Dec. 21, 2011
WHAT: Bucknell (7-4) at Boston University (4-7)
WHERE: Case Gym, Boston, Mass.
WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 22, 7 p.m. ET
LIVE WEBCAST: GoTerriers.com
RADIO: Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM) and SportsJuice.com
LIVE STATS: GameTracker
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
With a Win over Boston University, Bucknell Would ...
• ... go into a short Christmas break with an 8-5 record.
• ... defeat the Terriers for the second straight year and improve to 3-2 all-time against them.
• ... improve to 4-3 against teams that played in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
• ... improve to 3-5 on the road this season.
• Bucknell did some nice things against No. 1 Syracuse on Tuesday night at the Carrier Dome, but ice-cold shooting early in the game combined with the Orange’s deep and talented lineup proved too much to overcome. The Bison fell by an 80-61 count, snapping a two-game winning streak.
• Boston University, the defending America East champion, is 4-7 against a difficult schedule. The Terriers have lost three straight, to Saint Joseph’s, Harvard and Villanova. That comes on the heels of a four-game winning streak against Rhode Island, Hofstra, Delaware and Boston College. The preseason favorites in the America East are led in scoring by Darryl Partin at 21.2 ppg.
• Mike Muscala has re-taken the lead in a very tight race for the Bucknell scoring lead. Muscala (13.1 ppg) now has three more points than Cameron Ayers (12.8), with Joe Willman (10.9) and Bryson Johnson (10.2) not far behind.
• Muscala continues to lead the Bison in rebounding (9.0) and blocked shots (1.8). He leads the Patriot League in rebounding by a wide margin, and he has five double-doubles this season, including a 22-point, 12-rebound performance in last Saturday night’s win over Richmond.
• Bryson Johnson missed the Binghamton game with an injury, his first DNP in three seasons at Bucknell. Johnson returned against Richmond, but came off the bench for the first time since his freshman season. The was hardly bothered by the reserve action, however, as he scored 18 points, all in the second half, in 30 minutes of court time. Johnson then had nine points at Syracuse, with the points again all coming in the second half.
• Freshman Steven Kaspar, who has played very well of late at the point guard spot, has started the last three games.
• The Bison were unanimously picked as the preseason favorite in the Patriot League by the league’s head coaches and SIDs.
• The Bison returned four starters from last year’s team that finished 25-9 overall and 13-1 in the Patriot League. Bucknell went on to capture the Patriot League Tournament title, but the 14th-seeded Bison were ousted by red-hot Connecticut, the eventual national champions, in their NCAA Tournament opener.
• Bucknell head coach Dave Paulsen is no stranger to the state of Massachusetts. He was the head coach at Williams College from 2000-08, and he won a Division III national title there in 2002-03.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-Boston University game will not be televised, however a live webcast will be available at GoTerriers.com (subscription rates apply).
• The game can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM), with Doug Birdsong and Terry Conrad describing the action. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off.
• The audio feed is available online free of charge via BucknellBison.com and SportsJuice.com.
• Live statistics are available at GoTerriers.com.
Bucknell vs. Boston University
• Bucknell and Boston University have met four times previously on the hardwood, with each team winning twice.
• Last season at Sojka Pavilion, Bucknell prevailed 52-49 in a tight defensive struggle. Bryan Cohen tied for team-high honors with 10 points and played terrific defense on reigning America East scoring champion John Holland, who finished with 11 points on 4-for-17 shooting. Mike Muscala contributed 10 points, nine rebounds and a huge steal in the final seconds. G.W. Boon added nine points, including the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 90 seconds left. Jake O’Brien led the Terriers with 19 points.
• Two seasons ago, Bucknell played on the Terriers’ home floor for the first time (at Agganis Arena), and Boston University rode a fast start to a 63-53 win. The Bison trailed 32-16 at halftime after a 5-for-26 shooting performance in the first 20 minutes, but they made a spirited rally in the second half to close within three. But Corey Lowe and Carlos Strong hit critical shots down the stretch to protect the lead for the Terriers. O’Brien led the home team with 17 points, while Boon connected on five 3-pointers and led the Bison with 17. Bucknell held Holland to 10 points, half his scoring average to that point, on 3-for-9 shooting.
Bucknell vs. The America East
Bucknell is 18-12 all-time against the current members of the America East, including a 77-63 win over Binghamton earlier this season. The Bison are 6-2 against UMBC, 4-2 vs. Albany, 2-2 vs. Maine, 3-1 vs. Binghamton, 2-2 vs. Boston University, 1-1 vs. Hartford and 0-2 vs. Vermont.
Last Time Out
• For the second time in program history, Bucknell took on the nation’s No. 1 team on Tuesday night. The Bison got off to a frigid start offensively and fell 80-61 to the No. 1 Orange.
• The Bison trailed by as many as 23 points early in the second half but got back into the game with some better shooting in the second half. They had two possessions to get within 10 points, but came up empty both as Syracuse answered back with buckets.
• Bucknell missed its first eight 3-point attempts of the night and shot just 28.6% from the floor in the first half, contributing to a 39-22 halftime deficit. The Bison were much better in the second half, connecting on 45.2%.
• Mike Muscala led the Bison with 14 points and seven rebounds, despite being limited to 24 minutes due to some foul trouble.
• Ben Brackney had perhaps the best game of his career coming off the bench. He totaled 11 points — one shy of his career high — and connected on 3 of 5 attempts from 3-point range. Brackney also grabbed four rebounds in a career-high 15 minutes.
• For the second straight game, Bryson Johnson did all of his damage in the second half. Johnson hit three second-half treys and finished with nine points against the Orange, one game after scoring 18 second-half points in a win over Richmond.
• After a slow start on the glass, Bucknell held its own against the bigger Orange. But in the end the Bison were outrebounded 36-30, ending a streak of nine straight games with a plus rebound margin. The Bison did have a 12-10 edge in offensive rebounds.
• Joe Willman was Bucknell’s third double-digit scorer with 10 points, and he also dished a career-high five assists.
• Bucknell was trying to beat Syracuse for the second straight time. The Bison won 74-69 at the Carrier Dome in 2005-06.
• Bucknell’s only other game against a No. 1 team came on Jan. 2, 2006, an 84-50 loss at Duke.
Stats Worth Noting
• Prior to Syracuse, Bucknell had shot 60.2% (53-88) from the field as a team in its two previous games, wins over Binghamton and Richmond. The Bison then shot 37.3% against the top-ranked Orange.
• Bucknell has been dominant on the glass of late. After going -15 in rebound margin against Minnesota and Vanderbilt to start the season, the Bison are +85 since then and have outrebounded every opponent except Syracuse. Bucknell’s +5.8 rebound margin for the season is by far the best in the Patriot League.
• A big part of Bucknell’s rebounding success has been limiting opponents’ second chances. The Bison have held 10 of their last 12 foes to eight or fewer offensive rebounds. That has been a key strength, as Bucknell is also holding opponents to 39.9% shooting on the season, the best mark in the Patriot League. Syracuse (.528) is the only team to shoot 50% from the floor against Bucknell this season.
• Cameron Ayers is Bucknell’s leader in both minutes played (385) and fewest turnovers (10) among starters. Ayers has just five TOs in his last eight games.
• Bucknell ranked third in the nation in free-throw shooting last season at 78.8%, but this year the Bison are shooting just 72.4% as a team, and that figure includes Saturday’s 21-for-21 performance against Richmond and a 10-for-12 showing against Syracuse.
• Bucknell has four players scoring in double digits: Mike Muscala (13.1), Cameron Ayers (12.8), Joe Willman (10.9) and Bryson Johnson (10.2).
• Bucknell has gotten a big lift so far from newcomers Brian Fitzpatrick and Steven Kaspar. Fitzpatrick, a junior forward in his first eligible season after transferring from Penn, is 17-for-29 from the floor and is averaging 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.0 minutes per game. Kaspar, a freshman point guard, has not scored much yet, but he leads the team and ranks fourth in the Patriot League in both assists (38) and steals (16).
• Eight Bison have had at least one double-digit scoring game this season, and 10 of the 14 on the roster have done it at least once in his career.
• Kaspar’s seven assists against West Alabama were the most by a Bison freshman since Abe Badmus had eight against Navy in 2003-04.
• Johnson’s 15 3-pointers in the wins over West Alabama and Morehead State were a school record for most threes in consecutive games. Bucknell’s 17 treys in the West Alabama game set a school record.
• After the game at Boston University, the Bison will take a short holiday break before playing again on Dec. 28 at home against Loyola (Md.).
• The Greyhounds are 8-2 on the season heading into Thursday night’s game at Kentucky.
• The Bison defeated Loyola 70-59 last season in Baltimore.