Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 12.31.13

PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG Cameron Ayers and Bucknell open defense of their Patriot League title on Thursday.
Cameron Ayers and Bucknell open defense of their Patriot League title on Thursday.

Dec. 31, 2013

Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 12.31.13 Get Acrobat Reader

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The New Year starts with a new season as the 2014 Patriot League schedule begins on Thursday night for all 10 teams. The League slate features an 18-game schedule for the first time with the additions of Boston University and Loyola Maryland.

Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*Patriot League play begins on Thursday with all 10 teams in action for League openers.
*Boston University and Loyola Maryland are each at home for their inaugural Patriot League games.
*Defending champion Bucknell opens its quest for a title when it hosts American.
*Both teams are trying to win their Patriot League opener for the fourth year in a row.
*Lehigh heads to Colgate in a matchup of teams which finished with winning non-League records.
*Army is at Lafayette as two of the top three teams in the preseason poll square off.
*All five games will be on Patriot League Network, with additional TV coverage for Army/Lafayette and Lehigh/Colgate.
*Patriot League teams completed their non-League schedules Monday with a cumulative record of 53-62.
*The squads finished with a 44-32 mark against the other Mid-Major conferences.
*The 10 teams were separated by just two games during non-League play.
*Every team will head to Patriot League play with at least four victories for the season.

Patriot League Notebook
Patriot League Play Begins on Thursday
The New Year starts with a new season as the 2014 Patriot League schedule begins on Thursday night for all 10 teams. 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 Thursday by welcoming Holy Cross and Navy, respectively. The other Patriot League openers feature defending champion Bucknell hosting American, Lehigh going to Colgate and Army at Lafayette on Thursday. Each of the five games will be shown on Patriot League Network, with additionall television coverage for Army/Lafayette (LSN) and Lehigh/Colgate (Time Warner Sports).

15 Patriot League Contests to Be Shown On CBS Sports Network.....
It won't take long for Patriot League play to hit national television, as the first of 15 games on CBS Sports Network in 2014 pits Boston University at Lehigh on Sunday at 1 p.m. It is the first of seven League games in the month of January on CBSSN, followed by five more regular-season games in February-March. 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.

...And All of the Rest on Patriot League Network
Any game that is not shown on CBS Sports Network will be available with free online web streaming through Patriot League Network. In its first year, PLN has already showcased all men and women's basketball non-League home games in addition to action for all of the fall sports. PLN also has highlights throughout the year and features on teams and individuals and is available nationally at and to a wide audience through the Campus Insiders platform.

Who Will Open with a Win?
Five Patriot League teams look to continue success in League openers on Thursday. American and Bucknell have each won their opener for the past three seasons heading into their matchup in Lewisburg. Lafayette goes for a third-straight League opening win, while Lehigh aims for a second in a row and Holy Cross goes for its third in the last four seasons. On the other side, Colgate and Navy have not opened with a win since 2010 while Army last did so in 2011. Boston University and Loyola Maryland each go for a victory in their inaugural Patriot League games.

Patriot League Teams Finish the Non-League Slate
There were peaks and valleys throughout the non-League schedule for all 10 Patriot League teams, but in the end the squads had very similar profiles. There were only two games separating the 10 teams in overall record, with Colgate (6-5), Boston University (7-6) and Lehigh (7-6) all coming in over .500 and no team finishing worse than 4-7. League squads were 53-62 overall which included a 44-32 record against teams from conferences that are a part of the College Insider Mid-Major top 25 rankings. Seven Patriot League schools have rolled off winning streaks of three or more games this season, topped by a five-game run for Lehigh before losing at Bryant on Monday. League squads made the most of limited opportunites at home by putting together a 26-15 record on their own courts. Bucknell won at Penn State on Nov. 13 and Boston University won at Maryland on Dec. 21 to give League squads seven victories over BCS opponents in the past three years.

Navy, Lehigh Remain Unbeaten at Home
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 5-0 home record for the second time in three years. Both teams will return home for games on Sunday afternoon, with the Mountain Hawks going for their first 6-0 home start since posting an 11-0 opening in 2002-03 and the Mids trying to extend their best season-opening home win streak since starting 9-0 in 2008-09.

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 with a 64.8% mark from the field. Boston University's Maurice Watson (5-foot-10) is high in a more convential category for a point guard as he stands 11th in the nation with 6.5 assists per game. Lehigh's Mackey McKnight (6-foot-0) is in the top 25 in the nation in assists and part of the Patriot League's 1,000-point and 400-assist clubs, and just entered the career top 10 on Monday by getting to 461 assists. BU's D.J. Irving (6-foot-0) was the Preseason Patriot League Player of the Year and won the Player of the Week honor last Monday, while Lafayette's Nick Lindner (5-foot-10) has claimed a pair of Rookie of the Week honors.

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, and now has 1,058 points to join Loyola's Dylon Cormier (1,467), Bucknell's Cameron Ayers (1,222), BU's D.J. Irving (1,196) and Lehigh's Mackey McKnight (1,076). 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 seventh in the country with 22.9 points per game. Lafayette junior Seth Hinrichs is not far behind at 20.2 points per game, good for 30th 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 eight of 11 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. In Monday's NCAA statistics, Colgate is in the top five in the nation in three-pointers per game (11.5) and three-point field-goal percentage (43.7%), while Bucknell (76.9%) ranks seventh in Division I in free throw percentage. The Bison were also 16th (42.0%) in three-point percentage, while Lafayette was in the top 50 in three-pointers per game, three-point percentage and free-throw percentage. Colgate's Austin Tillotson stood fourth in field-goal percentage and Lafayette's Bryce Scott comes in second in the nation from the foul line.

Patriot League Games
Holy Cross Crusaders (6-6, 0-0) at Boston University Terriers (7-6, 0-0)
Agganis Arena; Boston, Mass. - Thursday, 1 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Boston Unviersity tips off its Patriot League era by playing regional foe Holy Cross on Thursday evening at Agganis Arena.
*The teams are meeting for the first time since Jan. 2, 2009 when Holy Cross scored a 68-49 win at BU.
*The Crusaders hold a 51-12 lead in the all-time series, and have won six straight and seven of the last nine meetings.
*While BU tries to open League play with a win, Holy Cross aims for its third League-opening win in the last four years.

American Eagles (4-7, 0-0) at Bucknell Bison (5-6, 0-0)
Sojka Pavilion; Lewisburg, Pa. - Thursday, 7 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Bucknell begins defense of its Patriot League title when it hosts American on Thursday at Sojka Pavilion.
*The Bison have swept the season series with the Eagles for four straight years, with eight consecutive wins overall.
*Bucknell took a 56-55 win at American on Jan. 30 last year before a 66-47 triumph at home on Feb. 27.
*Bucknell has won three straight regular-season titles, and has opened League play with a win in each of the seasons.
*American also puts a three-year run of victories in League openers on the line.
*Bucknell has a 33-20 lead in the series, and is up 18-8 since American entered the Patriot League.

Lehigh Mountain Hawks (7-6, 0-0) at Colgate Raiders (6-5, 0-0)
Cotterell Court; Hamilton, N.Y. - Thursday, 7 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network | Time Warner Sports
*Two teams with winning non-League records face off when Lehigh visits Colgate on Thursday.
*The teams have played six times in the past two seasons, with Lehigh winning five of those contests.
*The Raiders broke through for a 64-60 victory at home when the teams faced off on Feb. 16 last year.
*Lehigh responded with a 71-64 win against Colgate in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals on March 6.
*The Mountain Hawks beat the Raiders in the quarterfinals for the second year in a row.
*Lehigh aims to open League play with a win for a second straight year, while Colgate hopes to for the first time since 2010.
*Colgate has a 48-34 lead in the all-time series, and 31-21 edge as Patriot League members.

Army Black Knights (4-7, 0-0) at Lafayette Leopards (4-7, 0-0)
Kirby Sports Center; Easton, Pa. - Thursday, 3 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network | Lafayette Sports Network (RCN-4, RCN-8, WBPH-60)
*Teams picked in the top three of the Patriot League preseason poll square off when Army visits Lafayette Thursday.
*The Leopards were picked second after making last year's title game, while the Black Knights were third in the preseason.
*Army had a dominant sweep of Lafayette last year, winning 77-54 at home on Jan. 16 and 85-68 at Lafayette on Feb. 13.
*Lafayette had won six straight before last season, sweeping the matchups from 2010-12.
*Lafayette goes for a third-straight League opening win, while Army has not started League action with a win since 2011.
*Lafayette has a 40-24 edge in the all-time series, and a 31-16 advantage as Patriot League members.

Navy Midshipmen (5-6, 0-0) at Loyola Maryland Greyhounds (5-6, 0-0)
Reitz Arena; Baltimore, Md. - Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Loyola Maryland plays its first Patriot League game when it welcomes Navy on Thursday evening.
*Loyola comes in with a four-game losing skid, while Navy has dropped three in a row.
*Navy has a 20-4 lead in the all-time series, and has won the last three meetings with the Greyhounds.
*The teams are facing off for the first time since 2006.
*Loyola tries to win its first League game while Navy goes for a League-opening win for the first time since 2010.

Team Notebooks
AMERICAN American snapped a three-game losing skid with a 71-58 win at Maryland Eastern Shore on Sunday...The Eagles never trailed, and opened up their advantage early with an 11-0 run to build a 15-4 lead less than six minutes into the game...American opened up a 39-27 halftime lead, and stayed ahead by at least seven points throughout the second half...Kyle Kager, Jesse Reed and John Schoof shared team honors with 15 points apiece, while Tony Wroblicky scored 12...The Eagles made 56% of their shots (24-of-43) while holding UMES to 31% (16-of-51)...American leads the Patriot League in scoring defense at 61.6 points allowed...The Eagles continue their five-game road trip by opening Patriot League play with games at Bucknell on Thursday and Holy Cross on Sunday...American was swept by Bucknell and split with Holy Cross last year.

ARMY Army enters Patriot League play with three wins in its last four games after knocking off Coast Guard 68-48 on Monday...Kyle Wilson led the way with 16 points, while Josh Herbeck and Larry Toomey each scored 12...Army scored the first 12 points of the game and never saw its lead fall below eight at any point...The Black Knights led 38-21 at the half and went ahead by as many as 24 points after intermission...Army rebounded from a 75-72 loss at Rutgers on Dec. 22 where Wilson scored a career-high 29 points but the Scarlet Knights hit a winning three-pointer in the final seconds...The Black Knights open Patriot League action with a trip to Lafayette on Thursday and home date against Loyola Maryland on Sunday...Army swept Lafayette last season.

BOSTON UNIVERSITY Despite holding a double-digit second-half lead, Boston University could not hold on and fell 73-67 at Saint Joseph's on Sunday...BU was up 41-30 early in the second half, and held a 54-47 lead with under nine minutes left before St. Joe's scored 12 straight points to take the lead for good...BU never got closer than five points in the final five minutes as the Hawks went on to the win...Maurice Watson Jr. led the Terriers with 21 points and seven assists, while Dom Morris added 11...Waston was named Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week for his performance...The Terriers split a tough two-game road trip after winning 83-77 at Maryland on Dec. 21...BU finished non-League play at 7-6, earning its first non-conference winning record since 2004-05...The Terriers open their Patriot League era at home against Holy Cross Thursday, then visit Lehigh on Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

BUCKNELL Fairfield took the lead late in the first half and held off the Bison after intermission for a 73-64 win at Bucknell on Saturday...It was a five-point game with 7:24 left until Fairfield scored eight straight points to pull away for good...Cameron Ayers led Bucknell with 19 points, while Steven Kaspar had 14 points and seven assists...The Bison have dropped two straight games entering Patriot League play, and finished their non-League slate with a 5-6 record...Bucknell begins defense of its Patriot League title at home by facing American on Thursday and Colgate on Sunday...The Bison have won eight consecutive games against both opponents.

COLGATE Colgate could not hold on to a lead late in regulation and fell 76-70 in double overtime at home against Columbia on Monday...The Raiders were up 62-55 with under two minutes to play before Columbia scored the last seven points of regulation to send the game to overtime...The teams were an even 4-4 in the first overtime with neither squad scoring the final three and a half minutes...Columbia scored the first five points of the second overtime and held at least a three-point edge the rest of the way...Austin Tillotson led the Raiders with 22 points, while Damon Sherman-Newsome scored 15 and Matt McMullen added 10...Colgate played without senior starters Murphy Burnatowski and Pat Moore, who were out with injuries...The Raiders complete their three-game homestand when they welcome Lehigh to open Patriot League play on Thursday...Colgate won last year's matchup at Cotterell Court, but fell at Lehigh in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals...Colgate continues League action at Bucknell on Sunday afternoon.

HOLY CROSS Michigan took an early lead and pulled away throughout for an 88-66 win over Holy Cross on Saturday...The Crusaders were as close as 31-26 late in the first half before Michigan closed with a 9-2 run for a 40-28 lead at the break...Michigan used an 18-4 run early in the second half to pull away for good...Dave Dudzinski led Holy Cross with 17 points, while Justin Burrell had 14 while making 4-of-5 three-pointers and had five assists with no turnovers...Malachi Alexander added eight points and seven rebounds to earn the Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week award for the third time this season...Holy Cross has lost three of its last four games and enters Patriot League play with an even 6-6 record...The Crusaders open their League slate at Boston University Thursday, and host American on Sunday.

LAFAYETTE Seton Hall ran away early for a 90-58 win over Lafayette on Friday...The Pirates led 47-15 at halftime before the teams played an even second half (43-43)...Dan Trist, Joey Ptasinski and Michael Hoffman led Lafayette with nine points apiece as the Leopards again played without leading scorer Seth Hinrichs...Lafayette has two of the top five scorers in the Patriot League in Hinrichs (20.2 ppg) and Bryce Scott (15.2)...Scott had a career-high 35 points in a 65-62 loss at St. Francis (Brooklyn) on Dec. 19, matching the top mark for a Patriot League player this season...The Leopards open League play at home against Army Thursday, then visit Navy Sunday afternoon...Lafayette was swept by Army and swept Navy last year.

LEHIGH Bryant's Alex Francis hit a layup with two seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 70-68 win in a back-and-forth game with Lehigh on Monday...Mackey McKnight missed a three-pointer to win at the buzzer as Lehigh's five-game win streak came to an end...Lehigh had tied the score at 68-68 on a bucket by Tim Kempton with 18 seconds to go in a game that featured nine ties and 16 lead changes..Kempton led the Mountain Hawks with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while McKnight (14), Jesse Chuku (13) and Austin Price (11) also scored in double figures...McKnight also dished out five assists, and moved into the Patriot League career top 10 with 461 all-time...Lehigh opens Patriot League action at Colgate on Saturday...The Mountain Hawks beat the Raiders in last year's Patriot League quarterfinals...Lehigh then hosts Boston University on Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS Sports Network as the Mountain Hawks try to go 6-0 at home for the first time since opening 11-0 in 2002-03.

LOYOLA MARYLAND Miami (Fla.) opened the game with a 14-1 lead and never looked back in a 71-48 win over Loyola Maryland on Monday...After the teams traded 10-0 runs, Miami closed the half with a 9-0 spurt for a 43-20 lead at the break...Loyola never got within 20 in the second half as the Hurricanes went on to the win...Eric Laster led Loyola with 13 points, while Dylon Cormier had 11 and Tyler Hubbard added 10...It was the first time this season that Cormier did not lead the team in scoring, and just the third where he fell below 20 points...The senior guard still leads the Patriot League and is seventh in the country with 22.9 points per game...Loyola Maryland begins its Patriot League era when it hosts Navy on Thursday, then pays a visit to Army on Sunday afternoon.

NAVY Navy led 21-20 at halftime, but could not keep it up in the second half and fell 63-48 at UMBC on Monday...The Retrievers took the lead for good when an 8-0 run made it 37-29 with 10:30 to play, and Navy never got closer than six the rest of the way...Navy lost at UMBC by 15 after winning the matchup by 15 at home in November...Brandon Venturini and Zach Fong led the Mids with 15 points apiece, with Fong hitting 5-of-9 three-pointers...Navy was 0-of-1 at the foul line in the game, marking just the fourth time in League history and first since 2008 where a team did not make a free throw...The Mids have lost three straight games despite holding a halftime lead in each contest....They open League play at Loyola Maryland on Thursday, and play their first Patriot League home game on Sunday against Lafayette...It will be Navy's first home game since Dec. 4 as the Mids put a 4-0 mark at Alumni Hall on the line and try to extend their best season-opening home win streak since starting 9-0 in 2008-09.