Dec. 27, 2007
WHAT: Bucknell (4-6) vs. North Dakota State (6-5)
WHERE: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, Calif.
WHEN: Friday, December 28, 2007, 5:30 p.m. (Eastern)
RADIO: Eagle 107 and SportsJuice.com
COMPLETE PRESS NOTES
G, 11 John Griffin, Sr., 14.7 ppg
G, 10 Justin Castleberry, Jr., 10.4 ppg
C, 42 Josh Linthicum, Jr., 4.6 ppg
F, 15 Stephen Tyree, So., 4.5 ppg
F, 31 Patrick Behan, So., 10.8 ppg
North Dakota State:
G, 10 Ben Woodside, Jr., 23.0 ppg
G, 31 Mike Nelson, Jr., 14.7 ppg
C, 40 Lucas Moorman, Jr., 5.2 ppg
F, 22 Brett Winkelman, Jr., 22.6 ppg
F, 23 Michael Tveidt, Fr., 6.9 ppg
With a Victory over North Dakota State, Bucknell Would ...
-- ... improve to 5-6 on the season.
-- ... advance to the championship game of the Golden Bear Classic against either California or Long Beach State.
-- ... play in an in-season tournament championship game for sixth time since 2001-02.
-- ... improve to 1-0 all-time against NDSU.
About the Game
Bucknell squares off against an unfamiliar foe with a familiar nickname when it takes on the Bison of North Dakota State in the first round of the Golden Bear Classic on Friday night. Host California and Long Beach State will follow in the other first-round matchup. Bucknell has never played North Dakota State, which is in its final year of reclassification to Division I. NDSU is in its first year playing in the Summit League, and while it can win the league's regular-season title, it is not eligible for the Summit League Tournament or the NCAA Tournament until 2009. North Dakota State won 20 games a year ago, including a road victory over No. 8 Marquette, and it has four starters back from that team. Two of them -- Ben Woodside (23.0) and Brett Winkelman (22.6) -- are averaging over 20 points per game. Mike Nelson (14.7) also scores in double figures for a Bison squad that averages 83.0 points per game. NDSU has won two straight games, including a 102-99 overtime win over Centenary for its first Summit League victory and an impressive 83-69 home win over Colorado State in its most recent outing on Dec. 15.
How to Get the Game
Both games from the Golden Bear Classic can be heard locally on Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM), with Doug Birdsong and Doug Byerly on the call. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off. The audio feed is available free of charge via BucknellBison.com and SportsJuice.com.
Patriot League Back on Sirius
The Patriot League announced this week that for the second straight season, Sirius Satellite Radio will feature a league game of the week beginning in January. Bucknell's Jan. 18 game at Holy Cross and the Jan. 26 gome game against Colgate are part of the package. The February schedule, in addition to channel assignments, will be announced at a later date. All seven games of the Patriot League Tournament will also be available on Sirius.
Bucknell vs. The Field
Bucknell has only one previous meeting against any of the other three teams in the Golden Bear Classic field. The Bison dropped a 65-45 decision to Long Beach State on Nov. 24, 1985 at the Lobo Classic in Albuquerque, N.M. Bucknell has never before played North Dakota State or California.
Bucknell in In-Season Tournaments
Bucknell comes to Berkeley with a 52-64 (.448) all-time record in in-season tournament action, dating back to 1951-52. The Orange and Blue have captured four in-season tournament titles, with the last coming at the Pepsi Marist Classic in 1999-2000. Bucknell also won the Naismith-Holiday Inn Classic in Springfield, Mass., in 1988-89, the Albright Holiday Tournament in 1970-71 and the Downeast Classic in Bangor, Maine in 1962-63.
Bucknell vs. The Summit League
This will be Bucknell's very first game against a member of the Summit League, which was known as the Mid-Continent Conference until changing its name on June 1, 2007. Oral Roberts, IPFW, IUPUI, Centenary, Oakland, UMKC, Southern Utah, Western Illinois and South Dakota State join North Dakota State in the 10-team affiliation.
Bucknell in California
The Bison are making their first trip to the left coast since 2005-06, when they lost to Santa Clara in the championship game of the Cable Car Classic. Bucknell is 4-4 all-time in the state of California:
12/27/87: lost at San Diego State, 87-70 at Holiday Bowl Classic, San Diego
12/28/87: defeated Fresno State, 66-56, at Holiday Bowl Classic, San Diego
12/1/89: lost at UC Irvine, 85-79, at Freedom Bowl Classic, Irvine
12/2/89: defeated Navy, 67-66, at Freedom Bowl Classic, Irvine
11/24/95: won at San Francisco, 68-65 (OT)
11/25/95: lost at St. Mary's, 84-66
12/28/05: defeated Boston University, 63-57, at Cable Car Classic, Santa Clara
12/29/05: lost at Santa Clara, 77-68, at Cable Car Classic, Santa Clara
Last Time Out
An ice-cold first half doomed Bucknell in a 65-53 loss to Drexel last Saturday in Philadelphia. The Bison managed only six first-half field goals in 29 attempts and fell behind 34-15 at intermission. Bucknell played much better at both ends in the second half and got within eight points, but the early deficit proved too much to overcome. Scott Rodgers, who was 5-for-20 from 3-point range coming in, hit four in seven attempts and led all scorers with 18 points for the Dragons. John Griffin led the Bison with 11 points.
Inside the Drexel Boxscore
-- Bucknell shot 50.0% from the field in the second half after a 20.7% showing in the first half. The Bison outscored Drexel 38-31 in the second half but could not overcome a 19-point halftime deficit. That was Bucknell's largest deficit of the season.
-- Neither team's leading scorer managed a point in the first half, but both rallied in the second. Bucknell's John Griffin scored all 11 of his points in the second half, while Drexel's Frank Elegar got all 16 of his in the final 13 minutes.
-- Both of Bucknell's centers battled foul trouble throughout the day. Josh Linthicum managed eight points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes, despite playing the final 10 minutes with four fouls. Todd O'Brien had seven points and five rebounds in 14 minutes before fouling out.
-- Freshman G.W. Boon scored in double figures for the second time this season. He hit two 3-pointers and went 4-for-4 from the free throw line and finished with 10 points.
-- After struggling on the defensive glass for much of the season, Bucknell allowed only five offensive rebounds. The final rebounding ledger was even at 34.
-- Bucknell struggled from the free-throw line, making only 1 of 7 in the first half (including three missed front ends of 1-and-1s) and 13 of 22 overall. Drexel, which entered the game shooting only 56% from the line as a team, made 15 of 17.
-- The Bison had a season-low 11 turnovers.
A Lift from Linthicum
Junior Josh Linthicum is in the midst of the most productive three-game stretch of his career. Against Wake Forest, Linthicum nearly doubled his previous career scoring high (6) with 11 points, while also grabbing a career-best 11 rebounds. Of those 11 boards, eight came on the offensive glass. Against Cornell, he made all five shots from the floor and bumped his career scoring high once again with 12 points. Last time out against Drexel he had eight points and seven rebounds. In the last three games he has 31 points (10.3 ppg), 21 rebounds (7.0), and four blocks (1.3) while shooting 14-for-22 (.636) from the field.
Griffin Heating Up
Senior guard John Griffin has taken on an increased scoring role this season. Griffin averaged a career-best 10.5 ppg last season and had a 7.1 ppg career average entering his senior season. But after averaging 18.8 ppg over his last three games, Griffin is now at 14.7 ppg on the season, eighth-best in the Patriot League.
Who's Got Next?
After taking on either California or Long Beach State on day two of the Golden Bear Classic, Bucknell will be off until Jan. 2 when Ohio University makes its first visit to Sojka Pavilion at 7 p.m.