Basketball Preview: Army at Bucknell

The Army Black Knights (12-8, 2-4 in Patriot League) once again take to the road this Saturday to meet the Bucknell Bison (8-14, 3-3 in Patriot League). The two teams come into this game going in opposite directions. Army has dropped three of its last four. The Black Knights lost its second consecutive road game, 77-68, to Lafayette, which leads the Patriot League.

When: Saturday January 30 @ 7PM Where: Lewisburg, PA. at Sojka Pavilion The Bucknell Bison used a close road loss to league leading Lafayette as a springboard to consecutive wins over Colgate and Lehigh.

The Match ups:

The Bucknell Bison have struggled under new coach Dave Paulsen (15-37) the last two years. The Bison have remarkable scoring balance by the top seven in their rotation. The top seven players average from a low of 6.1 points per game to leading scorer point guard Darryl Shazier who averages 10.2 points per game in their three guard offense. Bison center Mike Muscala is one of the best freshmen in the Patriot League. The 6-10 Muscala has stepped up his game averaging 16 points in the last two Bucknell wins on 60% shooting from the field and 100% from the line. He will present matchup problems for Army. The Bison can be susceptible to defensive pressure as they average 12.2 turnovers per game. In their last two wins Bucknell have done a better job protecting the ball as they've only averaged 8 turnovers.

Army has endured long offensive droughts that cost them the chance to win their last two games. The offense lacks a true point guard to set up others. Far too often Army, which isn't a good shooting team, settles for long three pointers. There is often little ball movement, not much interior passing and not enough moving without ball. The Black Knight guards are very quick but do not drive to the basket as often as they should to draw fouls and get to the line. In Wednesday night's loss Army actually had 7 more made field goals than Lafayette. The difference was Lafayette worked the ball low and drew fouls. Bucknell went t to the line 18 times while Army went to the line only 9 times and scored just five points. Against the 6-10 Muscala Army's Chris Walker has to continue to avoid foul trouble like he has recently. Army has to end the sloppy ball handling if they hope to get back on the winning track.

Against Lafayette the same pattern of unforced errors, lazy off target passes and mental errors plagued the Black Knights. Army had ten turnovers in the first half alone on Wednesday. Army doesn't shoot well enough to overcome all those empty trips down the floor. Army's defensive quickness matches up well against Bucknell. Unlike the last two opponents they have faced, the Bison lack consistent three point shooters that can hit consistently from long range.

Notes: Army has turned things around in recent years against the Bison. The Black Knights have won the last four games straight up against Bucknell sweeping back-to-back season series. Before the four game winning streak Army had won only 5 of the previous 42 games against Bucknell.

Army and Bucknell shoot an identical 33.7% from beyond the three-point line as teams.

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