The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

December 7, 2012

Bucknell off to strong start

(Continued)

So far, so good.

"Our team defense has been great and that was something we were really concerned about," Paulsen said. "That's been our key since the first day, team defense. We've played a lot of different styles and we've done a pretty darn good job."

Through nine games, the Bison have held opponents to 57.7 points and just 36 percent shooting from the field. Only two teams -- Purdue and Niagara have scored more than 60 points and Bucknell won both of those games. In the first nine games a year ago, with Cohen anchoring the defense, the Bison allowed 61.7 points per game and 39 percent shooting.

"We don't have a one individual lock down defender, but we've emphasized team defense," said Paulsen. "We have a veteran group and they quickly understood how big it is for us to be better, and continue to get better, on defense."

It also hasn't hurt that Muscala, despite playing with a nagging foot injury, has been as good if not better than advertised.

The senior All-Patriot center is having another banner season, averaging career-highs of 18.8 points and 11.4 rebounds. He is second in the nation in double-doubles with six and has two monster games in the last two outings. He had 29 points and a career-high 19 rebounds in a come-from-behind win at Columbia on Saturday and then had 27 points in a win over Kent State on Tuesday night.

Muscala, who has a shot to break the all-time BU scoring mark, has been somewhat limited in practice with the leg injury and did not practice at all the week leading up to the Penn State game, where he still managed 10 points and 12 rebounds.

"Mike has really played at an extremely high level because he practices at a high level," said Paulsen.

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