Having held a second-half lead of four points or more in three of the four Big Ten games to open the season, Penn State has been knocking on the door for its first conference win for two weeks. The Nittany Lions travel to Ann Arbor for a Tuesday matchup against Michigan (8 p.m. on BTN) to begin a week with two-straight road games.
"We are a good second half away from being a really good team," Chambers said. "We're close. I hate saying that term and I am tired of hearing it. But we really are. We are a stop, a rebound, two made free throws, two non-silly fouls away."
The Nittany Lions head to Mackey Arena for a showdown against Purdue on Saturday. First up, take a look through some things to watch for in the road game in Ann Arbor.
VIDEO: Coach Chambers Preview
Head coach Patrick Chambers met with the media to talk about the Nittany Lions leading up to the Michigan game.
With a stroke of luck and a couple more plays down the stretch, Penn State could easily be heading to Michigan on a two-game winning streak. Chambers knows how close the Nittany Lions are to breaking through. The Lions have put themselves in very good positions to win every night in the Big Ten. Penn State led by seven at the break against Michigan State, trailed by two at Illinois, led Minnesota by five and led Indiana by five in the first four games. Execution down the stretch on both ends of the floor is the only thing keeping the Nittany Lions from a strong start to the conference season. Chambers knows the next step is coming for the Lions.
"We're competing. We can play with these guys," Chambers said. "Now, we've got to believe it, and we've got to get it done. And it's that transition. It's going to be one game, that one possession, that one four-minute slot that you are going to be like, 'I think they've gotten it.'"
Thorpe Providing Big Minutes For Lions
Freshman Geno Thorpe has provided the Nittany Lions with strong minutes in his initial starts as a collegiate player. The 6-foot-3 guard brings great athleticism to the lineup and a gritty approach on the defensive end of the floor. Thorpe is averaging 6.5 points per game in his two starts, along with a combined seven rebounds and four steals, but Chambers loves the fearless attitude Thorpe possesses on defense. The Pittsburgh native is averaging 26.5 minutes per game in his two starts.
The Wolverines enter Tuesday with an 11-4 overall mark and a 3-0 record in Big Ten play. Michigan edged Nebraska in Lincoln on Thursday to remain unbeaten in conference play. Michigan State, Wisconsin and Michigan are the lone remaining undefeated teams in the Big Ten. Three of Michigan's four losses have come at the hands of No. 1 Arizona (72-70), No. 10 Iowa State (77-60) and No. 20 Duke (79-69). Michigan beat Minnesota on the road (63-60), Northwestern at home (74-51) and Nebraska (71-70) to open Big Ten play.
Riding a five-game winning streak, Michigan is averaging 72.8 points per game, shooting 51.4 percent from the field. In three Big Ten games, Michigan has shot a conference best 53.5 percent from the field. Sharpshooting Nik Stauskas leads Michigan in scoring at 17.4 points per game. Glenn Robinson III is second in scoring at 13.8 points per game. Chris LaVert is the third Wolverine averaging double-figures at 11.9 tallies per contest. Without Mitch McGary in the lineup, 6-foot-10 forward Jon Horford is Michigan's leading rebounder at 4.9 per game.
The Nittany Lions and Wolverines split the last two meetings between the two teams. Michigan is 11-7 all-time in Ann Arbor.
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