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Morning Coffee: Bucknell Drops Penn State, Javon McCrea Has Big Night In Loss

Coffee might not be strong enough this morning, not after watching a marathon of basketball, and then following that up with a night of huge performances. So pass the Rockstar, and then the coffee, and let's catch up on the night's basketball action.


Anyone have a little extra Rockstar? I feel like this week has been a little draining. Perhaps it was the marathon. Perhaps it is just getting back into the swing of the season.

Either way, there is no time to be lying on the sideline and not watching basketball. But I know a lot of people are still getting ready for the season after that oblong ball season.

And so you need to grab your morning coffee and catch up a little bit.

What everyone will be talking about over their morning coffee:

Bucknell Takes Out Penn State

OK, so Penn State is not exactly the top of the Big Ten. But anytime a Patriot League squad can go into one of the big boy's places and walk out with a win, especially when that team lost its do-it-all player from last season, well, that is a major victory.

And maybe in the process, we have identified the next star for Bucknell. Last season Steven Kaspar came off the bench to score just 2.4 points per game, and finished with a -0.8 HOOPWAR score. He was basically replaceable by anyone else you could pull onto your bench.

But this season? He is worth just a little bit more.

Kaspar had a great night, including 25 points, four assists, two steals and a block, in the 90-80 win. He was just the highlight of the night as four starters for the Bison scored in double figure, including Cameron Ayers, who scored 19.

Penn State ran into foul trouble early and had to dig into its short bench, which added to its struggles and allowed Bucknell to pull ahead with a big 22-5 run.

Given that we -- well, I -- wrote off the Bison early given the loss of Mike Muscala, this win is big, no matter how poor Penn State may be at the end of the year. This showed that the show is going to go on at Sojka Pavilion. And maybe, just maybe, we had them ranked too low to begin this season.

Side of bacon:

Niagara Washes Out Big Performance from McCrea

NBC tabbed Niagara vs. Buffalo as its mid-major game of the night, and if you were looking for a singular performance to define the evening, I am not sure you could have done better.

Sure, there were games where the final score was higher, and the teams went to double overtime -- just wait, we are getting there -- but that didn't have this dominant show.

Buffalo's Javon McCrea had 31 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and two blocks, all while committing just two turnover and three fouls in 33 minutes. That is a performance that you don't see every night, and almost never see from a player on a major squad, no matter what the competition is.

This is a defining performane that puts everyone on notice about McCrea.

And even that wasn't enough for the Bulls.

Antoine Mason, he of the lineage of Anthony Mason, was unstoppable on the scoring front, with 25 points. Both Ramone Snowden and Rayvon Harris each added 15 points and eight rebounds in the win.

Bottom line, Niagara had the better team performance, while Buffalo relied on McCrea to do it all, and damn, if he didn't almost do it in the 92-81 loss.

Other bites:

  • As good as McCrea was for Buffalo, so was Dyami Starks for Bryant. Starks, who came on strong last year to shockingly lead Bryant to the forefront of the Northeast Conference, scored 35 points to help the Bulldogs to an 87-77 win over Dartmouth. There wasn't much beyond the scoring, but it is still a shame that efforts like that don't get more recognition nationally, especially when he shot 10-for-18 overall, and 5-for-8 from 3-point range. That is a show.
  • Forty minutes wasn't enough for Sacred Heart and Holy Cross; neither was overtime. It took all of 50 minutes before the high-scoring action came to a close with a 122-118 for the Crusaders. It took some real magic to get it to that point though. Holy Cross needed four points in 13 seconds in order to just get out of regulation without a loss. Then Sacred Heart had two free throws in the final seconds of the first OT to extend it. But Holy Cross hit its foul shots down the stretch for the victory. Cullen Hamilton led the Crusaders with 35 points and Dave Dudzinski (the player I felt might be the best in the Patriot League) had 26 points and 15 boards in the win.Evan Kelley had 32 points and eight rebounds for Sacre Heart and Steve Glowiak added 28 off the bench.
  • You have to hope this isn't going to be a pattern for Scott Eatherton and Northeastern. After he had a massive game against Boston University in a loss, he repeated that effort Wednesday against Stony Brook. And it was a loss again, 73-66. The transfer had 20 points and 13 rebounds, but was outdone by a slightly better shooting effort from the Seawolves overall. Still, this bodes well for the Huskies come CAA time. Eatherton is the third-man weapon they have been looking for.
  • USC Upstate couldn't continue its strong start to the season after the win over Virginia Tech. Winthrop beat the Spartan 82-74 on the back of Joab Jerome. The senior forward had 19 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals in the win. Torrey Craig tired to do it all for USC Upstate, but his 31 points and nine rebounds were not enough.
  • Addison Spruill hit a 3-pointer in the final minute of overtime to give UNC-Wilmington a surprising 80-78 win over Charleston Southern. The Buccaneers had a 13-point lead midway through the second half, but the Seehawks managed to close the gap and send it to an extra five minutes thanks to another Spruill three. Cedrick Williams led the way with 26 points and eight rebounds in the win. Matt Kennedy had 19 points for Charleston Southern while star guard Saah Nimley struggled from the floor and managed just three field goals on 12 attempts.
  • Binghamton won. Yes, Binghamton, the team we felt should have given up its D-1 status during last season. The Bearcats earned the victory 89-79 over Cornell thanks to Jordan Reed';s 25 points and 14 rebounds. He had help from Marlon Beck (game-high 27 points) and Nick Madray (23 points). It isn't the win that is shocking, but more that three players had the nights they did against a Cornell team that is full of young Ivy talent.
  • The West Coast Conference will not go undefeated in the nonconference season. Portland dropped the first game for the conference, this one to Oregon State (surprisingly), 79-73. The Beavers shot 54.5 percent from the floor, which was the ultimate undoing for the Pilots.