Bucknell faces a defending national champion for the first time in team history on Wednesday night when it travels to Chapel Hill to face No. 9 North Carolina.
• This game is a home-site contest in the Phil Knight Invitational (PK80).
• Bucknell has dropped its first two games of the season, 79-78 at Monmouth and 101-73 at Arkansas last weekend. The Bison shot 40.0% as a team from 3-point range in those two games, but struggled at the foul line (.486).
• The Bison have a challenging non-conference schedule, starting with an opening-week gauntlet that takes them on the road to Monmouth, Arkansas, North Carolina and Maryland in the season’s first eight days.
• Bucknell has two North Carolina natives returning home. Sophomore Ben Robertson is from High Point and attended High Point Christian. Freshman John Meeks (Burlington) led the Burlington School to an undefeated season and a Class 1-A state title last season.
• Senior Zach Thomas had a career performance on Friday night at Monmouth. He set personal bests with 31 points and 16 rebounds, including 24 points and 11 board in the second half. Thomas became the first Bucknell player to record at least 30 points and 15 rebounds in a game since Boakai Lalugba had 30 and 15 against Cornell on Nov. 26, 2001. Thomas followed that game with 24 points and 10 rebounds at Arkansas on Sunday. He was named Patriot League Player of the Week on Monday.
• The Bison were the unanimous favorite in the Patriot League Preseason Poll of head coaches and sports information directors. Nana Foulland was voted PL Preseason Player of the Year and was joined on the Preseason All-Patriot League Team by Thomas.
• Bucknell has all five starters back from last year’s team that swept the Patriot League regular-season and tournament titles and went to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in program history. The Bison took fourth-seeded West Virginia right to the wire before falling 86-80.
• North Carolina opened its season with an 86-69 win over Northern Iowa on Friday. Luke Maye scored 26 points to lead the Tar Heels. Head coach Roy Williams will be going for his 400th win at UNC on Wednesday.
How to Get the Game
• The Bucknell-North Carolina game will be televised by the ACC Network and streamed on ESPN3/WatchESPN. Dave Weekley and Mark Adams will have the call.
• The game can be heard in the Susquehanna Valley on the radio on Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3 FM), with Doug Birdsong calling the action. The pregame show begins 30 minutes before tip-off.
• Live statistics can be accessed via GoHeels.com.
• The audio feed is available online free of charge on personal computers via BucknellBison.com and Eagle107.com. To listen on iPhone and Android devices, download the official Bucknell Athletics app.
• Follow @Bucknell_MBB for in-game updates on Twitter.
Last Time Out
• Bucknell ran into an Arkansas team firing on all cylinders offensively, and the Razorbacks prevailed 101-73 on Sunday night in Fayetteville. After a one-point loss at Monmouth on Friday, the Bison had a tough test against a veteran Southeastern Conference team that starts four seniors and was coming off a 39-point rout of Samford in its opener.
• Zach Thomas recorded his second straight double-double to start the season with 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bison. Nana Foulland added 17 points, and Stephen Brown had 13 points and nine assists.
• Arkansas shot 53.5% on the night, including 55.6% in a 56-point first half. The Bison shot 53.8% in the opening half 44.8% for the game.
• Arkansas led 56-34 at the break. Both teams came out hot in the second half. Bucknell started 7-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-4 from long range, but the Bison could not get enough stops to make a run. Arkansas hit nine of its first 12 to start the half, including a number of tough shots in the lane.