Jan. 17, 2014
|PENN STATE (9-9, 0-5 B1G) at PURDUE (12-5, 2-2 B1G)
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's basketball team will play its second road game in a row when it faces Purdue at 7 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU from Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. The Nittany Lions (9-9, 0-5 B1G) are in search of their first Big Ten win after falling at Michigan, 80-67, Tuesday, while the Boilermakers (12-5, 2-2 B1G) have won their last two conference matchups following a road win at Illinois Wednesday. Three of the next five PSU games will be aired on the ESPN family of networks.
PENN STATE SCOOP (TEAM)
- The Nittany Lions have four players scoring in double figures after 18 games with the team averaging 76.8 points per game, the fifth-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 (1,192 of 1,382) 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 (8 games), D.J. Newbill (5 games), Brandon Taylor (2 games), Johnson (2 games), Donovon Jack, Ross Travis and Allen Roberts (1 game).
- As a team, the Lions are shooting 74 percent from the free-throw line, the second-best showing among Big Ten teams ... Five 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 over the last four seasons when one of the current players secures a double-double and 9-0 when Tim Frazier completes the task.
NITTANY LION NUGGETS (PLAYERS)
- D.J. Newbill (17.3 ppg) and Tim Frazier (16.7 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 and assists.
- With six assists at Michigan Tuesday, Frazier took over the No. 2 place in career assists at Penn State ... He needs just 25 more for the all-time record held by Freddie Barnes (600; 1989-92).
- Frazier has the fifth-most assists of any NCAA Division I player (117) as of Friday and is 10th in the country in assists per game (6.5) ... Only B1G player in the Top 10 of scoring (16.7, 7th), assists (6.5, 1st) and steals (1.7, 6th).
- Newbill will play his 50th game for the Blue and White against Purdue Saturday ... He has started every game of his career (81), including 33 at Southern Mississippi before transferring.
- Newbill passed 1,000 career points at Duquesne (1,108), including 293 scored at Southern Mississippi ... He needs 185 more points to enter the PSU records books ... Newbill has emerged as one of the Lions' top 3-point scoring threat, tallying 27 on 65 attempts (.415).
- As a starter in the last three games, Geno Thorpe is the lone PSU player scoring at a higher clip (4.4 ppg) in league play than on the season overall (3.0 ppg).
- Donovon Jack has tallied 27 of his team-leading 35 blocks in the last nine games and went eight-consecutive games with multiple blocks to lead the team and stand in fourth in the B1G with 1.9 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 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. The Lions will close out action for the month at Ohio State at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 in Columbus, Ohio.
SCOUTING THE BOILERMAKERS
Purdue has won four of its last six games, including back-to-back Big Ten wins vs. Nebraska and at Illinois Wednesday night. A.J. Hammons had team-leading point (17) and rebound (8) totals in the road win vs. the Illini.
The Boilermakers are 12-5 on the season and 2-2 in the Big Ten, although they have the lowest strength of schedule (0.51) to date among conference teams and are in the bottom 20 percent in the nation (ESPN RPI).
Senior Terone Johnson leads Purdue with 13.4 points per game, while younger brother sophomore Ronnie Johnson is second with 11.5 and and average of 3.7 assists.
Hammons is the team's leading rebounder (6.9 rpg). As a team, Purdue has outrebounded each of its last five opponents - West Virginia, Ohio State, Minnesota and Nebraska - by a combined 40 rebounds for a +8.0 margin. The Boilermakers are second in rebounds per game (40.5) among conference teams in Big Ten play only.
VS. THE BOILERMAKERS
D.J. Newbill is the leading scorer among current players in the Purdue series. In two meetings last season, Newbill averaged 13.0 ppg with a team-high 17 in the 58-49 loss at home Feb. 5, 2013.
Purdue holds a 29-11 advantage in the all-time series with the Lions, including a 17-2 margin in games played at Mackey Arena. The last PSU win was a 65-45 victory Jan. 5, 2011 at the Jordan Center.
THREE NOTABALE GAMES
Jan. 5, 2011: Penn State posted the first Big Ten victory of the Patrick Chambers era with an impressive 65-45 victory in the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions were led by redshirt junior Billy Oliver, who posted a career-high 21 points on a personal-best 7-of-11 from three. Oliver's seven threes tied for the second-most for a Nittany Lion in a game Penn State history.
March 13, 2009: The Lions' last loss of the 2008-09 season came to Purdue, 79-65, in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis. Jamelle Cornley had 20 points to lead four Lions in double-figures, but 24th-ranked Boilermakers shot 63 percent in the first half to fuel the win. They went on to win the B1G tourney, while the Lions bounced back to earn the NIT Championship, the program's first and only national title to date.
Feb. 21, 1998: The Nittany Lions used Pete Lisicky's 19 points and Jarrett Stephens' 17 to upset No. 5 Purdue, 74-63, in the Bryce Jordan Center. The win was Penn State's first over a team ranked in the Top 5 in nearly 50 years.
LIONS' LAST TIME OUT: Nik Stauskas scored 13 of his 21 points in the second half, and Michigan remained unbeaten in Big Ten play with an 80-67 victory over Penn State Tuesday night in the Crisler Center. D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier scored 17 points apiece for Penn State (9-9, 0-5), but those two backcourt standouts weren't enough against a balanced Michigan team. The Wolverines have won six straight. [MORE: Page 37]