Frank Marcinek has long stressed the importance of winning at home, but the Crusaders haven't had a bigger home sweep of a Landmark doubleheader than they did Friday and Saturday in a long time.
The sweep vaulted SU into the mix for the Landmark's top seed.
Spenser Spencer scored a season-high 33 points, and J.T. Wilson added 20 more Friday night when SU handed Scranton its first conference loss. Equally as important, the same night Moravian pulled off a rare road win in conference, beating Juniata.
Then on Saturday afternoon, Susquehanna eked out a one-point win over Moravian; Scranton lost again, this time at Juniata. That means that entering the second half of the season, which starts Friday night throughout the Landmark, four teams (Susquehanna, Scranton, Juniata and Catholic) are tied atop league standings at 5-2.
The Crusaders will have a tough go of it considering they play their next four league games on the road, including a trip to Merchant Marine and Drew this weekend. The Crusaders were 4-0 at home in the first half and 1-2 on the road. After their four road games over the next two weekends, the Crusaders play their final three at home.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: Two odd occurrences happened during Friday's Scranton-Susquehanna Landmark Conference men's game in Selinsgrove.
First off, with the Crusaders down 3-0 early, Spencer hit a rare four-point play, getting fouled while draining a long 3-pointer and then converting the free throw. Oddly enough, the same thing happened in the second half when Spencer's first bucket of the second half was a long 3 that he was again fouled on and turned into a four-point play.
Another strange double happened when Scranton twice got called for a charge, once in each half, yet its basket counted both times. In each instance, the driving Scranton player released the shot well before colliding with a Crusader defender under the hoop, so officials ruled both shots good and called the offensive foul.
BRACKETOLOGY: Joe Lunardi, ESPN's famous "Bracketologist" is releasing his updated brackets weekly on ESPN's web site. This week he has the Bucknell men's basketball team projected to be the Patriot League champion and enter the NCAA tournament as a 15th seed.
Lunardi, who predicts the NCAA field almost perfectly every season, has the Bison playing against No. 2 seed Missouri in Omaha as part of the West Region.
PRO POTENTIAL: Collegeinsider.com's Angela Lento had more than complimentary things to write about Bucknell junior center Mike Muscala in a piece posted last week.
Lento, the co-founder of collegeinsider.com, wrote in last week's Mid-Major Notebook that Muscala is now a "legitimate NBA prospect. He's an excellent passer who can put the ball on the floor and shoot it from beyond the arc and he's also a good athlete who has shown great timing with his ability to block shots. He will play in the NBA."
Muscala, the 2011 Patriot League Player of the Year, has 10 double-doubles this season and is averaging 15.6 points and 9.2 rebounds a game, both leading the Bison. He's all over the Patriot League leader lists as well. The junior from Roseville, Minn., is fifth in scoring, first in rebounding, sixth in field goal percentage, fifth in free throw percentage, second in blocks, second in offensive rebounding and first in defensive rebounding.
MAKING THEIR MARK: Five Valley graduates picked up victories in the Susquehanna men's and women's swim teams' sweep of Juniata and Drew on Saturday.
On the women's side, Selinsgrove alum Michelle Delgado swam a leg on the Crusaders' winning 200 medley relay team and then swam to individual wins in the 100 and 200 backstrokes. Danville graduate Lexi Cole earned first in the 200 free.
For the men, Danville alum Taylor Cole was part of the winning 200 medley relay team and also won the 200 backstroke individually. Tyler Long of Selinsgrove led a 1-2 SU finish in the 1,000 free, while Milton's Ian Woodcock won the 200 fly.
BACK ON TRACK: Former Line Mountain PIAA wrestling Jon Fausey rebounded from two recent tough losses to sweep a pair of matches for the Virginia wrestling team at 184 pounds.
Fausey, a redshirt sophomore for the Cavaliers, won by injury default on Friday against Duke's Diego Bencomo, and then held off North Carolina's Thomas Ferguson on Saturday. He has now won three in a row since suffering back-to-back defeats.
Fausey is ranked 12th nationally for Virginia and enters Sunday's dual against Maryland at 16-3 on the season. His 32 team dual points is most for the Cavaliers this year thanks a pin, three technical falls and five major decisions.