Patriot League Men's Basketball Weekend Preview - 12.20.13

PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG Bucknell's Cameron Ayers
Bucknell's Cameron Ayers

Dec. 20, 2013

Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 12.20.13 Get Acrobat Reader

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Five Patriot League teams have returned from their exam break, while five more come back this weekend.

Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*Nine Patriot League squads have a game this weekend heading into their Christmas break.
*Bucknell comes back from break when it visits Marist Friday, while Lehigh returns by hosting Quinnipiac (PLN) Saturday.
*The Mountain Hawks are 4-0 at home for the third consecutive season.
*Lehigh tries to become the first Patriot League team this season to win five straight games.
*Boston University is at Maryland on Saturday and Army goes to Rutgers on Sunday, with both games on ESPN3.
*Loyola hosts St. Joseph's Saturday and Colgate welcomes Ursinus Sunday in additional games on Patriot League Network.
*Navy and Holy Cross are on the road Saturday, while American goes to San Francisco on Sunday.
*Patriot League teams are 23-12 at home for the year, with Navy and Lehigh at 4-0.
*Patriot League teams are 47-49 for the season, with a 42-26 mark against the other Mid-Major conferences.
*The next team in action after the weekend will be Lafayette at Seton Hall on Dec. 27.
*Each team will have one more game between Dec. 27-30 before starting League play on Jan. 2.

Patriot League Notebook
Returning to the Court
Five Patriot League teams have returned from their exam break, while five more come back this weekend. Bucknell is the next to return when it visits Marist on Friday, while Lehigh hosts Quinnipiac and Boston University goes to Maryland on Saturday. Colgate welcomes Ursinus and Army visits Rutgers on Sunday in their returns to the court. The rest of the weekend slate features Navy at Northern Kentucky, Holy Cross at NJIT and Loyola Maryland welcoming St. Joseph's on Saturday with American at San Francisco on Sunday. It is the last action for all teams until each squad finishes its non-League slate with one game between Dec. 27-30 ahead of the start of Patriot League play on Jan. 2.

Patriot League Play Tips Off Soon
The non-League schedules are finishing up with Patriot League action on the horizon after the New Year. The League slate features an 18-game schedule for the first time with the additions of Boston University and Loyola Maryland. The Terriers and Greyhounds each open their Patriot League tenure at home on Jan 2. by welcoming Holy Cross and Navy, respectively. The other Patriot League openers that night feature defending champion Bucknell hosting American, Lehigh going to Colgate and Army at Lafayette.

Patriot League Finding Success Against Mid-Major Foes
Patriot League teams have compiled a 42-26 record against teams from conferences that are a part of the College Insider Mid-Major top 25 rankings. The best results have come against the America East (14-2) and MAAC (5-1), with an 11-7 mark against the Northeast Conference. The Patriot League is just under .500 for the season at 47-49, with a 44-49 mark against Division I opponents.

Lehigh Tries to Extend Winning Streak to Five
Seven Patriot League schools have rolled off winning streaks of three or four games this season, but none has hit five in a row. That can change on Saturday when Lehigh hosts Quinnipiac looking for a fifth straight win. Lafayette saw a run of four in a row come to an end at St. Francis (Brooklyn) on Thursday. Army and Bucknell have not yet won three in a row, but each takes a two-game run into road contests this weekend.

Protecting the Home Court
Patriot League teams are now 23-12 at home for the year, and two squads still have undefeated marks. Navy has opened 4-0 at home for the first time since 2008-09 and has its first four-game home win streak at any point since 2009-10. Lehigh has a 4-0 home record for the third straight season heading into Saturday's matchup with Quinnipiac. The Mountain Hawks are trying to open 5-0 at home for the second time in three years.

Little Leaders
Basketball is supposed to be a big man's game, but don't tell that to the host of players standing 6-foot-0 or under who are putting together a great season in the Patriot League. Colgate's Austin Tillotson is an even 6-foot-0, yet ranks in the top 10 nationally in a category dominated by big men by standing fifth in Division I in field goal percentage at 67.1%. Boston University's Maurice Watson (5-foot-10) is high in a more convential category for a point guard as he stands 13th in the nation with 6.5 assists per game. Lehigh's Mackey McKnight (6-foot-0) is 26th in the nation in assists and part of the Patriot League's 1,000-point and 400-assist clubs, while Navy's Tilman Dunbar (5-foot-10) and Lafayette's Nick Lindner (5-foot-10) won Patriot League Anaconda weekly awards recently and are enjoying strong seasons.

Dudzinski Joins 1,000-point Club
Holy Cross' Dave Dudzinski became the fifth active 1,000-point scorer in the Patriot League on Dec. 7, joining Loyola's Dylon Cormier (1,427), Bucknell's Cameron Ayers (1,193), BU's D.J. Irving (1,163) and Lehigh's Mackey McKnight (1,053). Dudzinski is the 92nd 1,000-point scorer in Patriot League history and the 47th in Holy Cross annals.

Cormier, Hinrichs Filling It Up
The Patriot League has two players in the top 40 nationally in scoring, including Loyola senior guard Dylon Cormier at fourth in the country with 23.8 points per game. Lafayette junior Seth Hinrichs is not far behind at 20.2 points per game, good for 31st in the nation. Cormier opened the year with a five-game streak of 20 points or more and has hit the 20-point mark in seven of nine games, while Hinrichs had a four-game run of at least 20 points this season.

Shooting Success
Patriot League teams are among the national leaders in hitting shots from behind the arc and at the free throw line. Coming into the week, Colgate led the nation in three-pointers per game (11.8) and was second in three-point field-goal percentage (45.7%), while Lafayette (80.5%) and Bucknell (79.0%) ranked second and fourth, respecitively, in Division I in free throw percentage. The Bison were also 10th (43.4%) in three-point percentage. Three Patriot Leaguers ranked in the top 35 in field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage, with Colgate's Austin Tillotson fifth in the former and Lafayette's Bryce Scott seventh in the latter.

15 Patriot League Contests to Be Shown On CBS Sports Network
The Patriot League Men's Basketball Championship will be televised on CBS Sports Network for the third year in a row on Wednesday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m., while CBSSN will also air both semifinal games of the Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 8 at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. The postseason contests are part of a 15-game schedule of Patriot League men's basketball on CBS Sports Network in 2014.

Team Notebooks
AMERICAN American hung with St. Mary's early before the Gaels pulled away for a 59-44 win on Thursday evening...The Eagles were within four points late in the first half and seven at the break, but St. Mary's went up 18 midway through the second half on the way to the win..Kyle Kager and Darius Gardner each finished with 13 points for American and combined to shoot 11-of-17 from the field...The rest of the Eagles were just 7-of-26 for the game, and American got outrebounded 37-19...It was the first of a five-game road trip for the Eagles, who stay in California to visit San Francisco on Sunday afternoon...American will not return home until its third Patriot League game against Loyola Maryland on Jan. 8.

ARMY Army broke open a close game in the second half to pull out a 90-80 win at Maine on Friday...After holding a two-point lead at halftime, the Black Knights used a 10-0 run to go ahead 65-50 with 14:16 to play...Army led by at least seven points the rest of the way to go on to the 10-point win...Kyle Wilson led Army with 24 points, while Kevin Ferguson finished with 15 and Mo Williams scored 11...The Black Knights made 10-of-21 three-pointers in the game, and forced 18 Maine turnovers...Army has won two straight games following a five-game losing skid...The Black Knights have over a week off for final exams before returning to action on Sunday at Rutgers.

BOSTON UNIVERSITY Maurice Watson Jr. nearly had a triple-double, but it was not enough as Boston University fell 86-82 in overtime against Norfolk State on Sunday...The game was tight throughout, but BU appeared to be in control after using a 10-4 run for a 67-61 lead with under two minutes to play...Norfolk State's Pendarvis Williams had three baskets and a steal in a 55-second span to tie the score, evening the game at 67-67 with 10 seconds left...BU's John Papale missed a three-pointer to tie at the buzzer...Norfolk State took the lead for good on a three-pointer with 1:44 to play for a 75-72 advantage and went on to the four-point win...Watson had 16 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds, while Papale had a team-high 18 points on 6-of-11 from long range...BU lost despite shooting 28-of-51 (54.9%) from the field and 13-of-28 (46.4%) from three-point range...It was the third-straight loss for the Terriers, with the defeats coming against teams who have a cumulative 26-5 record...BU also lost to George Washington and Harvard during the stretch..Watson leads the Patriot League and is 13th in Division I with 6.5 assists per game...It does not get any easier as the Terriers next visit Maryland on Saturday at 1 p.m. on ESPN3.

BUCKNELL Bucknell has won two straight games as it prepares to return from a long break for final exams by visiting Marist on Friday...The Bison topped Columbia 57-52 at home on Dec. 7 after winning 66-59 at Kent State on Dec. 4...Kent State had been 8-1 overall and 7-0 at home coming into the game, and came in at No. 15 in the Mid-Major Top 25 poll...Bucknell is third in the Patriot League and 43rd nationally in scoring defense at 64.3 points per game...The Bison are in the top 10 in Division I in free throw percentage (79.0%), three-point field-goal percentage(43.4%) and fewest turnovers per game (9.6)...Bucknell only has two non-League games left, as the Bison will also host Fairfield on Dec. 28 to open a three-game homestand that includes Patriot League games against American and Colgate.

COLGATE Colgate used a 9-0 second-half run to take the lead for good and went on to a 69-60 win at Albany on Saturday...The surge gave the Raiders a 46-41 lead with under 12 minutes to play, and they put the game away when Murphy Burnatowski and Damon Sherman-Newsome hit back-to-back three-pointers for a 63-54 edge with under four minutes left...Burnatowski led the Raiders with 19 points, while Austin Tillotson had 16 and Sherman-Newsome finished with 15...The trio shot 10-of-16 from three-point range as Colgate was just under 50 percent for the game at 13-of-28...Colgate still leads the nation with 11.8 three-pointers per game, and is second in three-point field-goal percentage at 45.7%...The Raiders are 12th in the nation in overall field-goal percentage at 50.4%...Tillotson is fifth in the nation by shooting 67.1% from the field for the year...Colgate has a week off before playing Ursinus on Sunday in the opener of a three-game homestand that also includes matchups with Columbia (Dec. 30) and Lehigh (Jan. 2) in the Patriot League opener.

HOLY CROSS Despite a double-double from Dave Dudzinski, Holy Cross fell 83-73 to Canisius in its return to the court on Monday at the Hart Center...The Crusaders were playing for the first time in more than a week after breaking for final exams...Canisius took the lead for good with an 11-0 run in the first half, and held off Holy Cross down the stretch...The Golden Griffins hit a three-pointer with 1:36 left for a six-point lead, and made 8-of-10 free throws to seal the victory...Dudzinski finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Malcolm Miller added 15 and Justin Burrell scored 11...Holy Cross shot 40.4% from the field and made just 7-of-24 shots from long range..The Crusaders visit NJIT on Saturday.

LAFAYETTE Despite a career-high 35 points from Bryce Scott, Lafayette's comeback bid fell short in a 65-62 loss at St. Francis (Brooklyn) on Thursday...The Leopards trailed by 11 with under seven minutes to play before using a 15-4 run to tie the score at 62-62 on Scott's three-pointer with 21 seconds left...St. Francis' Aleksandar Isailovic hit a three as time expired to give the Terriers the victory...Scott made 10-of-17 shots, 4-of-6 three-pointers and 11-of-12 free throws in his 35-point effort...The Leopards saw their four-game win streak come to an end as they played without leading scorer Seth Hinrichs, who is out with an injury...The Leopards had extended the run to four in a row with a 79-54 triumph over Immaculata on Tuesday...Hinrichs led Lafayette with 19 points, while Joey Ptasinski had 14 and Nick Lindner finished with 10...Lafayette is now off until after Christmas when it plays its final non-League game at Seton Hall on Dec. 27 at 8 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

LEHIGH Jesse Chuku and Tim Kempton each posted double-doubles to lead Lehigh to a 76-69 win over LIU Brooklyn on Dec. 9...The Mountain Hawks headed into an 11-day exam break with their fourth-straight win, and also open 4-0 at Stabler Arena for the third year in a row...Lehigh opened up a five-point lead at halftime, and held the advantage throughout the second half...LIU Brooklyn was within one with 13:33 to go before Lehigh scored seven in a row for a 56-48 advantage with 12:17 to play...It was never a one-possession game again, as Lehigh was up by at least four the rest of the way in the 76-69 victory...Chuku finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Kempton had 13 points and 10 boards...Austin Price (13) and Corey Schaefer (10) also scored in double figures while Mackey McKnight had eight points and seven assists...Lehigh shot just under 50 percent from the field at 25-of-53, while holding LIU Brooklyn to under 40 percent at 23-of-58...It was Lehigh's second win in three days after a 70-68 triumph over UMBC on Dec. 7..The Mountain Hawks also beat St. Francis (Pa.) 57-50 (Dec. 4) and Sacred Heart 76-64 (Dec. 1) in their four-game win streak...Lehigh will hope the break does not cool its streak when it returns to action on Saturday at home against Quinnipiac.

LOYOLA MARYLAND Loyola rallied from a 17-point deficit to tie the score twice in the second half, but Stony Brook closed out strong for a 76-69 win on Thursday...The Greyhounds used a 20-5 run to tie the game at 51-51 with 9:41 to play, and scored six in a row to even it again at 63-63 with 3:16 left...Loyola could never get over the hump, as Stony Brook went on a 9-1 run to take control and go on to the 76-69 win...Dylon Cormier led Loyola with 25 points, including 18 in the second half, while making 16-of-21 free throws in the game.Loyola was outrebounded 33-22 and shot under 40% in the game while allowing Stony Brook a 51.1% clip from the field...It doesn't get any easier for the Greyhounds, who host St. Joseph's on Saturday at 3 p.m. and wrap up their non-League slate at Miami (Fla.) on Dec. 30.

NAVY Navy rallied late in regulation, but could not keep up in overtime in a 90-80 loss at Bryant on Saturday...Zach Fong hit a pair of three-pointers in the final 16 seconds to bring the Mids from four points down, tying the score at 73-73 with six seconds to go...Bryant pulled away with a 9-0 run in overtime and went on to the 10-point win...Fong led Navy with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting from long range, while Worth Smith (14), Tilman Dunbar (14) and Kendall Knorr (12) also scored in double figures...Dunbar just missed a double-double with nine assists, while Will Kelly had 10 rebounds...Navy is next in action at Northern Kentucky on Saturday, and completes its non-League slate at UMBC on Dec. 30...After opening Patriot League play at Loyola Maryland on Jan. 2, Navy finally returns to Alumni Hall to take on Lafayette on Jan. 5...The Mids have opened 4-0 at home for the first time since 2008-09.