When: Saturday February 27 @ 4 PM
Where: West Point, NY at Christl Arena
Bucknell recently lost to Lehigh on the road, 81-59. It was only the Bisons second loss in their last nine Patriot League games. Army fell at home to the Lafayette Leopards, 80-54, as they were unable to keep pace with the Leopards three-point marksmanship. The loss relegates the Black Knights to either seventh or eighth place in the Patriot League tournament. Bucknell beat Army, 55-48, at Sojka Pavilion in the first meeting January 30. Army had a chance to win but the Black Knights went without a field goal for 10:13 in the second half as the Bison pulled away.
The Match ups:
After struggling early in the year in winning only six of their first twenty games, the Bucknell Bison have experienced a tremendous turnaround the last month. Even with a loss in their last game.
Bucknell has won seven of their last nine Patriot League contests. The Bison have the deepest eight player rotation in the league and feature remarkable scoring balance. The top eight players average from a low of 5.7 points per game up to center Mike Muscala who averages 10.1 points per game in their three-guard offense. The leader of the team is junior point guard Darryl Shazier. Shazier keeps everyone involved as seen by his 2.4 assist to turnover ratio. Bison center Mike Muscala is one of the best freshman in the Patriot League. The 6-10 Muscala has stepped up his game averaging 14.1 points during the Bison's nine game run. His size presented match up problems for Army in the first game as he scored 13 points and pulled down 7 rebounds. Bucknell is definitely a threat to make a run in the Patriot League tournament with their balance scoring, deep rotation and solid defense.
After playing one of their best Patriot League games of the year in shutting down Navy the Black Knights struggled in trying to keep pace in a losing effort against the red hot Lafayette Leopards. The Leopards have been unstoppable the last two games from three point range converting an amazing 54% (30-56) from behind the arc. The bigger disappointment was sloppy ball handling and lazy fouls. After doing a nice job his first two starts, Mitch Mc Donald struggled setting up the offense as he turned the ball over seven times. Cleveland Richard struggled shooting against Lafayette but did manage to extend his double-digit scoring streak to eight games. Tyrell Thompson had his finest game of the season scoring 18 points. Thompson has taken most of Julian Simmons minutes in the rotation.
Despite the difference in success during Patriot League play Army matches up rather well against Bucknell. In the first contest the physical Black Knight's defense limited the Bison to one three-point basket in eighteen attempts beyond the arc. It was a very winnable game that Army lost due to its second half scoring droughts that have plagued the team during conference play. Motivation should work in Army's favor as this years class of seven seniors play their final game at Christl Arena.
Note: Zach Spiker landed a highly rated addition to the Black Knights recruiting class when 6-9 center Andrew Davis committed to West Point. Davis, from IMG Academy in Edmund, Oklahoma, was rated the top player in Oklahoma by ESPN RISE. This was an impressive addition for Coach Spiker since Army has struggled in recruiting talented big men ever since joining the Patriot League.
Preview: Bucknell at Army
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