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Jan. 14, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; Jan. 14, 2011 - Penn State (10-6; 3-2 Big Ten) will head to Columbus, Ohio Saturday as one of just two teams in the NCAA to have beaten Top 25 ranked foes in back-to-back games on the season. The Nittany Lions will look to make it a program record three in a row when they take on No. 2-ranked Ohio State (17-0; 4-0 Big Ten) in a 5:30 p.m. start on the Big Ten Network.
The game, which marks the fourth in a program record five-straight games vs. Top 25 teams, can be heard live on the Penn State Sports Network, 1450 AM locally, and on Sirius channel 121 and XM radio channel 141. Penn State's schedule is currently ranked as the 10th hardest in the nation in the RPI. Penn State (2-1) and Ohio State (1-0) are the only Big Ten teams with a winning record vs. Top 25 ranked teams.
Drew Jones slammed home the winning basket in Penn State's 57-55 upset of No. 16 Illinois on Tuesday marking his second-straight double-digit scoring game of the season as he has posted a total of 28 points (14.0 ppg) in consecutive wins vs. No. 18 Michigan State and No. 16 Illinois.
Big Ten leading scorer Talor Battle (20.9 ppg) posted a game-high 26 points in the game, marking the 14th-straight game in which he has scored in double-digits vs. a Top 25 opponent. Battle has averaged 18.8 ppg over that 14 game span vs. Top 25 teams and posted 20 or more points on five occasions. The 6-0 guard has posted 23 double-digit scoring games in 26 career games vs. Top 25 opponents and enters Saturday with 1,860 points as he closes in on Penn State's all-time scoring record of 2,138 set by Jesse Arnelle in 1955.
Arnelle's squad was the first and only other Nittany Lion team to win back-to-back games vs. Top 25 teams as Penn State downed No. 14 LSU and No. 6 Notre Dame on its way to the 1954 NCAA Final Four. That Penn State team had its streak ended by No. 2-ranked LaSalle, 69-54, in the NCAA Semifinals in Kansas City.
The current No. 2-ranked Buckeyes are of four remaining unbeaten teams in the nation and have won by an average of 23.8 ppg in posting a 17-0 record and 4-0 mark in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes have five players averaging double-figures and lead the Big Ten scoring 80.4 ppg and shooting 50.2 percent. Freshman All-American candidate Jared Sullinger leads the way posting 17.5 ppg and 10.1 rpg while recording eight double-doubles. OSU shoots 40 percent from three led by 1,000-point scorers Jon Diebler (53-105) and David Lighty (28-62) who are both hitting better than 45 percent from the arc. OSU downed Michigan 68-64 in its last outing and beat Minnesota (67-64) at home, one of only two OSU opponents ranked in the top 60 of the RPI (Florida & Minnesota) on the season.
The Buckeyes have won the last 13 straight meetings in the series with Penn State's last victory coming 64-47 in the Jordan Center in 2004. OSU leads the series 27-13 and is 15-4 in Columbus, winning 75-62 there last year and 75-67 in State College. The Buckeyes have won the last seven straight in Columbus by an average of 13 points per game. Penn State's last win in Columbus came in 2001, 78-75, also the last time the Lions made the NCAA Tournament.
For all the latest information, notes, pictures and related links on Penn State basketball follow Assistant Athletic Communications Director Brian Siegrist on Twitter (@PSUSTRETCH) and check GoPSUsports.com. The Nittany Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstatebasketball.