By: Chris Lynch
After an offensive slump, BU returns home to host the Bucknell Bison. Bucknell is tied with Navy for the best record in the Patriot League at 6-1, and holds first place in the conference after beating Navy earlier this season.
Bucknell brings one of the strongest offenses in the league. They’re averaging 80.1 points a game, second most in the conference. They also have the second highest scoring margin of any Patriot League team at +4.6 points a game. They round out an impressive team offense with the highest field goal percentage and three point field goal percentage in the league, at .477 and .386 respectively.
The Bison are led by senior guard Chris Hass, the second leading scorer in the conference and 51st in the nation at 18.7 points a game. He set a Bucknell record with 31 points in the first half of a game against Army, finishing with 40 points in that game for the Patriot League’s best scoring performance so far this season. He’s also given BU trouble in the past. He scorched the BU defense for 28 points on January 24th, and scored 20 more on February 22nd, both performances came in Bucknell wins.
Hass is a contender for Player of the Year, and he is joined by two other double digit scorers. Nana Foulland is averaging 12.1 points a game, and Zach Thomas is averaging 10.1 points a game.
Bucknell might be able to shoot and score, but they do have defensive struggles. They’re allowing 75.4 points a game, third worst in the conference. They’ve allowed 7 teams to score 80 or more points against them, twice have allowed 90 points, and once have allowed 100 points on the season. Opponents can score on them.
BU is the third highest scoring offense, and has multiple players who can get double digit points against Bucknell. Eric Fanning and John Papale will have to stretch the Bison defense with good shooting games. Kyle Foreman and Fanning will have to be ready to run the floor.
BU has struggled to keep up with strong offensive teams this season, so they will have to make it an ugly game. With many of their best players out for the season with injury, BU cannot count too much on quickness and speed to win the game, as they will tire out and have a difficult time staying up with Bucknell’s offensive power. They will have to get offensive rebounds, turn the game into a contest of wills, and make it an ugly affair. Whoever draws the matchup with Hass, likely John Papale or Eric Fanning, will have to keep him contained and minimize his influence on the game.
BU’s defense will be tested in the game, and BU cannot depend on their offense to out-shoot the best shooting team in the conference tomorrow. They can win, but they will need a strong defense to do it.