By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the Penn State women's lacrosse team took the
field in Baltimore, it looked to rebound from its last performance. Against No.
8 Virginia the Nittany Lions lacked a defensive edge, which is something they
worked on throughout the entirety of the week leading up to the Loyola match.
While going down 2-0 to open the game was not the start the Blue and White
wanted, the team rallied. In the final, critical moments, No. 9 Penn State
(4-1) held No. 17 Loyola scoreless (1-4), coming away with a 12-8 win.
"I think that was really important going into that game," said head coach Missy
Doherty of tightening up on defense. "I was glad the team looked comfortable
and took the chance to be a little bit more aggressive to come up with some
really big plays at the end, especially in that last 20 minutes."
The Nittany Lions continued their streak of dominant offense, putting up 29
shots on goal to the Greyhounds' 20. Senior Tatum Coffey had a team-high seven
shots, with one resulting in a point for the Lions.
Sophomore Steph Lazo trailed just behind Coffey with six total shots. She
netted three of those attempts and now has 14 goals on the season. Lazo has
provided a spark to the team's offense, stepping up into a much larger role
than she filled during her freshman year.
"She's done a great job for us," Doherty said of Lazo. "She's scored some
critical goals for us already early in the season, and she kind of takes the
heat off of some of our other attackers. But, I think that's a strength of our
team in general. When someone's a little off, there are more people to step up.
It's really been a good balance of offense across the board."
In addition to Lazo and Coffey, Maggie McCormick and Jenna Mosketti each
notched two goals, while Madison Cyr, Kelly Lechner, Abby Smucker and Ally
Heavens scored once each. McCormick also picked up two assists in the game, her
12th and 13th on the year.
The Nittany Lions offense is not coming from one player. It's across the board,
which pleases the head coach and gives the team depth.
"Every game we've been getting a lot of shots off," Doherty said. "A part of it
is that Loyola's goalkeeper was very good, and we just want to make sure we get
the most out of each shot opportunity. Again, they played balanced, they played
well and they played aggressively when they needed to."
With the win over the Greyhounds, Penn State improved to 4-1 on the season. The
team is off to an explosive, dominant start, which is in large part due to the
hard work and effort put in day in and day out.
The Blue and White don't just want to win. This team wants to show it is
skilled, determined and ready to battle.
"I just like our attitude and overall confidence on the field," said Doherty. "I
think from the turnover side, we haven't had a ton of bad turnovers. I think
we've taken care of the ball well. We've dictated a good amount of the pace of
play. So, we're looking forward because we have a really tough stretch to
finish out March. Pretty much every game we're going to need to be on. It's
going to be a really good test, but the team is working hard, and it's paying
The Lions' next test of the season will come on Wednesday when they take on
James Madison. JMU is 5-1, falling only to No. 2 North Carolina.
Penn State, however, is more than ready for another battle.
"James Madison is having a really good year," Doherty said. "They beat Loyola,
and they've had some really good wins. They always come, and they play really
hard. So, it's going to be really competitive."
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the last time this season, the Penn State
men's hockey team skated over to the Roar Zone, arms around each other, and
sang the alma matter after a victory. With two wins over No. 16 Michigan,
arguably the team's biggest rival, the Nittany Lions could not be happier with
their final weekend in Pegula Ice Arena.
Friday, with sophomore Eamon McAdam in net, Penn State (18-12-4, 10-7-1 B1G) downed
the Wolverines (19-13-0, 11-7-0 B1G), 6-4. The team made sure to stick to its
winning ways in front of PJ Musico, who made the final home start of his career
the following afternoon on senior day. Once again the Blue and White emerged
victorious, holding on in the final seconds by a score of 4-3.
With the two wins, not only did the senior class finish in Hockey Valley on a
high note, but the team also secured its first winning season.
"We certainly didn't think it would happen this quickly, so it's
something that feels pretty good," head coach Guy Gadowsky said of the winning
record. "I'm really glad that the senior group that is here now got it because
a lot of people told them when they were making the decision to come to Penn
State that they'd lose for four years. So, to have them be the class that did
it feels really good."
The fact that this winning season was finalized after two big performances
against Michigan has not gone unnoticed by the team. The Nittany Lions have
always found success when facing the Wolverines.
Last season, Penn State knocked the team out of the Big Ten Tournament during
the first round, which also ended Michigan's chances to make the NCAA
Tournament. Now this season, the Blue and White beat the Wolverines in three
out of the four games they've played.
For some reason, the Nittany Lions consistently have Michigan's number.
"We always seem to play our best when we're against them," said captain Patrick
Koudys. "I don't know what it is. We just play well. It's great to see PJ
[Musico] make all those big saves, especially at the right times. But, we do
find success against them, so we've got to just keep rolling with it."
Sophomore David Goodwin, in particular, had a tremendous weekend for the Blue
and White. He finished with five points, two goals and three assists, and a
plus-four rating. His line was also incredibly successful, racking up 10 points
over the two games.
With the absence of Taylor Holstrom due to injury, many wondered if Goodwin and
junior Casey Bailey would successfully generate the same amount of offense.
Both forwards knew they would need to make some adjustments, but with the
addition of Tommy Olczyk, they were confident and ready to take on Michigan.
"Casey Bailey and I talked before the weekend started, and we knew if we were
going to have success we were going to have to pick it up a little bit, trying
to fill that big hole in the lineup," said Goodwin. "But, Tommy Olczyk was a
phenomenal addition to our line. He brought energy and speed, which is what we
needed, which is what Holstrom brings for our line. It was a great weekend for
our line, and I'm looking forward to building this week in practice with Casey
However, Goodwin credits the dominant play against Michigan to one other
aspect, which the entire team can also agree with.
"I just really don't like them," Goodwin said of Michigan. "It really kind of
lights a fire under me a little bit. It's just one of those things where they
kind of get under my skin a little bit, and I like to retaliate by putting the
puck in the net."
Overall, the weekend proved to be a big bounce back for this Penn State squad,
which has struggled a bit as of late. The two wins helped boost team confidence
and morale. Going into a weekend against Minnesota, positivity is exactly what
the Nittany Lions needed.
"This is something that we won't forget," said Gadowsky. "I mean any time
that you're able to sweep Michigan is huge. It feels great. I think it is
something to look back on down the road and gain a lot of confidence from this.
The fact that it happened on senior night, and at a time that we're in the
conversation, it becomes an important time for both teams. It feels really
good. I feel really good about what the guys were able to accomplish in very
The weekend was an emotional one, especially for the senior class, a group of
student-athletes who have done so much for this program. Nevertheless, even
with these victories, the entire team knows these next two weeks will be the
biggest of them all.
This squad wants to continue to leave its marks on Penn State hockey.
"It was awesome," said Koudys of the sweep. "I mean, even looking back the
first game us seniors played here we won and then the last game. So, it's
pretty awesome. A lot of emotions in the locker room, that's for sure, but
there's still lots to do."
McIntosh powered past top-seeded Kyle Snyder from Ohio State for a 4-1 victory
in the final match at 197 to earn Penn State's 35th Big Ten individual
championship. The California native is the 20th different Nittany Lion wrestler
to win a Big Ten title.
Senior Matt Brown came up short in his bid to become a two-time Big Ten
champion in the finals at 174 pounds. Nonethetless, McIntosh and Brown wrestled
well throughout the weekend and represented the Nittany Lions on the
conference's biggest wrestling stage before a packed house in Columbus on
In addition to Brown and McIntosh, Jordan Conaway (125) finished third, Jimmy
Gulibon (133) placed sixth, Zack Beitz (149) finished fifth, Matt McCutcheon
(184) finished fourth and Jimmy Lawson (285) came home in sixth.
In the team race, the Nittany Lions finished fifth in the final standings with
96.5 points. Iowa and Ohio State tied for the team title and were named
co-champions with 120.0 points.
Final Team Standings 1. Iowa - 120.0
2. Ohio State - 120.0
3. Minnesota -108.0
4. Michigan - 101.5
5. Penn State - 96.5
The evening belonged to McIntosh, who put on a show in the 197-pound final.
McIntosh dropped a 6-1 decision to Snyder when the two teams met during the
dual season, but the Nittany Lion junior said he learned a few things from the
first match that he needed to clean up heading into Sunday's final.
After a scoreless first, McIntosh struck first when he completed a takedown
along the left edge of the mat. The move handed McIntosh a 2-1 lead after one
period. Starting the third period on the bottom, McIntosh wasted little time
snapping out for an escape point. With a 3-1 edge and 1:12 of riding time in
hand, McIntosh captured his first Big Ten title with a superb performance.
"It feels good, and it's obviously nice to go out there and get a win against a
guy I had already lost to," McIntosh said. "I'm just so grateful for my coaches
and my family. It's been a fun ride, and it was fun to go out there and wrestle
in front of a huge crowd."
"I thought Morgan looked really good," head coach Cael Sanderson said. "He did
what he needed to do. He used his abilities on top to earn a point there....He's
a Big Ten champ now and that is a great weight class. It's one of the tougher
weight classes in the Big Ten. That should set him up well seeding-wise going
Brown came up short against No. 1 Robert Kokesh of Nebraska in the 174-pound
final. The unbeaten Nebraska senior got on the board first with a takedown
along the edge of the mat during the first period. Brown quickly escaped out,
setting the score at 2-1. Brown then opened the second frame with an escape,
which squared the match at 2-2. But Kokesh's takedown in the final seconds of
the second period proved to be pivotal.
Brown nearly had a takedown and near fall points, but Kokesh scrambled to a
takedown at the buzzer for a 4-2 lead after two. He added another takedown in
the third period to set the final tally at 7-3. Brown will head to the national
tournament with a 24-3 mark after placing second in Columbus.
Conaway turned in a strong tournament for the Nittany Lions at 125 pounds. He
finished the weekend with a 3-1 mark following two wins on Sunday. Conaway
bounced back from a narrow 5-4 setback to top-seeded Thomas Gilman from Iowa in
the semifinals on Saturday with a gritty 2-1 win over Michigan's Conor Youtsey
in the consolation semifinals on Sunday. Conaway then earned third place in the
draw with a win by forfeit in the final bout of the day.
"It's been fun," Conaway said. "I wanted to be in the finals wrestling for
first, but that's not how it happened. So battling back for third was the next
With the Big Ten Championships complete, the Nittany Lions will now shift focus
towards the season's ultimate prize. The 2015 NCAA Championships begin on March
19 in St. Louis.
"I'm pumped (for nationals)," McIntosh said. "I'm excited to get back to work
and head on the road with this team. We have an awesome group of guys."
Breaking Down the Nittany Lions
125: #5 Jordan Conaway (23-6) - 3-1 - Third
Place (NCAA Qualifier)
133: #3 Jimmy Gulibon (22-7) - 2-3 - Sixth Place (NCAA Qualifier)
Session I Video Highlights & Interviews
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Senior Matt Brown (174) and junior Morgan McIntosh (197) will
wrestle for Big Ten titles on Sunday following victories in Saturday evening's
Big Ten semifinals inside St. John Arena.
Each wrestling in their third Big Ten tournament, Brown and McIntosh will lead
the Penn State charge into the final day of the two-day event. Brown will be
seeking his second Big Ten crown, while McIntosh will make his first appearance
in the title match on Sunday afternoon (3 p.m. on BTN).
In addition to Brown and McIntosh in the finals, Jordan Conaway (125), Jimmy
Gulibon (133), Zack Beitz (149), Matt McCutcheon (184) and Jimmy Lawson (285) are
all still alive in the race for third place at their respective weight classes.
Those five Nittany Lions will wrestle in the consolation semifinals beginning
at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
In the team race, the Nittany Lions head into the final day of the Big Ten
Championships in sixth spot. Host Ohio State holds a slim 1.5-point lead over
Iowa in the standings following Saturday evening's action.
Session II Standings - (Wrestlers Left
in Finals/Consolation Draw) 1. Ohio State - 102.5 (4 in finals, 4 in consolation semifinals)
2. Iowa - 101.0 (4 in finals, 4 in consolation semifinals)
3. Minnesota - 86.5 (3 in finals, 4 in consolation semifinals)
4. Michigan - 80.5 (1 in finals, 6 in consolation semifinals)
5. Illinois - 79.0 (1 in finals, 6 in consolation semifinals)
6. Penn State - 78.5 (2 in finals, 5 in consolation semifinals)
Saturday evening belonged to Brown and McIntosh, Penn State's two locker room
leaders. Brown turned in another dominant third-period ride out to power past
Iowa's Mike Evans. The duo met in the Bryce Jordan Center on Feb. 8, with Brown
scoring a 2-0 win after a ride out in the third. Brown again dictated the pace
in the semifinals for a repeat performance. He notched an escape in the second
before starting the third in the top position. The West Valley City, Utah,
native never relinquished the top spot on his way to the Big Ten title bout.
"He's tough to ride, and I've been able to just kind of work hard. It's called
a grind ride," Brown said. "It's paid off the last two matches (against him)...I
felt confident heading into the third period that if he did get away, I was
going to take him down, to be honest. That's something I wanted to do is take
him down. I didn't get that this match, but I got the 'W'."
At 197 pounds, McIntosh jumped out to a 3-1 lead over Minnesota's Scott
Schiller after a takedown and a penalty point for unsportsmanlike conduct.
McIntosh added an escape to begin the second period and led 4-1 heading into
the third. Schiller made a late charge with an escape and a takedown, which
squared the score at 4-4. However, McIntosh exploded out of the bottom position
for a match-winning escape point with 12 seconds to go. The late move sent the
California native to the final.
"Schiller is a tough kid, and I enjoy going out there and wrestling him,"
McIntosh. "I know every time you go out there with him, it's going to be a
fight on the mat. I wish I would have wrestled a little more aggressively...But I'm
grateful and the opportunity that I have to be here (in the championship
The Nittany Lions competed from start to finish in the second session, but came
up just short in a host of close matches, including three bouts decided by two
points or fewer in the tournament semifinals. Conaway dropped a narrow 5-4
decision to top-seeded Thomas Gilman from Iowa, Gulibon fell in sudden victory
(7-5) to second-seeded Ryan Taylor from Wisconsin and Hammond came up just shy
of a win in a 4-2 decision against Minnesota's Brett Pfarr.
The margin for error in a tournament as deep as the Big Ten Championships is
razor thin. Nonetheless, the Lions head into Sunday with two finalists and five
grapplers capable of placing third. Stay tuned for more from Columbus on
"Everybody has fought, and that's something you can't take away from them,"
Breaking Down the Nittany Lions
125: #5 Jordan Conaway (21-6) - 1-1 - Consolation
Semifinals Up Next: Conaway will meet
sixth-seeded Conor Youtsey from Michigan in the consolation semifinals on
Sunday. He is still alive in the race for third.
133: #3 Jimmy Gulibon (22-5) - 2-1 - Consolation Semifinals Up Next: Gulibon will face fourth-seeded
Johnni DiJulius from Ohio State in the consolation semifinals on Sunday. He is
still alive in the race for third.
149: #6 Zack Beitz (17-8) - 2-1 - Consolation Semifinals Up Next: Beitz will wrestle in
the consolation semifinals against fifth-seeded Alec Pantaleo of Michigan on
Sunday. He is still alive in the race for third.
157: #9 Luke Frey (13-7) - 1-2 - Tournament Complete
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The four-time
defending Big Ten champion Nittany Lion wrestling team will have five wrestlers
in the semifinals of the Big Ten Championships on Saturday night following a strong first session of action inside St. John Arena on Saturday morning.
Headlined by a dramatic victory redshirt freshman Matt McCutcheon over
top-seeded Sam Brooks from Iowa in the quarterfinals, the Nittany Lions tallied
a 10-5 overall mark in the first session on Saturday. McCutcheon's victory came
in a sudden victory period thanks to a takedown in the waning seconds of the
Jordan Conaway (125), Jimmy Gulibon (133), Matt Brown (174), McCutcheon (184)
and Morgan McIntosh (197) will represent the Nittany Lions in the semifinals on
Saturday evening. The second session of the day begins at 6 p.m. with a round
of consolation matches before the semifinals. Kade Moss (141), Zack Beitz
(149), Luke Frey (157), Garett Hammond (165) and Jimmy Lawson (285) will be in
In the team race, the Nittany Lions head into the evening tied for third with
host Ohio State. Iowa owns a 10-point lead after one round of action. The
Hawkeyes will have seven wrestlers in the semifinals.
Session I Standings - (Wrestlers Left in
Semifinals/Consolation Draw) 1. Iowa - 65.0 (7 in semifinals, 3 in consolation)
2. Minnesota - 55.0 (6 in semifinals, 4 in consolation)
3. Ohio State - 48.0 (5 in semifinals, 5 in consolation)
3. Penn State - 48.0 (5 in semifinals, 5 in consolation)
5. Wisconsin - 39.5 (4 in semifinals, 6 in consolation)
Penn State opened the morning with five victories in six matches during the
first round of the draw. With the handful of wins and four wrestlers earning
byes, that sent nine Nittany Lions to the quarterfinals. Conaway kicked things
off in the quarters with a 7-4 win against fourth-seeded Tim Lambert from
Nebraska. Boosted by a takedown in the final seconds of the first period,
Conaway took a 2-0 lead into the second. He added an escape and another
takedown in the second frame. He never looked back from there.
"It feels good to be in the semifinals," Conaway said. "I was here two years
ago, so it's nice to be back. Now, I want to get in the finals."
Gulibon followed Conaway in the quarterfinal matches. The Nittany Lion
sophomore battled sixth-seeded Zane Richards (Illinois) in a tightly contested
bout. Following a scoreless first, Richards opened the scoring with an escape
in the second. The score remained 1-0 until the third when Gulibon tallied an
escape to make it 1-1. He was not done there, as the Latrobe native finished a
takedown with just eight seconds to wrestle en route to a dramatic 3-1 victory
and a spot in the semifinals.
McCutcheon became the third Nittany Lion to qualify for the semifinals with an
improbable finish to his match against top-seeded Sam Brooks (Iowa). The Lion
freshman trailed 2-1 after the first period. McCutecheon evened the score at
2-2 after two. Brooks added an escape point for a 3-2 lead, and he had riding
time locked up, which seemingly handed the Iowa sophomore a 4-2 edge.
Needing a takedown in the final seconds of action, McCutcheon finished off a
double-leg attempt to send the match into sudden victory. From there, the
Nittany Lion wasted little time in scoring a second takedown, this time to win
the match and earn a spot in the semifinals during his first trip to the Big
"He was getting tired. I could feel it," McCutcheon said. "I just needed to
pick up my pace. I didn't wrestle a great match, but now you just have to
win...I'm happy right now, but in about 20 minutes it's back to business to get
ready for the semifinals."
With the Penn State cheering section on its feet after McCutcheon's win, Brown
and McIntosh turned in dominant efforts at 174 and 197, respectively. Brown
built 3:36 of riding time in a 15-7 major decision against Indiana's Nathan
Jackson. McIntosh registered a five-point throw in the first period on his way
to a 13-3 major against Michigan State's Nick McDiarmid.
"I was just trying to score points," McIntosh said. "This is going to be a good
team race, and I wanted to score as many points as I could to give the crowd a
good show. He's a tough kid. I've had a couple close matches with him in the
past, but I just had to figure out ways to open him up and get in on his legs."
Breaking Down the Nittany Lions
125: #5 Jordan Conaway (21-5) - 1-0 -
Tournament Semifinals Up Next: Conaway meets top-seeded
Thomas Gilman from Iowa in the semifinals.
133: #3 Jimmy Gulibon (22-4) - 2-0 - Tournament Semifinals Up Next: Gulibon will face second
seeded Ryan Taylor from Wisconsin in the semifinals.
141: #9 Kade Moss (17-15) - 0-1 - Consolation Round 2 Up Next: Moss is slated to
wrestle seventh-seeded Jameson Oster from Northwestern in the second round of
the consolation draw.
149: #6 Zack Beitz (15-8) - 0-1 - Consolation Round 2 Up Next: Beitz will wrestle
unseeded Trevor Moody from Indiana in the second round of the consolation draw.
157: #9 Luke Frey (13-6) - 1-1 - Consolation 2nd Round Up Next: Frey is set to wrestle
10th-seeded Lou Mascola from Maryland in the second round of the consolation
165: #6 Garett Hammond (22-10) - 1-1 - Consolation 2nd Round Up Next: Hammond will face off
against 12th-seeded Garett Sutton from Michigan in the consolation second
174: #2 Matt Brown (23-2) - 1-0 - Tournament Semifinals Up Next: Brown will face Iowa's
Mike Evans in the semifinals on Saturday evening.
184: #8 Matt McCutcheon (23-11) - 2-0 -
Tournament Semifinals Up Next: McCutcheon is set to
face fourth-seeded Brett Pfarr from Minnesota in the semifinals.
197: #2 Morgan McIntosh (24-2) - 1-0 - Tournament Semifinals Up Next: McIntosh will meet
third-seeded Scott Schiller from Minnesota in the semifinals.
285: #5 Jimmy Lawson (13-2) - 1-1 - Consolation 2nd Round Up
Next: Lawson will collide with Nebraska's Collin Jensen in the
consolation second round.
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's live coverage of Penn State men's hockey. Today, the Nittany Lions will close their series against the University of Michigan. The game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. and marks the team's final time home this season. Seven seniors, including Jake Friedman, Taylor Holstrom, Max Gardiner, Nate Jensen, Patrick Koudys, PJ Musico and Peter Sweetland, will be honored prior to the start.
Live Blog Men's Hockey Blog - Penn State vs. Michigan (3/7)
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's live coverage of Penn State men's hockey. Tonight, the Nittany Lions will open their series with the University of Michigan. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Live Blog Men's Hockey Blog - Penn State vs. Michigan (3/6)
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With a stinging loss to Virginia still fresh in
its mind, the Penn State women's lacrosse team took the week to refocus, to practice
and to improve. In a way, the defeat allowed for growth as the team singled out
weaknesses and worked to become a stronger unit.
Now, the No. 9 Nittany Lions (3-1) are ready to take on No.17 Loyola (1-3), and
although they won't be taking the field in Happy Valley, they know Penn State support
is inevitable. With 15 student-athlete from Maryland, much of the team is
returning home this Saturday.
"I love going back home to Maryland, and I think a lot of girls on the team
do," senior Maggie McCormick said. "It's just a familiar area. It's heavy on
Penn State fans there too, so you get a lot of friend support, a lot of family
support. It's definitely a fun place to play."
McCormick, who has been a dominant attacker for the Blue and White throughout
her career, is having a stellar start to the season. She already racked up 16
points through the team's first four games, emerging as a leader among the
Even more impressive, of the senior's 16 points, 11 have come from assists as she
is constantly behind the net, looking for passes and open teammates. McCormick
prides herself on this role and loves watching plays unfold before her eyes.
"It's just what I do best," the attacker said. "That's definitely one of the
main parts of my game. I love seeing open cutters, and fortunately, I'm on a
team that has very good cutters. It makes my life a lot easier."
The senior's skill has not gone unnoticed. She was name the Big Ten Offensive
Player of the Week, an honor McCormick was a bit surprised she earned. In the
week's two matches, she notched 12 points with four goals and eight assists.
Although McCormick may not have expected the weekly honor, head coach Missy
Doherty believes the senior deserves it with the work she has put into playing
at the highest level possible for the Nittany Lions.
"She's a great leader for us," said Doherty. "I think she's come through this
year and worked as hard as she's ever worked in her four years. It's really
paying off for us, not just in the scoring but also in re-defending and getting
the ball back. She's just reinserted herself as an impact player, and the
players around her really respond to her leadership."
McCormick and the rest of the Nittany Lions will take the field Saturday hungry
for a battle. The team knows it can and will play for a complete 60 minutes.
There may be some back and forth, which is only natural when playing such a
tough opponent, but that is the type of game the Blue and White love. The Lions
thrive in competitive atmospheres. "We're just excited to
play," said Doherty. "Loyola is always a really good game for us. Our schedule
in March, every game we have to be ready to play our best. We want to keep
getting better, and I think that's our goal for Loyola. We want to tighten up
and be a little bit better defensively. Offensively, we want to keep a good
rhythm and tempo like we did against Virginia."
The task at hand will not be easy, but the Nittany Lions know what they need
from this weekend against Loyola Maryland.
PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion basketball team (15-15, 3-14 Big Ten) heads to
Minnesota (17-13, 6-11) on Sunday (1 p.m. on BTN) seeking to build momentum for
next week's Big Ten Tournament.
Looking to snap a six-game slide, the Lions will collide with the Gophers in
Williams Arena on the final day of the regular season for the second-straight year.
Penn State is one game away from a level playing field with all 14 teams in the
Big Ten, and the Lions want to use Sunday's game as a springboard into the
"It would be huge (to finish strong)," head coach Patrick Chambers said. "I
think going to Minnesota on Senior Night, they've really taken it to us. It
would mean everything to go there, compete and give ourselves a chance. It
would give us some confidence heading into the Big Ten."
After eclipsing 2,000 career points during Wednesday's 77-67 setback to Ohio
State on senior night, D.J. Newbill is on the brink of finishing the regular
season as the Big Ten's top scorer. The Philly native heads into the final game
averaging 20.3 points per game.
Newbill, who has led the Lions in scoring during 25 of the season's 30 games,
has been dynamic with the ball in his hands throughout the season. He scores
from just about anywhere on the floor and is a tremendous finisher after
contact. Newbill's efficiency is what has separated him from most in the Big
Ten this year. He is averaging more than 20 points per game, but is only
averaging 15.3 shots per contest.
Additionally, Newbill is the team's second-leading rebounder at 4.8 per game
and leader in assists at 3.1 per contest.
"He's really efficient and he gets stuff done," Chambers said. "You look at the
way he plays and D.J. is so efficient going about his business."
Fellow senior Ross Travis has played his best basketball of the season during
the past two weeks. Travis is averaging 12 points and 8.5 rebounds during Penn
State's last two contests. The Minnesota native will finish off his regular
season career with a trip to his home state on Sunday looking to remain
red-hot. Travis has been active on both ends of the floor for the Nittany Lions
and has shot 10-for-18 in the last two games.
Coach Chambers has talked about glimpses into the future during the past two
weeks. Look no further than the backcourt duo of sophomore Geno Thorpe and
freshman Shep Garner. The young backcourt combo is beginning to hit its stride
during the stretch run of the season.
Thorpe and Garner have averaged a combined 26.5 points per game during the last
two outings, which is roughly 40 percent of the team's total scoring output.
Neither guard is lacking confidence, and both players have had a knack for
making big plays when the team needs a boost.
"They are getting into (the practice gym) getting shots up and working harder,"
Chambers said. "They know we need them. I like to think that we are doing a
pretty good job developing these two. Especially Geno Thorpe. When you see him
in December and you see him now, you see a completely different player."
Penn State scored its second Big Ten win of the season against Minnesota in the
first meeting of the season back on Jan. 28 inside the BJC. In that game, Penn
State led by as much as 12 in the second half before Minnesota took a one-point
edge with 8:37 to play. Nonetheless, the Lions answered with a surge and held
off the Gophers late for a 63-58 win. Minnesota heads into the final game with three players averaging
double-figures. Seniors Andre Hollins (14.3) and Maurice Walker (11.5) lead the
team offensively and will be playing in their final home game on Sunday. Walker
is also the team's leading rebounder at 6.5 per game. Junior Carlos Morris is
the third Gopher averaging double-figures at 11.3 points per game.
The Gophers snapped three-game losing streak with a dramatic 96-90 overtime win
at Michigan State on Feb. 26. Minnesota dropped a 76-63 decision to Wisconsin
on Thursday evening.
The Nittany Lions are 11-32 all-time against Minnesota. That mark includes two
Penn State victories in Williams Arena, with the last coming in the final game
of the 2010-'11 season (66-63).
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Anita Nham, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After finishing up the last home meet of the
regular season with a win against then No. 7 Iowa, the Penn State men's
gymnastics team will travel to Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rican Gymnastics
Challenge for the fifth consecutive year today.
The Nittany Lions will compete against gymnasts of the Puerto Rican and
Mexican National Teams as well as Big Ten rival University of Michigan.
Back in January, Penn State took on Michigan in the only double dual of
the season and came out on top with a 444.700-436.250 win. Though, the two
teams have previously met, the final results from their last meet is no
indication of what the outcome will be for this weekend.
"It was early then," said head coach Randy Jepson. "We were certainly
more prepared than they were. They're going to be a solid team, ready to go
this time around, so I'm expecting a really good competition with them as
Senior Ismael Sanabria echoes his coach in that results and standings
can always change as the season progresses.
"[The meet against Michigan earlier this season] gave somewhat of a
clue, but then again, they didn't have their whole lineup," said Sanabria.
"Neither did we though. Especially for me though, it doesn't matter to me what
This Friday will be a homecoming for seniors Sanabria and Nestor
Rodriguez and they couldn't be more ecstatic about it.
"I'm pretty excited," said Sanabria. "I'm competing with my friends
again, with my teammates back home...I'll be going back [to Puerto Rico] later,
but for the team, it will be the last time. I'm excited for it, but it's also
bittersweet because I won't be competing there again and it will be my last competition
in Puerto Rico."
In last year's Puerto Rican Gymnastics Challenge, Penn State finished
second (428.550). The men's gymnastics team outscored the Puerto Rican national
team (405.450), but came up short against Michigan (438.800). Sanabria tied with
junior Alexis Torres for eighth on the vault and expectations are high for
Sanabria, but coach Jepson believes that he will do a stellar job in his
"It's nice for [Sanabria]," said coach Jepson. "He's a senior and this
is the last time he'll get to compete with us in Puerto Rico. I know he's got
some plans outside of gymnastics after this, so this might be the last time
competing in front of his friends and family at home, so I know that he is
primed to do a good job there."
Torres led the team with individual titles last year in Puerto Rico. In
addition to placing first on still rings, he recorded three more top-5 finishes
in floor exercise, parallel bars, and high bar. Torres will not be heading to
Puerto Rico this weekend since he will be competing in the American Cup in
"It will be a little different weekend since we don't have everyone
together," said coach Jepson. "We're sending Alexis Torres off to the American
Cup and he'll compete in Texas on Saturday. It's a very prestigious meet. It's
actually on NBC at 1 and will be nationally-televised. It will be nice to have
him out competing, but it will take something out of our team, obviously."
With a teammate gone for the weekend, Sanabria had some advice for the
"Just stay focused. Do what you do at the gym. It's the same [as other
meets], said Sanabria.