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Penn State vs Bucknell Preview: Lions Face Another Perimeter Challenge

Pat Chambers had four days to sort out his defense - will Penn State be able to keep Bucknell off the arc?

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Who: Bucknell Bison (3-2)
When: Saturday, 1 p.m. ET
Where: Bryce Jordan Center
TV: BTN Plus ($)
KenPom Rank: 147
KenPom Line: PSU -3

The three-point shot has been Penn State's nemesis in this early season, and it might not get any easier on Saturday if recent history applies. The Nittany Lions will welcome Bucknell to the BJC, a team that has had incredible success from beyond the arc against PSU over the past two seasons. In those two matchups, the Dave Paulsen-coached Bison shot a combined 20-31 (65%) from deep against Penn State.

Scouting The Opposition

Paulsen no longer mans the sidelines in Lewisburg, but many of the players will be familiar to Penn State fans. Star guard Chris Hass is back for his senior season, and Reading's Nana Foulland also returns down low after scoring 14 points against his former high school teammate Donovon Jack last season.

Replacing Paulsen on the bench is Nathan Davis, who returns to Bucknell after six successful seasons as the head coach of D-III Randolph-Macon. Davis was a Bucknell assistant from 2003-2008, so it's safe to assume he understands the program's philosophy both on and off the court.

What To Watch For

Two years ago Steven Kaspar lit up the BJC with a career-high 25 points on 9-13 shooting in Bucknell's 90-80 victory. Kaspar didn't score more than 14 in a game for the rest of the season. Last season, John Azzinaro made 4-7 from deep en route to 18 points in Penn State's 88-80 victory at Sojka Pavilion. Azzinaro is currently playing 5.5% of available minutes. Which random Bucknell role player will torch Penn State in 2015? Tune in to BTN Plus to find out!

Also, Penn State's three-point defense will be justifiably scrutinized on Saturday. No matter how unlucky this current run of play is for the Nittany Lions, Chambers will be tasked with keeping Bucknell's three-point shooters in check. Dan took meaningful hours out of his day today to study each three-pointer that Radford drained on Tuesday night, and he's got some suggestions on how Penn State can improve their perimeter defense. Go check it out if you haven't already.


Points seem to ooze out of this fixture every season, so I see no sense in predicting otherwise. Penn State has to show out on the defensive end like they did against VMI and DePaul to get back on track. I would be fairly surprised if Chambers didn't make any adjustments for this game after watching film from Radford and Duquesne, and for that reason I'll say that the Nits squeak this one out in a track meet, 85-83.