Syracuse scouting report: Bucknell

The Orange, fresh of its first true road win of the season, will head home to play Patriot League champion Bucknell.

PATRIOT LEAGUE ELITE: Bucknell ran away with the Patriot League last year, going 13-1 in conference play before losing to eventual champion Connecticut in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Although they are just 7-4 out of the gates this year, keep in mind that the Bison were sub .500 coming out of non-conference play last year. Most of that team comes back this season, and as a result, Bucknell was unanimously picked as the preseason favorite by the league’s head coaches.

SCOUTING THE BISON: Coach Dave Paulsen returns four starters from last year’s team, many of them among the Patriot League’s best. For starters, there is 6-11 junior Mike Muscala, last year’s Patriot Player of the Year. Joining him is two-time PL defensive player of the year Bryan Cohen and the league’s top 3-point shooter, Bryson Johnson.

IN BUCKNELL’S LAST GAME: Muscala had 22 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks for the Bison as they topped Richmond, 79-65. Bucknell trailed at halftime 31-27 before shooting 70 percent from the field in the second half to rally for the win.

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: You may remember Syracuse playing Bucknell in a Midwest Regional game in the 1989 NCAA tournament in Dallas. No. 2 seed Syracuse, behind 27 points from Billy Owens and 21 from Stevie Thompson, cruised by 15th-seeded Bucknell 104-81. SU is 8-1 all time against the Bison, losing the last game, 74-69, at the Carrier Dome on Nov. 22, 2005.

GAME INFORMATION: Tue, Dec 20, 7 p.m. Time Warner Cable Sports/SNY. Syracuse, NY.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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