notch a 79-65 win at home against Richmond on Saturday...Bucknell trailed 31-27 at the break before scoring 52 points and shooting 70 percent (14-of-20) after intermission...Bucknell finished 26-of-44 (59.1%) from the field and made all 21 of its free-throw attempts, with 19 coming in the second half...Bucknell took the lead for good on a pair of free throws by Mike Muscala with 11:36 to play that started a 10-2 run that made it 53-46 when Bryson Johnson converted a four-point play with 9:09 left...The Bison would stretch the lead as high as 16 points before taking the 79-65 final...Cameron Ayers tied a career high with 23 points, while Muscala had 22 points and 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the year and Johnson scored 18...Ayers (8-9) and Muscala (8-10) combined to go 16-for-19 from the field and 12-for-12 from the line, while Johnson scored all of his points in the second half and hit 5-of-8 from three-point range...The Bison held a 34-19 edge on the boards, and are +91 rebounding in their last nine games...Bucknell won its 18th consecutive home game, and improved to 5-0 at Sojka Pavilion this season...The Bison stay busy before Christmas with a pair of road trips this week, including a matchup at the No. 1 team in the country on Tuesday...Bucknell visits top-ranked Syracuse in a game that will be shown on ESPNU...The Bison are playing the No. 1 team in the country for the first time since 2006...Bucknell then visits Boston University on Thursday...Bucknell won the matchup at home last season.
ColgateAfter more than a week away, Colgate returns to action on Monday and will try to stay perfect at home when it welcomes Dartmouth... Colgate split a home-and-home with the Big Green last season...The Raiders are 3-0 at Cotterell Court this season, winning their most recent contest 65-63 win over St. Francis (NY) on Dec. 10..The Raiders trailed 61-60 before baskets by Yaw Gyawu and Mitch Rolls gave them a 64-61 lead, and Pat Moore added a free throw for the 65-63 final...St. Francis (NY) missed a shot to tie at the buzzer...Rolls led Colgate with 15 points, while Gyawu and Sterling Melville had 14 apiece..Colgate is 3-0 at home for the first time since 2002-03...Pat Moore has scored in double figures in seven straight games after totaling 12 in the win over St. Francis (NY)...He leads Colgate with 12.3 points per game...Rolls is in the top three in the League in both three-point (55.3) and overall (53.4) field-goal percentage...Mike Venezia leads the nation in free throw percentage, hitting 24-of-25 for the season for a 96.0 clip...The Raiders will play a pair of games this week, visiting Hofstra on Thursday.
Holy CrossThe Crusaders returned to action on Sunday and fell at No. 9/10 Connecticut 77-40... Holy Cross had an early lead but could not keep up against the defending national champion Huskies...R.J. Evans led the Crusaders with 15 points playing in his native state...Freshman Malcolm Miller chipped in with a solid performance of five points and a career-high tying seven rebounds...The Crusaders have alternated wins and losses in their last four games...They hope the trend continues on Thursday when they play host to San Francisco...Holy Cross won the last meeting between the schools at home in 2008.
LafayetteThe Leopards will return to action on Wednesday when they visit Vanderbilt... The game will be shown on Fox Sports South and ESPN3...Lafayette was off all of last week, with its last action coming when it played three games from Dec. 5-11...That stretch was highlighted by a 61-57 win at Penn State on Dec. 7...Lafayette became the first-ever Patriot League team to beat the Nittany Lions...The Leopards used a 26-10 run to lead 37-32 at the half, and never relinquished the advantage even as Penn State closed to within two points on four occasions...Jim Mower hit a pair of free throws with six seconds left to seal the win...Mower and Seth Hinrichs led the Leopards with 14 points apiece...Mower scored 24 points and Hinrichs had a career-high 17 on Dec. 11, but it was not enough as Lafayette fell 84-79 at Sacred Heart...The Leopards got to within one point with just over a minute to play, but Sacred Heart hit a key three-pointer on the next possession to seal the win...Lafayette also had a tough loss on Dec. 5 as Long Island held on for an 82-80 victory...Nick Petkovich scored a career-high 19 points, while Ryan Willen led the Leopards with 21 and had a career-high seven assists...Lafayette leads the Patriot League and ranks in the top 10 nationally with 9.8 three-pointers per game.
LehighThe Mountain Hawks have won three straight and nine of the last 10 games after an 0-2 start...Lehigh pulled out a thrilling 70-69 win at Wagner on Dec. 10, as Anthony D'Orazio hit the game-winning three-pointer with eight seconds left..Lehigh used a 14-0 run to overcome an 11-point deficit in the second half, and rallied from a 68-64 deficit with 21 seconds left on three-pointers by Mackey McKnight and D'Orazio...C.J. McCollum led the Mountain Hawks with 22 points, while McKnight scored 15...It was much easier on Dec. 7, as the Mountain Hawks opened the game with a 26-2 run and went up by 42 points in the second half in a 71-50 win over St. Francis (Pa.)...Holden Greiner led the Mountain Hawks with 17 points, while McCollum scored 13...The Mountain Hawks are 4-0 against Northeast Conference opponents this season...McCollum was named Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week for averaging 17.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and three steals in the two wins...It was his seventh career honor, one off the League record...He is up to 18th in League history with 1,533 career points...Lehigh has eclipsed 70 points in all 12 games this season, scoring 80 or more four times...It added to the numbers with a 95-55 thumping of Division III Arcadia in it most recent action on Dec. 12...Lehigh leads the Patriot League with 79.1 points per game, and tops the chart in both field goal and free throw percentage...Lehigh returns to action on Thursday when it visits No. 21/23 Michigan State in a game shown on ESPNU.
Navy Navy had last week off and will return to action on Thursday at Presbyterian... The Mids lost the matchup by two points at home last season...Navy played a pair of games during the week of Dec. 5-11, losing one at the wire and another to a top 10 team in the country...Navy fell 69-67 to Monmouth on Dec. 6, as Jordan Brickman's three-pointer was off the mark at the buzzer...The Mids dropped an 84-59 final at No. 10 Missouri on Dec. 10...Despite the losses, sophomore J.J. Avila continued his brilliant play...Avila had 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists against the Tigers, with 14 points, seven boards and five assists versus Monmouth...He made 15-of-22 shots while averaging 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in the two games...He was 11-of-12 from inside the three-point line...Avila is one of a handful of freshmen or sophomores nationally averaging 14.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists for the year...He ranks in the Patriot League top 10 in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, field goal and free throw percentage.