Dec. 18, 2010
WHAT: Bucknell (5-6) at Cornell (2-7)
WHERE: Newman Arena, Ithaca, N.Y.
WHEN: Monday, Dec. 20, 7 p.m. ET
RADIO: Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH FM) and SportsJuice.com
LIVE STATS: CornellBigRed.com
Complete Game Notes in PDF Format
With a Win over Cornell, Bucknell Would ...
• ... win its fourth straight game and improve to 6-6 overall this season.
• ... improve to 4-0 in the month of December.
• ... capture its second straight road victory after an 0-4 road start.
• ... improve to 2-1 against the Ivy League this season.
• ... snap a two-game losing streak to the Big Red.
About This Week
• Bucknell looks to continue its recent strong play with road games Monday at Cornell and Wednesday at Boston College. The Bison, who have won three games in a row to pull within a game of .500 on the season, will get a six-day holiday break after the Boston College game.
• The Bison are coming off a terrific performance Friday at La Salle, winning 89-77 against an Explorers team that had beaten Providence and suffered close losses to Villanova, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Baylor. Sophomore center Mike Muscala had 21 points and six rebounds in the win over La Salle, while junior guard Bryan Cohen had one of the best games of his career with 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting.
• Muscala continues to lead the team in scoring (14.0), rebounding (5.8) and blocked shots (1.6). Senior forward G.W. Boon is also in double figures at 10.9 points per game, and seven Bison are scoring at least 5.3 points per game. Senior point guard Darryl Shazier is leading the Patriot League in assists (5.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (4.29), and he ranks No. 5 nationally in the latter category.
• Bill Courtney’s Cornell Big Red fell to 2-7 after Saturday’s 69-68 loss at Binghamton. Cornell is rebuilding after losing four starters and eight lettermen from last year’s Sweet 16 team. Guard Chris Wroblewski leads the team in scoring at 13.6 ppg, while Drew Ferry averages 11.0 ppg.
• The Big Red have lost six games in a row, but mostly against a difficult early season schedule. Before the Binghamton game, Cornell’s losses came against Seton Hall, St. Bonaventure, Lehigh, Boston University, Syracuse and Minnesota. Cornell’s wins have come against Albany and Delaware.
• Prior to Sunday’s game against Bryant, Boston College had won five in a row to improve to 8-2 on the season. The five straight wins have come against Maryland, Providence, UMass, Indiana and California, and the Eagles have also beaten Texas A&M, Holy Cross and St. Francis (N.Y.). BC’s only losses are at the hands of Yale and Wisconsin.
• Under the direction of former Cornell coach Steve Donahue, Boston College has four players averaging in double figures. Reggie Jackson leads the way at 19.2 ppg, followed by Joe Trapani (12.8), Corey Raji (11.1) and Biko Paris (10.8).
How to Get the Games
• Both the Cornell and Boston College games can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM), with Doug Birdsong and Ed Sigl on the call. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off.
• The audio feed is also available online free of charge via BucknellBison.com and SportsJuice.com.
• Live Webcasts (subscriptions required) will be carried on Cornell’s and Boston College’s athletics Web sites at cornellbigred.com and bceagles.com.
• Live statistics of the Cornell game can be found at cornellbigred.com, while live updates of the Boston College game are available on GameTracker via BucknellBison.com.
Bucknell vs. Cornell Series Notes
• The “Battle of the ‘Nells” has been tightly contested through the years, with Cornell holding a slim 23-22 series lead. The series dates all the way back to Cornell’s second year as a varsity program in 1899-1900 (Bucknell also defeated a group of Cornell students two years earlier in 1898).
• Bucknell had defeated Cornell five straight times until the Big Red prevailed in each of the last two seasons.
• The two teams have met every season since 1987-88, and during that current uninterrupted stretch Bucknell is 15-8 against the Big Red, including 10-2 at home.
• Last year’s game at Sojka Pavilion was a classic, with Cornell prevailing 104-98 in overtime. Five Bison scored in double figures, led by Darryl Shazier with 22 and Mike Muscala with 20 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Shazier’s buzzer-beater at the end of regulation sent the game to overtime, but the veteran Big Red outscored Bucknell 21-14 in extra time. Seven-foot center Jeff Foote had a monster night for Cornell with 28 points and 18 rebounds, while Ryan Wittman added 25 points.
• In the last meeting at Newman Arena two seasons ago, Bryan Cohen (20 points) and G.W. Boon (15 points) tried to shoot Bucknell back in the game after falling behind by 22 points, but in the end the hole was just too big and Cornell held on to win 75-64. The Bison pulled within six in the final minute, but the Ivy League champs made enough free throws down the stretch to pull it out. Louis Dale registered 20 points and 10 rebounds and Wittman scored 14 of his 17 in the second half for the Big Red.
Bucknell vs. The Ivy League
• Bucknell is 39-44 (.470) all-time against the Ivy League. The Bison have played 45 games against Cornell, but only 38 combined against the other seven Ivy teams. In addition to its 22-23 record against Cornell, Bucknell is 4-2 against Yale, 3-1 vs. Brown, 3-4 vs. Penn, 3-10 vs. Princeton, 1-1 vs. Dartmouth, 2-2 vs. Columbia and 1-1 vs. Harvard.
• The Bison went 0-3 against the Ivy League last season, falling to Cornell, Columbia and Dartmouth, and they had lost five straight against the Ivies dating back to 2007-08 before beating Columbia 73-68 on Dec. 1.
Bucknell vs. Boston College Series Notes
• Bucknell and Boston College have met only once previously, that an 86-64 win on Dec. 28, 1951 at the Boston Invitational at the Boston Arena.
• Hall-of-Famer Don Strassner led Bucknell with 18 points in that game, while Carmen DeLoca added 16.
Bucknell vs. The Atlantic Coast Conference
• Against the 12 teams that currently make up the Atlantic Coast Conference, Bucknell owns an all-time record of 1-24.
• The lone victory came at Virginia (99-81) on Jan. 27, 1961.
• The Bison are 1-2 against Virginia, 0-7 vs. Maryland, 0-5 vs. Wake Forest, 0-3 vs. Duke, 0-2 vs. Clemson, 0-2 vs. Miami, 0-1 vs. Virginia Tech, 0-1 vs. Florida State and 0-1 vs. Boston College.
• This will be the first time Bucknell has faced an ACC team since losing 81-52 at then-No. 15 Wake Forest on Dec. 6, 2008.
More from the La Salle Game
• Bucknell turned in one of its best offensive perfomances under head coach Dave Paulsen on Friday night at Tom Gola Arena, as the Bison topped La Salle 89-77.
• Seven Bison scored at least eight points in the game, led by Mike Muscala with 21, Bryan Cohen with 19, Cameron Ayers with 13 and Darryl Shazier with 10.
• Cohen turned in one of the best games of his career, scoring his season-high 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting. He made seven of his last eight attempts after an 0-for-3 start and scored 13 points in the second half. Cohen also had his usual outstanding defensive night, holding La Salle fifth-year senior Ruben Guillandeaux (15.1 ppg) to four field goals, two of which came in the final minute with the game well in hand.
• Muscala went 8-for-14 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the line, and he added six rebounds, a career-high five assists, two blocks and two steals.
• Ayers, like Cohen a native of Philadelphia, made 6 of 9 shots and finished with 13 points and four rebounds. He scored nine points in the second half, including buckets on consecutive possessions to stretch a 12-point lead up to 16 with 3:00 left.
• Shazier had a perfect shooting night, going 3-for-3 from the floor, 2-for-2 from the 3-point arc and 2-for-2 from the foul line. He also had six assists without a turnover in 37 minutes of action, and he hit his 100th career 3-pointer.
• Joe Willman was a force in the first half when he scored nine points on 4-for-6 shooting, but he picked up his fourth foul with 12:23 to play and sat the rest of the game.
• In his first game as team co-captain, G.W. Boon came off the bench and scored nine points, all in the second half, and added five rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.
• Bucknell shot 60% from the floor in the second half (21-35) and 54.8% for the game. The Bison went 9-for-18 from the 3-point arc, with Shazier and Cohen a combined 4-for-4.
• The Bison finished with a stellar 23-to-10 assist-to-turnover ratio and committed only two second-half turnovers.
• Bucknell had been 0-11 all-time on La Salle’s home floor.
• Only Oklahoma State (92 in double overtime) has scored more points against La Salle this season, and Bucknell’s 89 points were the most in a road game since a 91-85 overtime win at Colgate on Feb. 6, 2008. It was the team’s best output in a regulation-time game at any location under Dave Paulsen, and it was the best in a non-overtime game on the road since an 89-69 win at Lafayette on Feb. 4, 2005. It was also the team’s most points in a non-conference road game since an 89-78 victory at Cornell on Jan. 9, 1995, which was Pat Flannery’s third victory as Bucknell’s head coach.
• Coming into the game, La Salle’s four losses were against teams with a combined record of 32-3, and three of the losses were against teams (Baylor, Villanova, Missouri) currently ranked in the top 13 nationally. In their most recent outing against No. 12 Villanova, the Explorers led by eight late the game before falling 84-81.
Facing an Old Friend
• On Monday Bucknell will go up against one of its all-time greats in Bill Courtney ‘92, who is in his first season as head coach at Cornell.
• At Bucknell, Courtney was a two-year co-captain, and his 1,499 career points rank No. 8 on the school’s all-time list. His 619 points in 1990-91 is a Bucknell single-season record, and his 14.6 career scoring average ranks 10th all-time. He is also still the school record-holder for career free throws made (400). Courtney was inducted into the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.
• This will be the second time this season Bucknell has faced a former team captain on the opposing sideline. In the season opener, the Bison fell to Villanova and coach Jay Wright, a 1983 Bucknell graduate.
Homecomings for Mike Cotton and Tom Joyce
• On Wednesday, Bucknell assistant coach Mike Cotton and manager of basketball operations Thomas Joyce will return to their alma mater for the first time.
• Cotton graduated from Boston College in 2000 with a degree in biopsychology. He was a starter for the Eagles as a junior and senior after transferring from Oklahoma. He averaged 10.0 points and 4.6 rebounds as a junior and had a 24-point game against Pittsburgh. He averaged 6.4 points and 4.3 boards during his senior season.
• Joyce is also a 2000 Boston College graduate. He did not play basketball there, but he did play at Norwich before transferring to BC.
Defense the Key
Defense has been the X factor for Bucknell so far in 2010-11.
• In Bucknell’s five wins, it is allowing just 55.8 points per game, while opponents are shooting 36.8% from the field and 29.2% from the 3-point arc.
• In the six losses, opponents are scoring 72.7 points per game and shooting 48.1% from the field, 41.8% from the arc.
Some other notable numbers from Bucknell’s first 11 games:
• Bucknell has a 169-to-125 assist-to-turnover ratio in 11 games, the best mark in the Patriot League and the 25th-best in Division I basketball. The Bison have had a negative ratio only once all season (17:18 at Marquette).
• The Bison as a team are shooting 38.3% from long range, up from last season’s 32.9% mark.
• While the team’s 3-point percentage is up, it a lower percentage of Bucknell’s total shots have come from beyond the 3-point arc. So far 30.9% of the team’s attempts have come from long range, down from 34.7% last year and 35.0% in 2008-09.
• Despite a 5-6 record, Bucknell has outscored its opponents on the season, 734-715.
• Bucknell has made 15 more field goals than its opponents this season. In three of their six losses, the Bison have made either more or the same number of FGs as their opponent.
• Bucknell has recorded an assist on 63.5% of its field goals this season. By comparison, last year the team was credited with an assist on only 51.6% of its baskets.
• Over its last five games, Bucknell is shooting 80.2% (93-116) from the free-throw line.
Shazier Lends Helping Hand
• This season senior point guard Darryl Shazier leads the league in assists (5.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (4.29). The latter figure ranks No. 5 nationally among all players averaging at least 3.0 assists per game.
• In his last nine games, Shazier has 53 assists and only eight turnovers.
• Shazier had a stellar 118-to-50 assist-to-turnover ratio last season. Among the Patriot League leaders he ranked third in assists and second in assist-to-turnover ratio.
• As a sophomore in 2008-09, Shazier became the first Bucknell player to win a Patriot League assists title. Shazier averaged 4.6 assists per game that season and had six or more assists 13 times. He also led the Patriot League in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.06).
• Shazier currently ranks sixth on Bucknell’s career assists chart.