The Penn State men's basketball program will rekindle the oldest series in program history in the 2012-13 season as the Nittany Lions will take on Bucknell onNov. 23 at the Bryce Jordan Center. Tip time and television arrangements for the game will be announced at a later date.
The "Black Friday" meeting between the Nittany Lions and Bison will be the first of a three-game series between the programs and will mark the 100th meeting overall. The series will see two games played at the Bryce Jordan Center, in the 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons, and one at Sojka Pavilion in Lewisburg, Pa., in the 2013-14 season.
The Lions will be making their first trip to Lewisburg in more than 35 years. The first game in Penn State men's basketball history occurred in Lewisburg with the Bison taking a 24-4 victory in 1897. The Lions returned the favor later that year recording a 10-7 victory over Bucknell at The Armory on Penn State's campus for the first victory in the program's history. Bucknell was Penn State's only opponent that season.
"Bucknell has a terrific basketball tradition and an NCAA Tournament caliber team every year," Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers said. "We look forward to the challenge as we continue one of the longest series in our program's history. Bringing back this game will generate great fan support throughout the area and the state of Pennsylvania."
Bucknell served as the opponent in the first four games in the Penn State program's history, with the teams splitting the outcomes 2-2. The teams met twice a year between 1897 and 1900.
"Everyone in our program is tremendously excited to get Penn State back on the schedule," Bucknell head coach Dave Paulsen said. "I am very appreciative of Coach Chambers and his willingness to not only resume this storied series, but also to travel to Lewisburg in 2013-14. I think it will be beneficial for both teams from a scheduling standpoint, and it is certainly a win-win for Central Pennsylvania basketball fans, many of whom root for both teams."
Penn State owns a 75-24 lead in the series with Bucknell, which stands as the fourth most prolific opponent in program history behindonly Pittsburgh (144), West Virginia (119) and Syracuse (105). Penn State has won the last 11 meetings in the series, including a 63-60 overtime victory in the last meeting in 2006 at the Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State has not played at Bucknell since the 1976 season. The Bison claimed a 69-64 victory in that contest. Penn State leads the series 57-6 in State College, but the teams are knotted at 18-18 in games played in Lewisburg.
After finishing 25-10 in 2011-12, Bucknell will return four starters and 11 lettermen in 2012-13 led by rising senior center and two-time team MVP Mike Muscala. The 6-11 Muscala helped lead Bucknell to a second straight Patriot League regular-season championship followed by the program's first-ever appearance in the National Invitation Tournament last year. A member of the Lou Henson Mid-Major All-America Team and a first-team All-Patriot League selection, Muscala finished the season averaging 17.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. He logged 20 points and nine rebounds in the Bison's NIT first-round win at top-seeded Arizona before the Bison fell in the second round to Nevada.
First-team All-Big Ten guard Tim Frazier (Houston, Texas) will return for his senior season to lead a Nittany Lion team that returns four players that started at least 16 games last year and its top two scorers in Frazier, who finished second in the Big Ten at 18.8 ppg, andjunior guard Jermaine Marshall (Etters, Pa.), who posted 10.8 ppg. Bolstering that group will be Southern Mississippi transfer D.J. Newbill (Philadelphia, Pa.) who sat out last season after posting 9.2 ppg and 6.2 rpg as a freshman for the Golden Eagles in 2010-11. Penn State will return 70 percent of its scoring, 60 percent of its rebounding and 78 percent of its assists from a team that posted a 12-20 mark in Chambers' first season.
The Bucknell game is the fourth date announced on the Nittany Lions 2012-13 schedule. Penn State previously announced a season opening match-up with St. Francis (Pa.) on Friday, Nov. 9 at the Jordan Center, an ACC/Big Ten Challenge match-up vs. Boston College on Nov. 28 at the BJC and its participation in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Nov. 15-18.
From Penn State athletic communications: