Courtesy of Patriot League
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Patriot League men’s basketball season opens the 2020-21 season on Saturday, Jan. 2, with three games, followed by three more on Sunday. Defending League champion Boston University and Holy Cross will open the season with games on Monday, Jan. 4 and Tuesday, Jan. 5.
Sunday’s games featuring Lehigh at Lafayette (4 p.m.) and Navy at Bucknell (6 p.m.) will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Six more Patriot League games scheduled from Saturday through Tuesday will be streamed live on ESPN+.
This season the 10 Patriot League men’s basketball programs will be divided into three regional divisions. Army West Point, Boston University, Colgate and Holy Cross will play in the North. Bucknell, Lafayette and Lehigh will play in the Central. American, Loyola Maryland and Navy will play in the South.
The top two teams in each division, based on divisional winning percentage, will qualify for the eight-team 2021 Patriot League Men’s Basketball Championships. Outside of the top six seeds, the seventh and eighth seeds in the tournament will qualify based on the overall League winning percentage.
HOW TO WATCH PATRIOT LEAGUE MEN’S BASKETBALL THIS WEEK
Eight Patriot League men’s basketball games will be played between Saturday and Tuesday, with six on ESPN+ and two on the CBS Sports Network.
Upcoming Schedule (all times EST)
|Saturday, January 2||Time||TV|
|Bucknell at Navy||2 p.m.||ESPN+|
|Lafayette at Lehigh||3 p.m.||ESPN+|
|Colgate at Army West Point*||3 p.m.||ESPN+|
|Sunday, January 3||Time||TV|
|Army West Point at Colgate||3 p.m.||ESPN+|
|Lehigh at Lafayette||4 p.m.||CBSSN|
|Navy at Bucknell||6 p.m.||CBSSN|
|Monday, January 4||Time||TV|
|Boston University at Holy Cross||2 p.m.||ESPN+|
|Tuesday, January 5||Time||TV|
|Holy Cross at Boston University||2 p.m.||ESPN+|
AMERICAN EAGLES (16-14, 12-6 PL in ’19-20)
Preseason Poll: 8th, 63 points.
Key Returners: Stacy Beckton Jr., Sr. G; Jamir Harris, Sr., G.; Connor Nelson, Jr., F.
Head Coach: Mike Brennan
OUTLOOK: Brennan enters his eighth season at the helm of the American men’s basketball program after leading the Eagles to a second-place regular-season finish in 2019-20. Brennan and his staff will be tasked with replacing the production of 2019-20 Patriot League Player of the Year Sa’eed Nelson, but he will return a pair of experienced senior guards in Beckton Jr. (9.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg in ’19-20) and Harris (10.9 ppg, .399 3FG% in ’19-20). Connor Nelson (7.9 ppg in ’19-20) also returns after starting nine games during his sophomore season.
ARMY WEST POINT BLACK KNIGHTS (15-15, 10-8 PL in ’19-20)
Preseason Poll: 7th, 70 points.
Key Returners: Josh Caldwell, Jr., G; Lonnie Grayson, Sr., G; Alex King, Sr., F.
Head Coach: Jimmy Allen
OUTLOOK: Allen opened his fifth season as the head coach of the Army West Point program when non-League play began for the Black Knights in November. Grayson (13.4 ppg 4.8 rpg) led four Black Knights in double-figures to help the team finish 4-1 in non-League play. Caldwell (11.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and King (10.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg) have also helped ease the loss of a pair of All-League graduates in Patriot League career assists leader Tommy Funk and Matt Wilson. Freshman guard Jalen Rucker (8.6 ppg, 4.6 apg) and freshman forward Charlie Peterson have started all five games for Army West Point. The Black Knights went 4-1 during non-League action in 2020.
BOSTON UNIVERSITY TERRIERS (21-13, 12-6 PL in ’19-20)
Preseason Poll: 1st, 148 points (10 first-place points).
Preseason All-League: Walter Whyte, Jr., F.
Key Returners: Jonas Harper, Jr., G; Javante McCoy, Sr., G; Whyte.
Head Coach: Joe Jones
OUTLOOK: Jones guided Boston University to its first Patriot League Championship before the season was canceled in March. His Terriers were selected to repeat as champions in the preseason poll, with Preseason All-League selection Walter Whyte (13.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg in ’19-20) among four returning starters. Third-team all-League and All-Tournament selection McCoy (12.2, 2.7 rpg, 3.4 apg) returns after finishing among the League’s assists leaders in 2019-20. All-defensive team honoree Harper (7.2 ppg in’19-20) and all-rookie guard Ethan Brittain-Watts also return for a deep Boston University squad that finished second in the League in scoring defense (66.7) last season.
BUCKNELL BISON (14-20, 8-10 PL in ’19-20)
Preseason Poll: 6th, 77 points.
Key Returners: Andrew Funk; Jr., G; John Meeks, Sr., F; Paul Newman, Sr., C.
Head Coach: Nathan Davis
OUTLOOK: Davis, a two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year, begins his sixth season at the helm of the Bucknell men’s basketball team after guiding his team to the League semifinals in 2019-20. Meeks (11.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg in ’19-20) returns after being selected third-team all-League last season. Funk (10.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg in ’19-20) and Newman (5.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg in ’19-20) both return after starting for the Bison last season.
COLGATE RAIDERS (25-9, 14-4 PL in ’19-20)
Preseason Poll: 2nd, 142 points (2).
Preseason All-League: Jordan Burns, Sr., G
Key Returners: Burns; Nelly Cummings, Jr., G; Tucker Richardson, Jr., G.
Head Coach: Matt Langel
OUTLOOK: Langel, the three-time defending Patriot League Coach of the Year, begins his 10th season leading the Colgate men’s basketball program. Preseason Patriot League Player of the Year Jordan Burns (15.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.5 apg in ’19-20) is the League’s active leader in points (1,398), assists (418) and steals (119). He will be joined by fellow returning starters Cummings (10.8, .371 3FG% in ’19-20) and Richardson (10.3 ppg, .405 3FG% in ’19-20) for a team that led the League in 3-point field goal percentage (.357) and scoring margin (+8.0) last season.
HOLY CROSS CRUSADERS (3-29, 2-16 PL in ’19-20)
Preseason Poll: 10th, 18 points.
Key Returners: Austin Butler, Sr., G; Matt Faw, Sr., F; Ryan Wade, So., G.
Head Coach: Brett Nelson
OUTLOOK: Nelson begins his second season in Worcester as the Holy Cross men’s basketball head coach. His program will depend on the experience and production of Butler (11.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg in ’19-20), a three-year starter, and the Crusaders’ returning leading scorer. Faw (8.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.4 bpg) and Wade (5.7 ppg, 1.6 apg in’19-20) also return after earning starting spots in Nelson’s lineup last season.
LAFAYETTE LEOPARDS (19-12, 10-8 PL in ’19-20)
Preseason Poll: 5th, 98 points (1).
Preseason All-League: Justin Jaworski, Sr., G.
Key Returners: Jaworski; Leo O’Boyle, So. F; EJ Stephens, Sr., G.
Head Coach: Fran O’Hanlon
OUTLOOK: O’Hanlon, whose 342 career wins at Lafayette stands as a Patriot League record, begins his 26th season as the head coach on College Hill. He returns a preseason all-League pick in Jaworski (17.1 ppg, .360 3FG% in ’19-20), who enters his final season as one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in League history, entering the season fourth with a .426 career 3-point field goal percentage. The Leopards return second-leading scorer Stephens (12.1 ppg in ’19-20) and junior guard Tyrone Perry (7.8 ppg), as well as O’Boyle (7.1 ppg in’19-20), an all-rookie selection last season.
LEHIGH MOUNTAIN HAWKS (11-21, 7-11 PL in ’19-20)
Preseason Poll: 9th, 48 points.
Key Returners: Nic Lynch, Jr., C; Jeameril Wilson, Jr., F; Marques Wilson, Sr., G.
Head Coach: Brett Reed
OUTLOOK: Reed begins his 14th season on the sideline as the Lehigh men’s basketball head coach with a young team that features a combined 11 freshmen and sophomores. Marques Wilson (9.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg in ’19-20) is the squad’s lone senior with juniors Lynch (9.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg in ’19-20) and Jeameril Wilson (10.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg in ’19-20) adding starting experience to Reed’s rotation. Sophomores Reed Fenton (6.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg in ’19-20) and Evan Taylor (7.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg in ’19-20) also gained heavy minutes in their first years in Bethlehem, Pa. last season.
LOYOLA MARYLAND GREYHOUNDS (15-17, 7-11 PL in ’19-20)
Preseason Poll: 3rd, 122 points (1).
Preseason All-League: Santi Aldama, So., F.
Key Returners: Aldama; Golden Dike, So., F; Isaiah Hart, Sr. G.
Head Coach: Tavaras Hardy
OUTLOOK: Hardy begins his third season at the helm of the Loyola Maryland men’s basketball program with high expectations after being picked to finish third in the preseason poll. The Greyhounds’ bring back Aldama (15.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg), a 2019-20 all-rookie pick, who provided a significant impact on the team’s frontcourt over the final 10 games. Dike (7.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg in ’19-20), who joined Aldama on Spain’s U-18 FIBA European Championship gold medal squad, will play alongside his countryman in the Greyhounds’ frontcourt after being one of three student-athletes to play in all of Loyola Maryland’s 32 games last season. Senior guard Isaiah Hart (9.3 ppg, 3.1 apg) is also back after starting all 32 games last season.
NAVY MIDSHIPMEN (14-16, 8-10 PL in ’19-20)
Preseason Poll: 4th, 114 points.
Preseason All-League: Cam Davis, Sr., G.
Key Returners: John Carter Jr., Jr., G; Davis; Greg Summers, Jr., G.
Head Coach: Ed DeChellis
OUTLOOK: DeChellis began his 10th season as the head men’s basketball coach at Navy when the Midshipmen tipped off non-League play in November. His squad, featuring four returning starters, went 3-1, including a 78-71 victory over BIG EAST opponent Georgetown. Davis, a preseason All-League selection, averaged 19.8 points and shot .471 from beyond the arc in four non-League games, while junior guard John Carter Jr. added 13.5 points and 4.8 rebounds during the early-season stretch. Sophomore forward Tyler Nelson (6.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg), Junior forward Richard Njoku (6.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and Summers (4.8 ppg, 2.8 ppg) have joined Davis and Carter in the Mids’ starting lineup.