Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Men’s Basketball Hosts Lehigh Monday Night, Game Televised on CBS SN – Bucknell University Athletics

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Bison men’s basketball squad will have no time to stew over Saturday’s home loss to Boston University, as a suddenly surging Lehigh team comes to Sojka Pavilion on Monday night. The Patriot League game of the week will be televised on CBS Sports Network, with local radio coverage on The Valley 100.9 FM. It is Youth Basketball Night at Sojka, and there will also be in-game competitions featuring Bucknell varsity sports teams, club sports teams, and Greek organizations. 

Bucknell shot better than 61 percent from the field in last week’s win over Navy, but the Bison cooled off on Saturday against Boston University, and the Terriers flipped the script with a big second half of their own. Boston University shot 66.7 percent in a 52-point second half and won 77-62. It was Bucknell’s first non-overtime loss since the Colgate game on Jan. 13. Jack Forrest led the Bison with 18 points, and he continues to lead the league in scoring at 16.6 ppg. 

When Bucknell defeated Lehigh 86-80 in Bethlehem on Jan. 10, the Mountain Hawks were without all-star guard Keith Higgins Jr. and had just gotten veteran forward Dominic Parolin back from injury. On Saturday against arch-rival Lafayette, Parolin hit five 3-pointers and scored a career-high 33 points, and Higgins returned from a 10-game absence to score 15 points in 24 minutes, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in double overtime, as the Mountain Hawks prevailed 94-90. The second-place Leopards jumped out to a 33-12 lead, but Lehigh chipped away at the deficit and picked up its best win of the year. 

Bucknell will be vying for all-time win No. 1,499, doing so against its most-played rival. The Bison and Mountain Hawks first met 122 years ago Wednesday, with Bucknell winning 38-16 behind six goals from Hall-of-Fame center John Anderson. Since then, these two teams have met 185 times, with the Bison leading the all-time series 112-73.

GAME DIGEST

What:
 Lehigh (8-15, 5-7 PL) at Bucknell (10-15, 7-5 PL) 

Where: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pa. | BUY TICKETS

When: Monday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m. 

Watch: CBS Sports Network

Local Radio: The Valley 100.9 FM

Internet Audio: BucknellBison.com

Live Stats: BucknellBison.com

COMPLETE GAME NOTES

With a Win over Lehigh, Bucknell Would …  

  • … win its fifth game in the last seven and improve to 11-15 overall and 8-5 in the Patriot League.
  • … sweep the season series from the Mountain Hawks for the first time since taking all four games during the COVID-modified 2021 season. 
  • … move into sole possession of third place in the Patriot League, a half-game ahead of American, which plays at Navy on Wednesday.
  • … improve to 153-46 against Patriot League opponents at Sojka Pavilion.
  • … pick up win No. 1,499 in team history. 

Headlines

  • Two longtime in-state rivals meet for the 186th time when Lehigh visits Bucknell on Monday night in the Patriot League game of the week on CBS Sports Network. 
  • Bucknell has played good basketball of late but will be looking to bounce back from a 77-62 loss to Boston University on Saturday. It was just a one-point game at the half, but the Bison could not slow down the Terriers in the second half, as the visitors scored 52 points on 66.7% shooting. 
  • Prior to the loss to the Terriers, the Bison had won five of their last seven games, with the two losses coming in overtime on the road at Lafayette and American. Bucknell on Monday will be looking to avoid its first two-game losing streak in Patriot League play. 
  • Lehigh has had a tough season, but the Mountain Hawks will arrive in Lewisburg flying high after coming back from 21 points down to beat arch-rival Lafayette 94-90 in double overtime on Saturday night. Lehigh’s low-post combo of Dominic Parolin (33) and Burke Chebuhar (28) combined for 61 points. The Mountain Hawks also got a big boost from the return of All-Patriot League guard Keith Higgins Jr., who scored 15 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer, in his first appearance since suffering an injury against Loyola on Jan. 6.
  • Bucknell and American are tied for third place in the Patriot League with 7-5 records, although the Eagles hold the tiebreaker by virtue of a season sweep of the Bison. Both teams lost on Saturday, and their three-game cushion on the rest of the league was reduced to two as Lehigh, Boston University, and Holy Cross all won to get to 5-7.
  • The Bison had been 7-0 against the six teams below them in the standings until falling to Boston University on Saturday. Bucknell is 0-4 against the top three squads, with games still to play against Colgate (away) and Lafayette (home). 
  • Bucknell has been solid on the road in league play, posting a 4-2 record with both losses coming in overtime. The Bison are normally very difficult to beat at home, but this season they are just 4-7 at Sojka Pavilion and 3-3 in the league. In Patriot League play, Bucknell has actually shot the basketball much better on the road.

Bucknell Offense in Patriot League Games
         FG%    3FG%     FT%    PPG

HOME    .440    .373    .670    67.7

AWAY    .463    .401    .747    73.8

  • Jack Forrest continues to lead the league in scoring at 16.8 ppg, as he vies to become Bucknell’s first Patriot League scoring champion since Zach Thomas in 2017-18. Forrest, who has scored 18 points in each of the last three games, has carried a heavy minutes load this season. He ranks 11th nationally in minutes per game (36.6), and last week in Annapolis he became the first Bison to play all 40 minutes in a game since Bryan Cohen against Delaware in 2009. He played a mere 39:17 against Boston University on Saturday. Teammate Elvin Edmonds IV ranks second in the Patriot League in workload at 33.5 mpg. 

NCAA Leaders, Minutes Played per Game
1. Isaac McBride, Oral Roberts      38:26

2. Kareem Thompson, Oral Roberts    38:20

3. Tyson Acuff, Eastern Michigan    38:05

4. Kino Lilly Jr., Brown            37:51

5. Tyler Thomas, Hofstra            37:41

6. Demarcus Sharp, Austin Peay      37:40

7. Ethan Taylor, Air Force          37:31

8. Sion James, Tulane               37:28

9. Trey Alexander, Creighton        36:43

10. Hysier Miller, Temple           36:38

11. Jack Forrest, Bucknell          36:37

 

  • Noah Williamson has had a couple of monster games in recent weeks, highlighted by his 28-point outburst against Loyola on Jan. 31. Williamson scored 18 of his career-high 28 points in the first half and finished 10-for-15 from the field, 3-for-5 from the 3-point arc, and 5-for-6 from the foul line. Williamson logged 23 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocked shots against Lafayette earlier in the campaign. His 16 rebounds were the most by a Bucknell player since Nate Sestina grabbed 17 against Army in 2019. He also became just the third Bison in the last 15 years to collect at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in a game, joining former Patriot League Players of the Year Mike Muscala (4x) and Zach Thomas. The 16 rebounds are tied for the most by any PL player this year, joining Navy’s Draper, who grabbed 16 against George Washington on Dec. 5.
  • Elvin Edmonds IV has been on an assists flurry in recent weeks. He dished out a career-high 12 dimes last Wednesday at Navy, his third double-digit assist performance in the last seven games. The first of those was a 10-assist game at Boston University, and he also handed out 10 at Army. Edmonds is averaging 5.9 apg in Patriot League play, the second-best figure in the league behind Colgate’s Braeden Smith (6.6). The 12 assists were the most by a Bison since Jimmy Sotos had 12 in a win over UNLV at the 2018 Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu. 
  • Lehigh is led by the high-scoring guard combo of Higgins (15.1 ppg) and Tyler Whitney-Sidney (14.3), although the Mountain Hawks have been much-improved up front as Parolin (11.7) returned from injury and Chebuhar (6.2) has emerged as another offensive threat. Bube Momah (8.5) has started 21 games this season and tallied 19 points in the first meeting against Bucknell. 
  • Lehigh finished 16-14 overall and 11-7 in the Patriot League a year ago. The Mountain Hawks were the No. 3 seed in the Patriot League Tournament but were upset by rival Lafayette in the quarterfinal round, 71-64.   
  • Bucknell is in the midst of its 129th season of basketball, dating back to its first game on Feb. 14, 1896, a 16-14 victory over Lock Haven. 
  • Bucknell is looking to rebound from a 12-20 season a year ago. The Bison went 5-13 in Patriot League play and fell 64-59 at American in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament. Bucknell won eight Patriot League regular-season titles in a nine-year span from 2011-19, and the Bison went to the NCAA Tournament in 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2018 during that stretch. 

How to Get the Game

  • The Bucknell-Lehigh game will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Jason Knapp and Mo Cassara will have the call from courtside at Sojka Pavilion. 
  • “Voice of the Bison” Doug Birdsong and former Bison assistant coach Terry Conrad will have the local radio call on The Valley 100.9 FM in the Susquehanna Valley.  
  • The audio feed is also available online free of charge via BucknellBison.com. 
  • Live statistics can be accessed via BucknellBison.com.
  • Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter. 

Notable Numbers

  • Bucknell had been the Patriot League’s best free-throw shooting team all season and ranked as high as 25th nationally at 76.6% going into the Lafayette game on Jan. 20. But the Bison have struggled at the stripe all the sudden, hitting 72 of 115 (.626) over the last six games. Missed free throws in the final seconds of regulation proved costly in the overtime losses at Lafayette and American.  
  • Bucknell’s season FT% is down to 72.6%, which now ranks second to Lehigh the Patriot League and 125th nationally. 
  • Bucknell went 15-for-15 from the foul line against Radford on Dec. 16 and 13-for-13 from the stripe at Boston University. The Bison are one of only three Division I teams to have two perfect free-throw shooting games with at least 10 attempts, joining Wisconsin (14-14 vs. Michigan State; 12-12 vs. Providence) and Stetson (12-12 vs. Johnson; 11-11 vs. Charlotte). 
  • Jack Forrest and Josh Bascoe against Lehigh became the first Bison tandem to both score at least 23 points in a game since Nate Sestina (25) and Kimbal Mackenzie (23) did it against the Mountain Hawks in a 97-75 win in the 2019 Patriot League Tournament semifinals.  
  • Bascoe in the win over Penn State had 11 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, and three steals. The only other Bison besides Bascoe in the last 20 years to have a game with at least 10 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, and three steals was Steven Kaspar, who went 12-10-7-3 against Navy on Jan. 15, 2014.  
  • Elvin Edmonds’ line of 12 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds at Boston University was also the first such game since Kaspar’s 2014 performance at Navy. 

Last Time Out

  • Kyrone Alexander led four Boston University players in double figures with 19 points to help the visiting Terriers surge past Bucknell 77-62 on Saturday afternoon at Sojka Pavilion. Jack Forrest scored 18 points and Elvin Edmonds IV had 17 and five assists for the Bison.
  • Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, with Boston University taking a slim 25-24 lead to the locker room. But the Terriers shot 66.7% (18-27) from the field and went 7-for-13 from the 3-point arc while outscoring Bucknell 52-38 in the second stanza.
  • Boston University recorded 22 assists on its 28 made field goals, using strong interior passing along with a number of transition buckets off the press break to pull away in the second half. Bucknell led 31-30 after a driving layup by Edmonds, but the Bison would manage only one more field goal over the next 6:26 while the Terriers went on a 16-5 run. A 3-pointer from Miles Brewster gave the visitors a 46-36 lead.
  • Both teams shot under 40% in the first half before heating up in the second. Boston University finished at 52.8% for the game (9-21 3FG), while the Bison shot 44.2% (9-26 3FG) one game after topping 60% in a road win at Navy. 

Bucknell vs. Lehigh Series Notes

  • Bucknell has played more games (185) and won more games (112) against Lehigh than any other school. The Bison have a 112-73 lead in a series that originated in 1902.
  • Since the start of Patriot League play in 1990-91, Bucknell holds a 52-27 advantage, including a 29-10 mark at home.
  • Lehigh is responsible for snapping Bucknell’s 35-game home winning streak against Patriot League foes. The Bison had not lost to a conference opponent at Sojka Pavilion in nearly five years, until the Mountain Hawks won 56-54 in Lewisburg on Jan. 30, 2008.
  • Lehigh also won the first game ever played in Sojka Pavilion, a 60-56 decision on Jan. 15, 2003. Including that game, Bucknell is 15-9 against the Mountain Hawks in Sojka.
  • Bucknell is 7-3 against Lehigh in Patriot League Tournament action, including an 81-65 win in the 2017 championship game.
  • The Bison went 4-0 against Lehigh during the COVID-modified 2020-21 season, as the two teams played four times in the same campaign for the first time. The Mountain Hawks bounced bounced back by winning the next four meetings before Bucknell won 86-80 in Bethlehem last month.
  • In that Jan. 10 clash at Stabler Arena, Josh Bascoe recorded 18 of his career-high 23 points in the first half, Jack Forrest finished with 24, and Noah Williamson had 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Bison prevailed on the road. Lehigh did cut a 19-point deficit down to three with 4:24 to go, but Williamson scored six big points down the stretch to hold off the comeback bid. Jalin Sinclair paced the Mountain Hawks with 20 points, followed by Bube Momah with 19 and Burke Chebuhar and Tyler Whitney-Sidney with 10 each.

Who’s Got Next?

  • After playing twice in three days, the Bison will get a little extra rest before traveling to first-place Colgate on Saturday. The Bison will then have to make a Wednesday-night trek to Holy Cross before returning home to host Army on Feb. 25. 

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