By Brian Delaney, Ithaca Journal
Matchup: Bucknell (5-6) at Cornell (2-7), 7 p.m., Monday
Radio: WVBR (93.5). Online: Follow Brian Delaney's in-game twitter updates (@BDelaneyIJ) at www.ithacajournal.com/twitter.
Last time out: Bucknell shot 55 percent from the floor and got 21 points, six rebounds and five assists from big man Mike Muscala to handle La Salle, 89-77, on Dec. 17. It was Bucknell's first program win over the Explorers.
Probable starters: Mike Muscala (6-11, 232, Soph., F/C), Bryan Cohen (6-5, 202, Jr., G), Joe Willman (6-7, 207, Soph., F), Bryson Johnson (6-1, 186, Soph., G), Darryl Shazier (6-0, 178, Sr., G).
Key reserves: G.W. Boon (6-4, 216, Sr., G), Cameron Ayers (6-5, 200, Fr., G), Colin Klebon (6-8, 225, Soph., F).
Statistically: Bucknell has won three straight games. ... Shazier has 60 assists to 14 turnovers in 11 starts. ... Muscala leads the Bison in scoring (14.0 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg). Boon also averages double figures (10.9 ppg). ... Johnson is Bucknell's top three-point shooter at .414 (24 for 58). ... Bucknell is 1-1 against Ivy League opponents this year, losing 66-55 to Princeton on a neutral court, and beating Columbia 73-68 at home on Dec. 1. ... Cornell leads the all-time series, 23-22, and has won two straight.
Do you remember? With a lineup that looks awfully similar to the one Cornell will see Monday night, the Bison took last year's Big Red team to overtime before falling, 104-98. Jeff Foote had 28 points and 18 rebounds for Cornell. Shazier had 22 points and Muscala 20 and four blocks for the Bison.
Outlook: It would be difficult to understate the importance of this game for Cornell. Bucknell is a quality team coming off a strong road win Friday night, whereas the Big Red is recuperating from a devastating one-point loss Saturday at Binghamton. Five of Cornell's last six games -- all losses -- have been decided by five points or fewer. This would be a good spot for Cornell to get that rather large monkey off its back, play a complete game for the first time this season and beat a respected opponent that -- right now -- looks like the Patriot League's best team.
If Cornell doesn't put forth a more complete effort, the losing streak will continue. Bucknell is too good to be beaten by an inconsistent effort.