Jan. 13, 2014
|PENN STATE (9-8, 0-4 B1G) at MICHIGAN (11-4, 3-0 B1G)
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's basketball team continues conference play with a pair of road games this week, starting with Michigan at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Nittany Lions are looking for their first Big Ten win of the season and sit at 9-8 overall with an 0-4 mark in the conference following a 79-76 setback to Indiana Saturday. The Wolverines (11-4, 3-0 B1G) have won each of their last five games and are coming off a narrow 71-70 victory at Nebraska last Thursday.
PENN STATE SCOOP (TEAM)
- The Nittany Lions have five players scoring in double figures after 17 games with the team averaging 77.4 points per game, the fourth-highest average among Big Ten teams and on pace to be among the highest scoring averages in program history.
- The starting five accounts for 81 percent (1,065 of 1,315) of Penn State's total point on the season.
- With John Johnson's team-leading 20 points vs. Mount St. Mary's Dec. 22, seven different PSU players have led the team or tied for the lead in scoring through the first 17 games of the year: Tim Frazier (7 games), D.J. Newbill (4 games), Brandon Taylor (2 games), Johnson (2 games), Donovon Jack, Ross Travis and Allen Roberts (1 game).
- As a team, the Lions are shooting 73.9 percent from the free-throw line, the second-best showing among Big Ten teams ... Four PSU players are shooting 70 percent or better from the charity stripe, led by Brandon Taylor's 90 percent showing (29-32), among players with at least 20 attempts.
- Three Penn State players have combined for eight double-doubles so far this season, the fourth-most among B1G schools. Penn State is 14-6 when one of the current players secures a double-double and 9-0 when Tim Frazier completes the task.
FIRST HALF DOMINANCE
Penn State has led at the half in 13 of 17 games this season and is out-scoring opponents 651-548 in the opening period. The Lions average 38.3 points in the first half with a +6.1 scoring margin, compared to 37.5 points in the second and a -2.7 deficit vs. opponents. One of the biggest differences between the two halves is free-throw shooting as Penn State converts on 78 percent of opportunities in the first half and 69 in the second.
NITTANY LION NUGGETS (Players)
- D.J. Newbill (17.3 ppg) and Tim Frazier (16.6 ppg) are ranked sixth and seventh, respectively, in the Big Ten and make up the third-highest scoring backcourt duo in the nation. It is the only guard duo in the Top 3 nationally in scoring, rebounds and assists.
- Frazier needs five assists to take over the No. 2 place in career assists at Penn State ... He currently has 570, trailing Dan Earl (1993-99) in second with 574 ... Frazier needs just 31 more for the all-time record.
- Frazier has the second-most assists of any NCAA Division I player (111) as of Friday and is fourth in the country in assists per game (6.9) ... Only B1G player in the Top 10 of scoring (16.6, 7th), assists (6.5, 1st) and steals (1.7, 6th).
- Newbill passed 1,000 career points at Duquesne (1,091), including 293 scored at Southern Mississippi ... He needs 202 more points to enter the PSU records books ... Newbill has emerged as one of the Lions' top 3-point scoring threat, tallying 23 on 55 attempts (.418).
- As a starter in the last two games, Geno Thorpe is the lone PSU player scoring at a higher clip (5.0 ppg) in league play than on the season overall (3.1 ppg).
- Donovon Jack has tallied 26 of his 34 blocks in the last eight games and went eight-consecutive games with multiple blocks to lead the team and stand in fourth in the B1G with 2.0 bpg.
- Brandon Taylor is hitting 90 percent of his free throws (29-32) and has hit each of his last 17 attempts, dating back to the second half of the game at Pittsburgh (12/3/13) ... The consecutive makes match the longest streak by a PSU player this season, tying Tim Frazier.
Penn State heads to West Lafayette, Ind., to face Purdue at 7 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU. The Boilermakers (11-5, 1-2 B1G) have Illinois as a midweek matchup before welcoming the Lions to Mackey Arena. Penn State has just one more home game in the month of January -- hosting Nebraska at 8 p.m. Jan. 23. Tickets for all PSU home games can be purchased by calling 1-800-NITTANY, on Ticketmaster or by visiting the Jordan Center box office.
SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES
Michigan has won each of its last five games, including the first three of league play.
Stauskas in the team's leading scorer at 17.4 ppg, followed by Glen Robinson III with 13.8 ppg and 4.5 rpg. The Wolverines are third in the Big Ten in assists per game (15.7), despite Stauskas averaging just 3.6 per game. Twelve players have tallied an assist this season with five owning 20 or more. As a team, Michigan has the top assist-to-turnover ration in the league (1.7) and gives the ball up just 9.2 times per game.
Michigan is playing without 2013 NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team member Mitch McGary, who is out indefinitely after having back surgery Jan 7. The sophomore forward was averaging 9.5 points and 8.3 boards through eight games played this season.
VS. THE WOLVERINES
D.J. Newbill is the leading scorer among current players in the Michigan series. In three meetings last season, Newbille averaged 16.0 ppg after putting up 20 in the Big Ten tournament and 17 in the upset win Feb. 27.
Michigan holds a 29-12 advantage in the all-time series with the Lions, though the teams split regular-season meetings a year ago. The Wolverines are 11-7 in Ann Arbor. This is the only meeting of the 2013-14 regular season between the teams.
THREE NOTABALE GAMES
- Feb. 27, 2013: Penn State outscored No. 4 Michigan 33-12 in the final 10 minutes and hit a season best 10-of-20 from three to knock off the Wolverines, 84-78, in the Bryce Jordan Center. A raucous crowd witnessed the highest ranked opponent to fall in the BJC and the second ranked foe to fall in Patrick Chambers PSU coaching tenure.
- Feb. 20, 2010: Talor Battle did a little bit of everything for Penn State and Jeff Brooks hit one of the biggest shots of his Nittany Lion career as Penn State downed Michigan 55-51 in Ann Arbor. Brooks' big baseline jumper with 14 seconds to play broke a nearly eight-minute scoring drought for the Lions and put the seal on Penn State's first win in Ann Arbor since 1999 and just its second in 16 trips.
- Feb. 19, 2000: Jarrett Stephens scored 33 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for the Lions as they fell 89-87 in overtime to the Wolverines in Ann Arbor. The point total has been matched or surpassed just twice since and the game stands as the only OT matchup in the series.
LIONS' LAST TIME OUT: Junior D.J. Newbill had a game-high 24 points, including 14 in the second half, but the Penn State men's basketball team dropped a 79-76 matchup with Indiana Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State (9-8, 0-4 Big Ten) led Indiana (11-5, 1-2 Big Ten) by as many as 15 points in the first half but a late surge in the first half put IU within striking distance and gave the Hoosiers momentum heading into the intermission. Indiana hit five threes in the second half compared to just two from the Lions and were afforded 18 free throw attempts -- hitting 15 of them -- to PSU's 12.