The Daily Item
Lehigh and Bucknell enter the second half of the Patriot League men’s basketball schedule with a two-game lead on the pack, but both teams will have to go on the road if they want to keep the separation this weekend.
Bucknell heads to Army and Lehigh goes to Holy Cross, with both tips scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday.
The Mountain Hawks and Bison share the Patriot League lead at 6-1 in the standings, followed by Lafayette at 4-3. Army, American and Colgate are each tied for fourth place at 3-4.
The top four teams at the end of the regular season will host games in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals on March 6.
The Bison are looking to go at least 7-1 for the third straight year, and are hoping to tie Stony Brook for the national lead with a 10th road win this season. Bucknell’s Bryson Johnson is two 3-pointers from the Patriot League record, while Mike Muscala is fourth in the nation with 11.5 rebounds per game.
Muscala and Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum were each named finalists for the Senior CLASS Award on Wednesday.
Four Nittany Lions Invited to NFL Scouting Combine
STATE COLLEGE — Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill, linebackers Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti, and center Matt Stankiewitch all have been invited to participate in the National Football League’s 2013 Scouting Combine.
Hill, Hodges and Mauti were major contributors for Penn State coach Bill O’Brien’s defense that ranked second in the Big Ten and No. 16 nationally in scoring defense at 19.1 ppg, holding six teams to 17 or fewer points.
Hill earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and was fourth on the team with 64 tackles, second with 4.5 sacks (minus-32) and tied for third with 8.5 tackles for loss this season.
Hodges was No. 4 in the Big Ten with 109 tackles. A semifinalist for the 2012 Butkus Award and a two-time All-Big Ten honoree, he led the team with seven pass breakups and was tied for second on the squad with two interceptions.
Mauti was selected a first-team All-American, giving Penn State 11 first-team All-Americans since 2005. The Nittany Lions’ 97th first-team All-American, Mauti was a semifinalist for the 2012 Butkus Award and was the Big Ten Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year.
A first-team All-Big Ten selection, Stankiewitch helped Penn State gain more than 500 yards of total offense three times in conference play, topped by 546 yards against Indiana, its highest total against a Big Ten foe in four years
Bloomsburg’s men’s track and field team ranked 10th in Atlantic Region
BLOOMSBURG — After a strong performance at the Division II Challenge last weekend, the Bloomsburg University men’s track and field team earned a spot in the Atlantic regional rankings for the first time this season. The team is ranked 10th and has a number of athletes with top-10 times in their events.
Milton grad Matt Stuck posted an NCAA qualifying mark in the pole vault and has the fourth highest vault of the season in the PSAC at 4.65 meters. Southern Columbia grad Matt Moore time of 8.48 in the 60-meter hurdles is the third best time in the conference and a PSAC qualifier.
Devin Barr has the second best time in the PSAC in the 200-meter dash at 21.84 seconds. That mark is both a PSAC and NCAA provisional qualifying time. Barr also has the sixth best time in the 60-meter dash at 7.03.
In the 400-meter, Jessie Mustapha’s time of 49.06 is the fourth best in the PSAC and is an NCAA provisional qualifying time.
The 4x400 relay team of Barr, Cal Rosenstein, Zach Tulio and John Barnett holds the fifth fastest time in the PSAC on the year at 3:21.09.
The Huskies will travel to Lewisburg to take part in the Bucknell Winter Classic Saturday at 10 a.m.
Huskies a unanimous pick to lead PSAC Central in preseason softball poll
LOCK HAVEN — Kutztown, Bloomsburg and Gannon earned the top slot in their respective divisions in the 2013 PSAC Softball Coaches Preseason Poll.
Bloomsburg was unanimously picked to lead the Central Division in 2013 with all five first-place nods. At the plate, the Huskies are led by junior Mandi Bear, who recorded the best batting average of the 2013 returners (.355), while leading the team in doubles with 16.
In the pitching circle, Bloomsburg will look to veteran Cait Paine, who wrapped-up 2012 with a 24-10 record, a 1.23 ERA, and a PSAC-leading 304 strikeouts. The lefty ranked seventh in all of D-II in strikeouts, as she recorded 14 games with 10 or more strikeouts.
The Golden Bears, who took the Eastern Division title in 2012, earned four first-place votes and enter 2013 coming off a record-breaking season with 52 wins, a 33-game winning streak and the program’s first bid into the NCAA Championship.
In the Western Division, Gannon clinched the top spot with two first place votes after finishing 2012 with a 30-17 overall record, just behind California (Pa.) (33-10).