Dec. 27, 2011
Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 12.27.11
Center Valley, Pa. -- The Patriot League men's basketball schedule picks back up with five games on Wednesday night, and all eight teams have little time left to get on the top of their game with League action beginning in less than two weeks.
The Wednesday slate features three teams trying to improve on the Patriot League's gaudy 30-7 home record this season. Bucknell has a 5-0 mark this year and 18-game home winning streak dating back to last season heading into its matchup with Loyola (Md.), while Colgate carries a 4-0 home record into its game against Quinnipiac. The Raiders have their longest winning streak at Cotterell Court since 2000-01. Lafayette completes the home slate with a matchup against Monmouth, as the Leopards try to go over .500 at Kirby Sports Center.
Lehigh and Army also return to the court on Wednesday, with the Mountain Hawks at St. Peter's and the Black Knights at Presbyterian.
American is back in action on Thursday when it visits Mount St. Mary's, while Navy returns to the court on Friday at home against Mercer. Lafayette also plays at Columbia on Friday night.
The post-holiday slate continues with five games on the final day of the 2011 calendar year, including Holy Cross back in action at Dartmouth. The Saturday schedule also features Bucknell against Cornell and Army facing St. Francis (NY) in home games for Patriot League schools, while Colgate goes to New Hampshire and Lehigh is at Bryant.
The first game of 2012 will be played by Navy, as the Mids wrap up their non-League slate at home against Norfolk State on Sunday.
American plays its last non-League game on Monday when it visits Brown, with Lafayette keeping up its busy slate at NJIT. Bucknell, Army, Holy Cross and Lehigh play their final non-League contest on Jan. 3, while Colgate and Lafayette conclude their pre-Patriot League slate the following day.
Patriot League teams last played on Thursday, when Bucknell and Holy Cross posted victories while Lehigh, Navy, Colgate and American fell. Lafayette and Army have not played since last Wednesday.
The eight Patriot League teams are at 47-50 for the season. League play begins for all squads on Jan. 7.
Patriot League Anaconda Weekly Awards (Dec. 19-25)
Anaconda Player of the Week
MIKE MUSCALA, BUCKNELL Jr., C, 6-11, 235, Roseville, Minn./Roseville
Muscala, the 2010-11 Patriot League Player of the Year, earns his first Anaconda Player of the Week nod of the season and second of his career after two solid games on the road before Christmas. He tallied 14 points and seven rebounds in an 80-61 loss at No. 1 Syracuse on Tuesday, then came through with his sixth double-double of the season with 20 points and 11 rebounds in a 75-61 win at Boston University on Thursday. Muscala hit 6-of-9 shots and 7-of-8 free throws in the game. He led Bucknell in both scoring and rebounding in each of the two contests, averaging 17.0 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 9-of-17 from the field and 15-of-16 at the foul line. Muscala eclipsed the 500-rebound plateau at Syracuse, and is within 20 points of 1,000 for his career. When he reaches the scoring milestone, Muscala will become just the fourth player in Patriot League history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 150 blocks in his career.
Anaconda Rookie of the Week
SETH HINRICHS, LAFAYETTE Fr., G, 6-7, 214; Clara City, Minn./Maccray
Hinrichs continued his outstanding freshman campaign with another strong performance last week, scoring 16 points and notching a career-high four steals in an 89-58 loss at Vanderbilt on Wednesday. He made 6-of-8 shots from the field, his only three-point attempt and all three of his free throws to come just one point shy of his career high. Hinrichs led the Leopards in scoring against a Vanderbilt team that has spent the majority of the season ranked in the top 25. He leads all Patriot League freshmen and is 19th overall with 9.5 points per game for the year, and also stands third in the League by making 48.6 percent of his shots from three-point range. Hinrichs wins the Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week award for the fourth time, the most for a Lafayette student-athlete since Brian Ehlers won four in 1996-97.
HOLDEN GREINER, LEHIGH Jr., F, 6-7, 215; Traverse City, Mich./Saint Francis High School
Greiner scored 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 from three-point range as Lehigh fell at No. 19/20 Michigan State 90-81 on Thursday.
DAVE DUDZINSKI, HOLY CROSS So., F, 6-9, 227; Elburn, Ill./Kaneland
Dudzinski had 20 points and six rebounds in Holy Cross' 88-83 win over San Francisco on Thursday. He made 11-of-12 free throws, including 5-of-6 in the final minute to help preserve the win.
JASON PANCOE, ARMY Jr., G, 6-2, 170; Ladera Ranch, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic
Pancoe made 7-of-9 shots and 3-of-4 three-pointers and finished with a career-high 20 points in Army's 67-64 win over Dartmouth on Wednesday.
Patriot League Notebook
Bucknell's Muscala Nearing Elite Company
Bucknell junior Mike Muscala still has more than a season and a half remaining in his collegiate career, but already the reigning Patriot League Player of the Year is about to enter a group that includes just three players in League history. Muscala is 20 points away from 1,000 for his career, and when he reaches the milestone he will become the fourth with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 150 blocks in his career. Colgate's Adonal Foyle (1994-97), Bucknell's Dan Bowen (1996-00) and Holy Cross' Tim Clifford (2004-08) are the only players to previously pull off the feat. Muscala will become the 81st overall, and ninth active, 1,000-point scorer in the Patriot League, and the 17th in Bucknell history and 27th in Patriot League annals with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. That group also includes Navy senior Jordan Sugars, who is up to 1,128 points and 556 rebounds.
Eight Active 1,000-Point Scorers
Muscala will join a list of active 1,000-point scorers that includes an accomplished group of juniors and seniors. A junior leads the way, as Lehigh's C.J. McCollum is into the top 20 in League history with 1,552 points. Following McCollum are Holy Cross' Devin Brown (1,177), Lafayette's Ryan Willen (1,170), Colgate's Yaw Gyawu (1,165),Navy's Jordan Sugars (1,128), Lafayette's Jim Mower (1,101), Army's Julian Simmons (1,024) and Holy Cross' R.J. Evans (1,018).
Patriot League teams are just under .500 for the season, with the success due in large part to an outstanding winning percentage at home. The eight League squads have combined to go 30-7 on their home courts, winning at a rate of 81%. American (6-0), Bucknell (5-0), Colgate (4-0) and Lehigh (3-0) are 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, and the Bison will try to extend the streak this week with games against Loyola (Md.) and Cornell. The Bison currently have the 11th longest home winning streak in the nation.
Patriot League Faring Well Against Regional Foes
Every year the Patriot League schedule contains a healthy dose of games against teams from nearby conferences, and the eight League squads are finding success against their most common competitors in 2011-12. Patriot League teams are 14-7 against the Northeast Conference, 7-3 versus the America East and 5-5 in matchups with the Ivy League for a 26-15 mark against the three most-played conferences. The Patriot League has clinched the season series with the NEC and America East, with eight games still remaining against the Ivy League. Patriot League teams have combined for multiple wins against St. Francis (Pa.), St. Francis (NY), Fairleigh Dickinson, Quinnipiac, Binghamton and Dartmouth, who Bucknell and Holy Cross will both visit in the next week.
Bucknell, Lehigh in Top 100 in RPI Rating
Bucknell and Lehigh were picked in the top two places in the Patriot League preseason poll, and according to the Collegiate Basketball News RPI rating the pair stands as the best nearing League play. Bucknell comes in at No. 70 in the RPI rating, while Lehigh is at No. 92. The best win belongs to American, who has the only victory over a top 50 opponent by beating St. Joseph's (No. 22) 66-60 on Dec. 4. The Eagles are at No. 129 in the RPI rating, while Holy Cross also has a place in the top 150.
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 21.3 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, 5.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and a League-best 2.4 steals per contest. Last year's Patriot League Player of the Year, Bucknell junior Mike Muscala, has picked up where he left off with 13.6 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 five in the League in scoring, rebounding, steals and field goal percentage and also eighth in assists. 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.
American American pulled to within five points early in the first half at Villanova, but the Wildcats pulled away for a 73-52 victory over the Eagles on Thursday..Blake Jolivette led the Eagles with a career-high 19 points, while Charles Hinkle added 17...Hinkle continues to lead the Patriot League and place in the top 10 nationally with 21.3 points per game for the season...American dropped its third straight game after an eight-game winning streak...The Eagles are in the midst of a five-game road trip to close out their non-League slate...The journey continues with a matchup at Mount St. Mary's on Thursday followed by a game at Brown on Monday...American defeated both teams last season.
Army In a second half filled with big runs, Army had the last surge as a late 12-1 push gave the Black Knights a 67-64 win over Dartmouth on Wednesday at West Point...Army put together a 17-2 stretch to build an 11-point lead early in the half, and Dartmouth answered with a 26-9 surge to grab a 58-52 lead with 4:30 to play...But from that point the Black Knights embarked on a 12-1 stretch and took the lead for good on a three-pointer by Julian Simmons that made it 62-59 with 1:51 to play...Simmons hit a pair of free throws with eight seconds left for the final margin, and Dartmouth missed a shot to tie in the final moments...Ella Ellis and Jason Pancoe scored 20 points apiece for Army, while Simmons added 13 off the bench...Pancoe shot 7-of-9 from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc...Army has won consecutive games for the first time since January...The victory also put the Black Knights at 4-2 at home...Army still has two home non-League games remaining, but next visits Presbyterian on Wednesday...The Black Knights then complete their non-League slate by taking on St. Francis (NY) on New Year's Eve and Longwood on Jan. 3 at West Point.
Bucknell The Bison have played seven teams that made the 2011 NCAA Tournament, and completed the challenging run with a 4-3 record after defeating Boston University 75-61 on Thursday... Bucknell closed the first half on a 21-8 run to lead 46-27 at the break, and pushed the lead as high as 22 in the second half while staying ahead by double digits throughout...Five players scored in double figures for the Bison, led by Mike Muscala with 20 points and 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the year...Joe Willman added a career-high 19 points...Bucknell lost to the top team in the country on Dec. 20 with an 80-61 defeat at No. 1 Syracuse in a game shown on ESPNU...The Bison trailed 39-22 at the half and fell behind 47-24 early in the second half, but would not go away and cut Syracuse's lead to 13 at 62-49 with just over seven minutes to go...Bucknell could not get any closer as the top-ranked Orange went on to the 19-point win... Muscala led the Bison with 14 points and seven rebounds, going over 500 career rebounds in the game...Ben Brackney scored 11 and Joe Willman finished with 10...The Bison were playing the top-ranked team for the second time in school history, and first since a 2006 matchup with Duke...Bucknell takes an 18-game home winning streak, and 5-0 record at Sojka Pavilion this season, into matchups with Loyola (Md.) on Wednesday and Cornell on Saturday...The Bison defeated both teams by double digits on the road last season.
Colgate Colgate had a 1-1 record last week which included a rally to beat Dartmouth 61-55 in overtime on Dec. 19 at Cotterell Court...The Raiders, who were down by as many as eight points in the second half, trailed 48-45 in the final seconds of the game...Dartmouth fouled Mitch Rolls to avoid a three-point attempt...The junior sank the first free throw and missed the second, but Sterling Melville was fouled on the rebound and then made a pair of free throws to tie the score with 2.7 seconds left...Colgate carried the momentum into overtime, starting with a three-point play by Nick Pascale and leading throughout the extra session for the 61-55 win...Yaw Gyawu led Colgate with 16 points, while five others had at least six points...The Raiders improved to 4-0 at home, their longest winning streak at Cotterell Court since 2000-01...Colgate fell 82-59 at Hofstra on Thursday...The Raiders were down by one point at the half, but Hofstra pulled away after intermission...Melville led the Raiders with 16 points, while Nick Pascale had 13 points and 10 rebounds...Colgate's two-game win streak came to an end, but the Raiders will try to stay perfect at home when they welcome Quinnipiac on Wednesday...Colgate then plays at New Hampshire on Saturday.
Holy Cross The Crusaders won their fourth straight game at the Hart Center behind an outstanding offensive effort in an 88-83 triumph over San Francisco on Thursday...The Crusaders trailed by one point with just over six minutes to play before going on a 9-0 run to take the lead for good...The margin was cut to three on six ocassions in the final minutes, but Holy Cross went 15-of-18 at the foul line in the final 1:33 to seal the win...Five Crusaders scored in double figures, led by Devin Brown with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting and Dave Dudzinski with 20...Jordan Stevens followed with 16 points and a career-high seven assists, while Eric Obeysekere filled the stat sheet with 10 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks...The Crusaders shot 25-of-43 from the field and 30-of-35 at the line to overcome a season-high 28 turnovers...Dudzinski and Justin Burrell were a combined 21-of-24 at the charity stripe, including 13-of-16 in the last two minutes...Burell also had six assists to go with 12 points, and took over the Patriot League lead with 4.3 assists per contest...The Crusaders return to action on Saturday when they visit Dartmouth, the first of two games at Ivy League opponents to close out their non-League slate...Holy Cross also heads to Yale on Jan. 3.
Lafayette The Leopards fell behind early and could not recover in an 89-58 loss at Vanderbilt on Wednesday...The Commodores have been ranked in the top 25 for the majority of the season...Seth Hinrichs led the Leopards with 16 points in his third-straight double-digit scoring game, while Ryan Willen added 13...Hinrichs was named the Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week for the fourth time on Tuesday...It marks the most honors in one season for a Lafayette freshman since Brian Ehlers had four in 1996-97...Hinrichs is the top scorer among freshmen at 9.5 per contest, placing him 19th in the Patriot League...The Leopards return to action on Wednesday when they host Monmouth...It is the seventh and final game against a Northeast Conference opponent for Lafayette this season...The Leopards are 3-3 in their first six against the NEC...Lafayette will continue a busy schedule heading into Patriot League play with trips to Columbia on Friday and NJIT Monday, and a home matchup with Penn on Jan. 4...The Leopards beat NJIT but lost to both Columbia and Penn last season.
Lehigh Lehigh put on an impressive showing on national television Thursday, leading No. 19/20 Michigan State by three points at the half before falling 90-81 in a game broadcast on ESPNU...Michigan State used a 27-10 second-half run to overcome the deficit, though Lehigh stayed close and was within six points with a minute to go before the Spartans put the game away...Holden Greiner led the Mountain Hawks with a career-high 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting while playing in his home state...C.J. McCollum scored 19 and Mackey McKnight and Gabe Knutson each finished with 14...Lehigh's 81 points were the most against the Spartans this season, and the Mountain Hawks have scored 70 or more in all 13 games in 2011-12...All four of Lehigh's losses have come by single digits, while eight of the nine wins were by double figures...The Mountain Hawks have three games remaining before Patriot League play, heading to St. Peter's on Wednesday and Bryant Saturday before hosting Maryland-Eastern Shore on Jan. 3...Lehigh beat both St. Peter's and Bryant by double digits at home last season.
Navy Another strong game from sophomore J.J. Avila was not enough as Navy fell 58-42 at Presbyterian on Thursday for its fifth straight defeat... The Mids went 11 minutes without a field goal as Presbyterian pulled away with a 15-1 run and went on to the win..Avila finished with half of Navy's points as he scored 21 and also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds...He is in the top five in the Patriot League in scoring, rebounds, steals and field goal percentage while also ranking eighth in assists...Navy plays its final two non-League games at home this week, taking on Mercer on Friday and Norfolk State on New Year's Sunday...Navy lost on the road at Mercer last year...The Mids are beginning a three-game homestand that also includes the Patriot League opener against Lafayette on Jan. 7.