The 6-11 sophomore scores 33 points to dominate Eagles

Adding two guards from SEC schools to pair with conference scoring leader Vlad Moldoveau, made American University the preseason favorite in the Patriot League. But Wednesday night at Bender Arena, a big reason to revise the prediction came in the form of 6-11 Bucknell sophomore Mike Muscala.

Scoring a career-high 33 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and blocking five shots, Muscala dominated American in a 75-60 victory before 2,520, the Eagles' worst home defeat to a Patriot League opponent since 2002.

Up next
American at Colgate
When » Saturday, 2 p.m.
Where » Cotterell Court, Hamilton, N.Y.
Colgate (1-14) should be easy pickings for AU. Before a 75-74 double-overtime loss in Hamilton last February, AU had beaten Colgate 11 straight ... Emmett Davis, who is in his 13th season at Colgate, has more wins (159) than any coach in program history. The Raiders' last winning season in the league came in 2002-03 ... Junior F Yaw Gyawu (12.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and 6-10 Nick Pascale (5.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg) give Colgate presence in the frontcourt.

"That's what you would call an old-fashioned butt-kicking," said AU coach Jeff Jones. "To get beat that way, it's embarrassing. I'm hard pressed to remember a time, here in Bender, being handled that way."

In winning for the ninth time in 10 games, Bucknell (11-7, 2-0) rolled to a 15-point lead in the first 11 minutes, then remained in control in the second half when Muscala scored 24 of his points.

Using either hand, and shooting from anywhere inside 20 feet, Muscala flashed his versatility in scoring 10 points in a 2-minute, 43-second span of the second half. Later he drained three-pointers on consecutive possessions as Bucknell took it's biggest lead, 75-53.

"Muscala's really good," said Jones. "He's a really good player who had a really good game. If I'm surprised at anything, it's that we didn't respond better, that we didn't figure out a way after the first 10 minutes."

It was the second straight year that Bucknell won decisively at Bender. Muscala (14 points, 2 rebounds) was one of four Bison in double figures in a 73-59 win last February.

"I thought he was good last year. He came in here and kicked our butts last year," said AU senior Nick Hendra (10 points). "But it was like double this year."

After scoring a career-high 39 in a win over defending champion Lehigh on Saturday, AU senior Vlad Moldoveanu (7 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists), hit just 3 of 12 shots and scored his season low. It was similar to last year at Bender when Bucknell's 6-5 Bryan Cohen, the 2010 Patriot League defensive player of the year, held the 6-9 Moldoveanu to two points.

"Bryan Cohen is a great defender," said Jones. "I don't want to take anything away from him. But the Bucknell team were the ones that limited Vlad."

After falling behind early, AU (11-6, 1-1) never got the deficit to single digits. The Eagles shot 39.7 percent from the floor and hit just 5 of 24 (20.8 percent) from 3-point range. Guards Charles Hinkle (12 points) and Troy Brewer (12 points) hit two 3-pointers each to lead American.

"This is conference play," said Hendra. "Collectively, we didn't rise to the occasion. It's as simple as that."

Sophomore forward Joe Willman (12 points, 8 rebounds) scored eight of Bucknell's first 12 points, then senior swingman G.W. Boon came off the bench and hit a pair of three-pointers as the Bison surged to a 24-8 lead.

Sophomore Bryson Johnson (12 points) and Darryl Shazier (7 assists) also contributed to an active Bucknell offense that hit 50 percent from the floor.

"They beat us in every facet of the game," said Jones. "They beat us to the loose balls. It was simple. We were out-played, out-coached. Tonight the better team won. I told the guys inside, when you have a night like this, you find out about yourself, about your character, and the response."

Notes » AU junior Stephen Lumpkins (7 points, 5 rebounds) also had an off night ... The defeat was the worst at home to a Patriot League foe since a 68-41 loss to Holy Cross in Feb. 2002.