Penn State Downs Saint Francis, 65-58
Nov. 9, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.; NOV. 9, 2012 - Tim Frazier (Houston, Texas) was nearly perfect from the foul line hitting a career-best 17-of-18 from the stripe to help lead Penn State to a 65-58 season-opening win over feisty Saint Francis (0-1; 0-0 NEC) Friday night in the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions (1-0; 0-0 Big Ten) overcame a tough shooting night to log their eighth- straight season opening win and improve to 87-30 all-time in season openers.
Frazier led the Lions with 23 points, marking his 19th career 20-point game, and added six assists and two steals. He moved into tie for sixth place on the career assists chart with 450 and a tie for ninth place on the career steals list with 136. Sophomore D.J. Newbill (Philadelphia, Pa.), seeing his first action in a Penn State uniform, hit a career-best 9-of-10 from the foul line for 16 points and added seven rebounds, while sophomore Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn.) posted 10 points and tied a career high with a team-leading nine rebounds.
The Nittany Lions shot just 37 percent for the game, 3-of-24 from three, and committed 17 turnovers, but pulled out the win behind a stellar 28-of-32 (.875) performance at the foul line. The Nittany Lions out-rebounded the Red Flash 38-22 and outscored Saint Francis 10-0 in second chance opportunities giving up just two Red Flash offensive rebounds on the night.
"That we won tonight even with 3-of-24 and 17 turnovers says a lot about where we're headed," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "Last year we would have probably lost this game. This year we have a different mentality that we're never out of games. We keep a great attitude, keep grinding, and keep making plays whether that be a defensive play or an offensive play."
Saint Francis was led by 19 points from Ollie Jackson, including three second half threes on his way to 4-of-8 from the arc on the night. The Red Flash shot 46.7 percent for the game and 7-of-19 from three, but were outscored 28-9 at the foul line.
"Like I say to the team, sometimes it is going to be ugly and if you can win those ugly ones then you are on the right path," Chambers said. "Am I concerned about 3-for-24? Yes. We had really, really good shots. They were smart and packed it in. We didn't make them, but it is okay. It is a learning experience and only game one. We are going to watch film tomorrow. We will get better and better for the next contest."
Saint Francis opened the game taking a 3-0 lead before Frazier hit two at the foul line to pull Penn State within one, 3-2. Penn State moved into the lead after Newbill fed Frazier for an alley-oop dunk for a slim 4-3 lead. A layup from SFU's Ronnie Drinnon had Saint Francis back on top, but a 6-0 Nittany Lion run had Penn State leading, 10-5, at the 14-minute mark.
Back-to-back baskets from the Red Flash had Penn State with a narrow 10-9 lead. Newbill sparked a 9-0 run with a three from the top of the key to give Penn State a 10-point cushion, 19-9, with seven minutes left in the first half. SFU's Dominique Major cut off the run with a trey. Marshall answered with a layup for a nine-point lead, 21-12.
With three minutes in the half, Saint Francis took off on an 8-1 run to pull the Red Flash within two, 22-20. Drinnon fouled Newbill who hit two at the line to make it 24-20, in favor of Penn State. The Nittany Lions called a timeout with 32 seconds in the half. Saint Francis missed a bucket and Tony Peters fouled Frazier who scored two points at the free throw line. The Nittany Lions headed into halftime with a six-point lead, 26-20.
Saint Francis opened the second half with an 11-4 run, including a pair of threes from Jackson and one from Kam Ritter to take a 31-30 lead. Frazier fired back with a steal and five straight points to move Penn State back into the lead, 35-31. Newbill hit two at the line for a 37-33 lead with a little more than 14 minutes on the clock.
After another Red Flash basket, Frazier was fouled behind the arc and hit three at the line to give Penn State a five-point lead, 40-35. Jackson hit a jumper as Saint Francis embarked on an 8-2 run to retake a 43-42 lead after a Ritter layup. However, the Red Flash fouled Frazier again and he went 2-for-2 at the line before a tip-in by Travis for a three-point PSU lead, 46-43.
A driving layup from Stephon Whyatt brought the Red Flash within one, 46-45, but two free throws from Frazier and a three-pointer from senior Nick Colella (New Castle, Pa.) had the Lions leading by four, 51-47, with seven minutes to play. Frazier was fouled again and went 2-for-2 at the line before junior Jermaine Marshall (Etters, Pa.) hit a trifecta to give Penn State a nine-point cushion, 56-47, with 5:42 remaining.
Five consecutive points from Newbill pushed Penn State's lead in double-digits, 61-49, with just under a minute to play. Five points from the Red Flash allowed Saint Francis to close the gap to seven, 61-54, but two free throws by Frazier and a break-away dunk from Travis had the Lions back ahead by nine, 65-56. Drinnon scored two points on a layup for Saint Francis before time ran out to produce the final score of 65-58.
The Nittany Lions are back in action in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament in Bayamon, Puerto Rico Nov. 15-18. Penn State is set to play three games and faces No. 6-ranked North Carolina State first on Thursday, Nov. 15. That game is set for a 5:00 p.m. tip on ESPN2. The Nittany Lions will face either Providence or Massachusetts on Nov. 16. Penn State returns to the Jordan Center on Friday, Nov. 23 for a 4:30 p.m. tip against Bucknell, which downed Purdue 70-65 in West Lafayette on Friday.
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.
Penn State is 87-30 overall in season openers and 77-10 in home season openers.
The Nittany Lions improved to 9-2 all-time against Saint Francis, and owns a 7-1 record against the Red Flash at home.
Sophomore D.J. Newbill scored his first career Penn State points off a three at the top of the key at the 10:56 mark of the first half. He finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Freshman Brandon Taylor made his collegiate debut coming in at the 11:40 mark in the first half. He registered two rebounds in his first game as a Nittany Lion.
Senior Tim Frazier's six assists moved him into a tie for sixth place with Monroe Brown (1989-92) on the Penn State career assists list with 450. His two steals put him in a tie with Jarrett Stephens for ninth place (1996-2000) in the career records with 136.
Frazier scored 23 points, which marked his 19th career 20-point game.
Newbill made a career-high nine free throws and tied his career best in attempts with 10.
Sophomore Travis Ross tied his career high in rebounds with nine.
Frazier converted a personal-best 17 free throws on a career-high 18 attempts.
The Nittany Lions were 28-of-32 (87.5%) from the foul line. The team record for free throw percentage is 16-for-16 (100%) set at Villanova on Jan. 25, 1978. The team's free throw record in the Bryce Jordan Center was 14-of-14 (100%) set one Jan. 11, 2011 against Illinois.