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Monday, January 02, 2006

Bucknell Men's Basketball Battles Top-Ranked Duke Monday on ESPN

Bucknell Men's Basketball Battles Top-Ranked Duke Monday on ESPN

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For the first time in the 111-year history of Bucknell basketball, the Bison will face the No. 1-ranked team in the nation on Monday when they visit Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The ESPN-televised affair will feature the first meeting between the Bison and Blue Devils in 22 years, and it will be Bucknell's first game against any Atlantic Coast Conference team since 2000-01. For only the second time this season, Bucknell will be looking to bounce back from a loss. At last week's Cable Car Classic at Santa Clara, the Bison defeated Boston University 63-57 in the first round, but fell to the host Broncos 77-68 in the championship game. Despite the loss -- Bucknell's only other setback came at home to then fourth-ranked Villanova on Dec. 6 -- the Orange & Blue are still off to their best 11-game start since 1983-84. While beating Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium is always one of the toughest challenges in college basketball, the Bison would like to add the Blue Devils to their recent list of major-conference victories. Exactly one year ago Bucknell defeated No. 7 Pittsburgh, and since then it has knocked off Kansas, Syracuse, DePaul and Saint Joseph's. Duke comes in with a perfect 12-0 mark after Saturday's 102-69 rout of UNC Greensboro. Reigning national player of the year J.J. Redick scored 35 points in that victory, and he leads the team in scoring at 25.6 ppg. Redick is averaging just under four 3-pointers made per game and shoots 47.4% from beyond the arc. While Redick is the outside threat, 6'9" senior Shelden Williams is the inside force. Williams nearly averages a double-double at 18.5 ppg and 9.5 rpg. Sean Dockery (8.3 ppg), Josh McRoberts (8.2 ppg) and Greg Paulus (5.8 ppg, 5.2 apg).

with a victory over duke, bucknell would ...
• ... defeat the No. 1 ranked team for the first time in school history.
• ... beat the Blue Devils for the first time ever.
• ... beat a nationally ranked team for the fourth time in the last calendar year.
• ... defeat a team from the ACC for the first time since 1961 and only the second time ever.
• ... go to 10-2 for the first time since 1983-84.
• ... reach 10 wins on the earliest date in school history.
• ... win in the state of North Carolina for the first time since 1958-59.

last time out: bison split at cable car classic
For the fourth straight year, Bucknell reached the championship game of an in-season tournament, but also for the fourth straight year, the Bison lost to the host team in the final. Last week at the 39th Cable Car Classic, Bucknell defeated Boston University 63-57 in the first round, then fell to host Santa Clara 77-68 in the championship. Against Boston University, Chris McNaughton scored 20 points and Charles Lee added 15, including six straight after the Terriers had reduced a 10-point deficit down to just two with two minutes to play. In the loss to Santa Clara, McNaughton and Kevin Bettencourt scored 17 each and Lee had 15 for the second straight night. The Broncos became one of the few teams to solve Bucknell's vaunted defense, shooting 55.3% from the field while becoming only the sixth team since the start of 2004-05 to score 70 points against the Bison.

inside the boston u. boxscore
Bucknell shot over 50% from the field (53.5%) for the sixth time this season ... Bucknell shot 61.9% in the second half ... Donald Brown was strong off the bench with nine points and six rebounds ... Kevin Bettencourt, Charles Lee and Abe Badmus all collected five assists, and the Bison had a solid 17-to-11 assist-to-turnover ratio.

inside the santa clara boxscore
The hot-shooting Broncos hit for 55.3% from the field, 50.0% (7-14) from 3-point range and 72.0% (18-25) from the free-throw line ... Bucknell shot 43.4% from the floor and made just 8 of 24 3-point tries ... the Bison did make 14 of 17 from the line ... Abe Badmus and Charles Lee led the team with five assists each ... Chris McNaughton was limited to 23 minutes due to foul trouble but still finished with 17 points ... Kevin Bettencourt hit a season-high five 3-pointers ... Darren Mastropaolo led the team with six rebounds.

all-tourney honors
Bucknell's Chris McNaughton and Kevin Bettencourt earned all-tournament honors at the Cable Car Classic. McNaughton totaled 37 points -- second-most in the field -- on 15 of 20 shooting, while Bettencourt hit for a combined 26 points and made seven 3-pointers.

uncharted territory
When Bucknell tips off against Duke it will be the first time the Bison have ever faced the nation's No. 1 team. Previously, the highest-ranked team Bucknell had played was No. 3 Michigan State in the 2003-04 season opener (a 64-52 Spartans win).

happy anniversary
They had just beaten Niagara and Saint Joseph's, two teams who would go on to play in the postseason, but the victory that really put the Bison on the national map last season was its 69-66 victory at No. 7 Pittsburgh on Jan. 2, 2005 -- exactly one year ago. Not only were the Panthers the highest-ranked team Bucknell has ever beaten, but they had been 10-0 on the season and had won 48 straight non-conference home games. Pitt entered the contest 43-1 all-time at the Petersen Events Center.

2005 -- sorry to see you go
In the 2005 calendar year, Bucknell posted a 24-8 record, including three wins over nationally ranked foes (Pitt, Kansas, Syracuse).

bucknell vs. the acc
Against the 12 teams that currently compise the Atlantic Coast Conference, Bucknell has an all-time record of 1-19. The lone victory came at Virginia (99-81) on Jan. 27, 1961. Bucknell's most recent game against an ACC foe was a 99-49 loss to the Cavaliers on Dec. 28, 2000.

familiar foes
While Bucknell and Duke have not met since 1984, both teams' star big men faced one another this summer at the World University Games in Izmir, Turkey. Bucknell's Chris McNaughton played for Team Germany, while Duke's Shelden Williams won a gold medal with Team USA. Bucknell assistant coach Bryan Goodman, whose mother and brother live in Izmir, assisted head coach Jay Wright in a logistics capacity. The U.S. and Germany met in pool play, and American squad prevailed 72-62. In that game Williams finished with 20 points and nine rebounds in a starting role, while McNaughton came off the bench for the Germans and tallied eight points and eight rebounds.

Junior center Chris McNaughton is currently on pace to break Bucknell single-season and career records for field-goal percentage. His .692 mark this season would easily break Patrick King's 15-year-old school mark of .670. King also holds the career record at .638, which is exactly where McNaughton sits entering the Duke game. Interestingly, King and McNaughton are both natives of Germany.

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