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Nov. 3, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.; NOV. 3, 2012 - Penn State used a 15-0 run to close the first half and went on to 79-54 victory in exhibition action Saturday against Philadelphia University in the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions had three players post double-digit scoring as they downed head coach Patrick Chambers' alma mater in the Lion's first action of the season. Penn State will officially open the 2012-13 campaign on Friday, Nov. 9 with a 7:00 p.m. tip vs. Saint Francis.
Senior Tim Frazier (Houston, Texas) led Penn State with 17 points, eight assists and five boards in 30 minutes of action. Redshirt sophomores Jon Graham (Baltimore, Md.) and D. J. Newbill (Philadelphia, Pa.) had 16 and 15 points, respectively, and Newbill added three assists while taking over point-guard duties for Frazier for much of the second half.
"It was a great feeling to get back out there on the court and be playing again," said Newbill who sat out last season after transferring from Southern Mississippi. "I waited a whole year for this moment. I'm just thankful to be able to play the game again.
"I'm working on running the team early in the season so when we get into the middle of Big Ten conference play, I'll be ready."
Graham had a team-best seven rebounds and sophomore Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn.) was second on the team with six while adding nine points, including an alley-oop dunk off a nice Frazier pass.
Penn State started a line-up of Sasa Borovnjak (Belgrade, Serbia), Travis, Newbill, Jermaine Marshall (Etters, Pa.) and Frazier. Nine Nittany Lions played 10 minutes or more in the game and all three freshmen saw the floor as nine Lions scored.
After a slow start shooting the ball, Penn State hit 55 percent in the second half to finish at 47 percent (30-63) for the game and 27 percent (6-22) from beyond the three-point arc. The Lions missed their first nine attempts for the arc, but hit 4-of-5 to start the second half before beginning to substitute liberally midway through the half. The Nittany Lions grabbed 12 steals and forced 18 Ram turnovers, held a 25-9 scoring advantage off turnovers and posted a 40-20 advantage in the paint.
The Rams were led by 6-10 Penn State transfer Peter Alexis who posted 19 points and 11 boards on 7-of-11 shooting.
The Nittany Lions were trailing by three, 28-25, with 3:23 left in the first half when Frazier scored on a layup to move Penn State within one, 28-27. Philadelphia's Jim Connolly fouled Frazier and he hit two at the line to move PSU into the lead, 29-28, with the clock at 2:49. The Nittany Lions' momentum continued as Penn State scored 15 straight points to close out the first half. Frazier scored six points in the run, Travis added four, including two on the alley-oop dunk, while Marshall had three and Graham two to give PSU a 12-point advantage, 40-28, heading into halftime.
"We just played Penn State basketball," Frazier said. "Last year when we played Penn State basketball, we were a very successful team. We played gritty, hard, smart and together. We run our offense and it really starts on the defensive end. Our run started off when we had great deflections, steals and fast breaks."
Penn State continued its dominance to start the second half and opened with a 10-2 run for a 50-30 lead by the 16-minute mark. Five different players contributed in the run, including layups from Newbill, Travis and Borovnjak and jumpers by Frazier and Graham. Connolly hit a trey for Philadelphia, but two consecutive buckets by Graham gave the Nittany Lions a 54-33 lead.
Senior Nick Colella (New Castle, Pa.), who had two threes in the game, fouled Alexis who hit one of two at the line. However, the Nittany Lions went on a 9-0 run, which included threes from Newbill and Collela, for a 63-34 lead with 11:07 on the clock. Despite three points by the Rams, the Nittany Lions pushed back with eight straight points to increase the gap to a game-high 34, 71-37, with just under nine minutes remaining.
Philadelphia would get back within 25 with under two minutes to play as Penn State cleared its bench late in the game.
"I feel like this team is a lot more cohesive," Graham said. "We're older and returning a lot more experience. There's a great feeling in the locker room and that's where it all starts."
The Rams opened the game taking a 5-2 lead, but a layup from Marshall had the Lions within one, 5-4, by the 16:20 mark. The teams went back and forth until a 5-0 run by Philadelphia had Penn State trailing by four, 12-8, as the Lions struggled shooting early. After a Connolly foul on Frazier, who went on to hit two at the foul line, freshman Brandon Taylor (Tabernacle, N.J.) pulled a pair of nice rebounds and scored two on a jumper to tie the score at 12-12.
Near the 10-minute mark of the first half, the Rams were back in the lead after two free throws. A layup by Graham knotted the score at 14 all. A 5-2 Ram run had Philadelphia with a three-point edge, 19-16. Penn State managed to tie the score twice more before beginning a 15-0 run to close out the first half.
Penn State will officially open its 117th season of basketball on Friday, Nov. 9 in their season opener against Saint Francis. Action is set for 7 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center and will be streamed live on BTN.com.
Single game tickets for men's basketball are available by calling 1-800-NITTANY or by visiting GoPSUsports.com/tickets or Ticketmaster. Single-game tickets for Nittany Lion games are $24 for lower bowl seats between the baselines, $18 for the lower bowl behind the baskets and upper level between the baselines and $15 for upper level behind the basket seats for adults and seniors. Youth tickets (18 and under) are $10, while Penn State student tickets (University Park or branch campus) are $5.
For all the latest information, notes, pictures and related links on Penn State basketball follow Associate Athletic Communications Director Brian Siegrist (@PSUSTRETCH) and the official Penn State men's basketball handle (@PennStateMBB) on Twitter and check GoPSUsports.com. The Nittany Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstatebasketball.