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VIDEO: Men's Hoops Preview of Northwestern

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion basketball team returns to action on Thursday night in the Bryce Jordan Center for a collision with Northwestern (8 p.m. on ESPNU).

Two days removed from Monday's setback to No. 5 Indiana, the Nittany Lions are solely focused on the next task at hand.  That's because they can't let one game dictate the outcome of two games.  Coach Chambers said that the team held a walkthrough on Tuesday before getting back to a normal practice on Wednesday afternoon.

Northwestern presents its fair share of unique challenges with a 1-3-1 zone on the defensive end of the floor and a Princeton offense predicated on back-cuts and perimeter shooting.  The Wildcats enter the game with a 9-6 overall record and a 0-2 mark in Big Ten play.

Without the services of its leading returning scorer from one season ago Drew Crawford (season-ending shoulder injury), senior Reggie Hearn leads the team in scoring, posting a 14.2 points per game clip.  Transfer Jared Swopshire leads the team in rebounding at 5.9 rebounds per game.  Sophomore point guard Dave Sobolewski ranks among the top five in the Big Ten in assists at 4.4 per contest.

Since Crawford suffered his season-ending injury, the Wildcats are 2-3, which includes setbacks to Michigan and Minnesota to start Big Ten play.  Northwestern knocked off Penn State in both meetings last season, something Coach Chambers said the Lions have in mind heading into Thursday's game.

Hear from head coach Patrick Chambers, guard D.J. Newbill and forward Ross Travis at practice on Wednesday as the Nittany Lions prepare for Thursday's contest against Northwestern.

- Sophomore Ross Travis told reporters that he wants to continue being aggressive on the offensive end of the floor.  Travis scored 14 points against Indiana on a career-high 17 field goal attempts.

- Penn State will place an emphasis on getting to the free throw line more often moving forward.  The Lions have attempted just 12 combined free throws in the first two Big Ten games.  The Nittany Lions' opponents have attempted 60.  Wisconsin and Indiana outs-scored Penn State, 35-8, at the foul line during the first two Big Ten games.  Chambers said the Lions would be looking to attack the basket more to earn free throw opportunities.

- Repeating what they say heading into every game Coach Chambers and the Nittany Lions who addressed reporters on Wednesday said that playing 40 minutes of Penn State Basketball is essential moving forward.  Penn State competed against Indiana, but the Lions need 40 minutes of hard-nosed effort every night to put themselves in a position to win.

- Coach Chambers topped 10,000 followers on his Twitter account (@Coach_Chambers) earlier this week.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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