By Rob Duffy
Since many readers of The Bucknellian likely did not closely follow Bison sports over winter break, here’s a recap of some of the most notable things that happened, and an explanation of why you should be excited:
5. Dec. 22 – The Bison men’s basketball team, playing strong as they have whenever they’ve faced a big opponent this season, nearly upset Boston College. Although the Orange and Blue eventually lost 84-80, the game was a thriller. The Bison, who led by as much as 17 in the first half, tied a school record with 15 three-pointers, also setting a record for the most threes Boston College has ever given up. The game showed that the Bison clearly have what it takes to play competitively against major conference opponents.
4. Jan. 2 – Mike Muscala ’13 took a long inbounds pass and hit a turnaround, fadeaway jumper from 16 feet as time expired to give the Bison a come-from-behind win at Richmond. It was the team’s biggest non-conference victory of the season, coming against a powerful Atlantic-10 Spiders squad that was at the time the only team to have defeated current-No. 11 Purdue.
3. Jan. 12 – The Bison dominated American, who had been picked in the Patriot League preseason poll to finish first in the league, 75-60 on American’s own court. Muscala had 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots for the Bison, who never led by less than 10 after the halfway point of the first half. The win showed that the Bison could successfully carry the hot streak they were riding into the league games that really mattered.
2. Dec. 30 – The men’s basketball team was not the only Bison squad to accomplish big things over the break. Kevin LeValley ’11 became the first Bison wrestler ever to win an individual title at the Midlands Championships, a prestigious event attended by this year by 44 teams. LeValley, who won his five matches by a combined score of 56-9, was at the time ranked third in the nation in the 149 lb weight class. He has since fallen to No. 6 after losing to current-No. 4 Mario Mason of Rutgers on Jan. 14, but his 22-1 record is still remarkable.
1. Prompted largely by the success of the basketball team, the University saw a huge surge in school spirit from its students and fans. The basketball team’s run was certainly worth getting excited about. In a 14-game stretch lasting nearly two months, the Bison only lost once, and even that loss was in a well-played match against a powerful opponent. Their nine-game winning streak was the fifth-longest in the nation, and their 6-0 Patriot League start put them solidly in front. As a result, the Sojka Psychos became more enthusiastic as they have in years, packing the stands and cheering loudly, even in games such as the team’s blowout of Colgate. Hopes were high that this team could return the Bison basketball program to glory. School spirit has made even the most insignificant games a true joy to experience.
The Bison’s win streak was snapped last weekend against Army, but as Bison fans, we must do everything we can to keep it alive, even if more setbacks come in the future. We must continue to be enthusiastic about our teams, no matter what might happen down the road. We should not limit it to just basketball or even basketball and wrestling, but should carry it into all Bison sports. As fans, whether the Bison win the Patriot League is largely out of our control, but the quality of our fan experience is up to us. If we can preserve the winning, hopeful, enthusiastic attitude we possess now, the season for all Bison sports will be worth remembering, no matter what the final scores or standings may be.