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Lions Face No. 22 Illini Thursday In BJC

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Tim Frazier leads the Big Ten in assists with 6.6 apg.

Jan. 18, 2012

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DOLLAR DOG NIGHT

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA., JAN. 18, 2012 - Penn State (9-10; 1-5 Big Ten) and No. 22/25 Illinois (15-3; 4-1 Big Ten) will continue one of the closest series in the Big Ten over the last four years Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center in a 9:00 p.m. tip live on ESPN2. It is Dollar Dog Night at the BJC and Penn State will don third-color gray uniforms for the first time in program history. Penn State students wearing any gray Penn State T-shirt will be admitted free.

Five of the last eight games played between the two teams have been decided by two points or less, including four one-point games since 2008. The Nittany Lions knocked of No. 16-ranked Illinois, 57-55, last year in the Jordan Center on Andrew Jones' last second follow-up dunk of a Talor Battle driving lay-up attempt. Penn State has won three of its last four meetings with a ranked Illinois team, including close victories over the No. 16-ranked Illini (38-33) and No. 23-ranked Illini (64-63) in 2009.

Six games played between the two team in the Bryce Jordan Center since 1996 have been decided by three points or less with Penn State winning five of those.

Junior guard Tim Frazier (Houston, Texas) brings a string of three-straight 20-point or better scoring nights into Thursday's contest. Frazier's nine 20-point or better games on the season lead all Big Ten players and he is one of two Big Six conference players to rank in the top five of scoring, assists and steals in their respective conference's statistics.

Senior Cammeron Woodyard (Westminster, Md.) is coming off a career-best 22-point night vs. Minnesota on Sunday.

Penn State will hit the road for its next two games after Thursday, beginning with a noon tip at No. 11/13 Indiana on Sunday.


PENN STATE (9-10; 1-5 Big Ten) vs. #22/25 ILLINOIS (15-3; 4-1 Big Ten)

THURSDAY, JAN. 19, 2012 @ 9:00 P.M. (ET)

BRYCE JORDAN CENTER (15,261), UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.


GAME INFO

PROMOTIONS: $1 Dog Night

Going Gray: Penn State students get in free when wearing any gray Penn State T-shirt. The Nittany Lions will wear third-color gray uniforms for the first time in program history.

TELEVISION: ESPN2: Dave O'Brien & Stephen Bardo

RADIO: Penn State Sports Network; Local: 1450 AM; Sirius: CH 135; XM; CH 193

Steve Jones (p-by-p) & Dick Jerardi (analyst)

LIVE STATS & AUDIO:

GAMETRACKER | ALL-ACCESS AUDIO

COACHES:

PENN STATE: Patrick Chambers - 9-10 (1st at PSU); 51-38 (3rd Overall)

ILLINOIS: Bruce Weber - 208-89 (9th at ILL); 311-143 (14th Overall)

RPI: Penn State: #143; Illinois: #10

NEXT UP:

Penn State will hit the road for a pair of games starting Sunday with a noon tip at Indiana. Penn State has won in its last two trips to Assembly Hall, including a 69-60 victory in the Big Ten opener last year. The Lions have won six of the last eight games in the series, but fell 88-82 to IU in the BJC on Jan. 8. IU holds a 15-2 advantage in Bloomington and a 29-9 series lead overall.

THE GAME:

Penn State and Illinois split two meetings last year, both winning at home. The Lions claimed a 57-55 victory at the BJC, upsetting the No. 16 ranked Illini. Penn State has won three of the last four games in State College (all three wins by two points or less) and beaten the three of the last four ranked Illini teams it has faced. Penn State has won five of the last nine meetings overall. Five of the last eight games in the series have been decided by two points or less and four by a point. Six games played at the BJC since 1996 have been decided by three points or less, with PSU winning five. Illinois leads the series 24-12, 10-6 in State College. The Lady Lions also play at Illinois (8 p.m. ET) on Thursday.

GOING GRAY:

Penn State will wear third color gray uniforms for the first time in program history Thursday. Penn State students who wear any gray Penn State T-shirt get in free.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS:

The Illini are coming off a 79-74 upset of No. 5 Ohio State in Champaign behind 43 points from reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Brandon Paul. Illinois will have had eight days off prior to Thursday's game. Paul is leading the Big Ten scoring 20.5 ppg in conference games while posting a team-high 13.8 ppg on the season. The Illini (15-3) have won three-straight and stand tied at the top of the Big Ten standings at 4-1. Sophomore forward Meyers Leonard has twice earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors and is posting 13.0 ppg and 7.8 rpg (3rd in the Big Ten) and shooting 60%. Illinois is 2-1 on the road with wins at Northwestern (57-56) and Maryland (71-62) and a loss at Purdue (75-60). They rank third in Big Ten games shooting 48.4% and second blocking 4.4 shots per game.The Illini are posting 68.8 ppg and own a +4.2 rebound margin.

LAST YEAR VS. ILLINOIS:

Penn State knocked off No. 16 Illinois, 57-55, at the BJC when Andrew Jones slammed home a Talor Battle lay-up attempt that drew four Illini defenders in the closing seconds. The game marked back-to-back wins for PSU, which downed #18 Michigan State prior, over ranked foes for the first time since 1954. Jones had 12 points and eight rebounds in the game, while Battle led Penn State with 26 points, which included a 40-foot three in the second half. The Lions won despite shooting 35% and 7-of-24 from three, winning the rebounding 33-28 and forcing 15 Illini turnovers while grabbing nine steals. Mike Tisdale led the Illini with 16 points and 14 boards. Tim Frazier held Demitri McCamey to 10 points on 3-of-8. In the game in Champaign, Penn State battled an ice storm and 20-hour travel adventure landing in Evanston, Ind. and bussing 4 1/2 hours north through a massive winter storm. Jeff Brooks dislocated his shoulder with 1:39 to play in the first half and the Lions trailing by six. The Lions fell 68-51 while shooting 33%. Battle and Frazier each logged 12 points. Mike Davis led Illinois with 22.

FRAZIER POSTS THIRD-STRAIGHT 20-POINT OUTING:

Tim Frazier posted his third-straight and BIG TEN LEADING ninth game of the year with 20 points or more with 20 in a loss to Minnesota (1/15), this on the heals of a career-best 30 points at Nebraska (1/11). The 6-1 guard is averaging 23.7 ppg, 5.3 apg and 3.7 spg while shooting 22-of-24 (91.7%) from the foul line over his last three games, producing 34% of Penn State's scoring over the three games, up from 28% on the year. Frazier now has four 20-point games in Big Ten play. Frazier has led the Lions in scoring in 14 games and scored in double-digits in 17 on the year. He accomplished that just 10 times in his first two seasons, reaching the 20-point mark once with 22 in the Lions' Big Ten Tournament semifinal win over Michigan State last year.

Big Ten Leaders In 20-point Games on the Year

1. Tim Frazier, PSU 9

2. John Shurna, NU 8

3. William Buford, OSU & Drew Crawford, NU 6

FORCING TURNOVERS:

Penn State grabbed 11 steals and forced 17 turnovers vs. Minnesota, the Lions' 13th game of the year with seven or more steals, fifth straight, and seventh in the last eight games. Penn State ranks FIRST in Big Ten games grabbing 7.8 steals per game and is averaging 9.3 spg in its last three games. Tim Frazier is leading the way with 47 steals on the year and leading the Big Ten grabbing 3.2 spg in conference games, including 10 in his last two games. The Lions turned over two of the top teams in the country in protecting the ball. Northwestern had 12 turnovers in the meeting after entering the game averaging 9.9 per contest and Purdue had 12 after entering averaging just 9.7 per game. Frazier had a total of seven steals in those two games and had a career-high six steals at Nebraska as the Lions forced the Huskers into 17 turnovers.

WOODYARD'S CAREER NIGHT:

Senior Cammeron Woodyard posted a career-best 22 points on a career-best 8-of-8 from the foul line and 6-of-14 from the floor in a loss to Minnesota (1/15). Woodyard passed his previous career-best (14 points twice on the year) with 15 points and all eight free throws in the first half of the game. Woodyard has performed well at home averaging 11.4 ppg and posting eight of his nine double-digit scoring games on the year in the BJC. He is shooting 46% from the floor and 41% (18-44) from three in home games. Woodyard leads the team shooting 88% (22-25) from the foul line and has missed just one free throw (23-24) in nine games since Dec. 7.

THE FRIENDLY CONFINES:

Penn State logged a season-high 82 points vs. No. 12 Indiana on Jan. 8 at the BJC and is averaging 70.6 ppg, 42% from the floor and 35% from three at home. Penn State has scored more than 70 points in seven of 11 home games. The Lions have struggled offensively away from the BJC averaging just 54.4 ppg, 34% from the floor and 25% from three in eight contests while going 2-6. Penn State has scored more than 60 points (62 at B.C.) just once away from the BJC. The Lions shot 33% and scored 58 points in their last road outing, a 70-58 loss at Nebraska.

LAST TIME OUT:

Minnesota 80, Penn State 66, Jan. 15 • University Park, Pa.

Cam Woodyard scored a career-high 22 points and Tim Frazier had 20 to lead PSU, but the Lions shot just 30% and saw Minnesota get a career-high 23 points from freshman Joe Coleman who's 13-of-14 effort at the line was part of a 33-of-44 night at the foul line for UM, a Big Ten record for makes by a PSU opponent. The game saw 52 fouls and 72 free throws. Minnesota used an 11-0 run to open up a 44-33 lead with 16:43 to play. The Lions used an 8-0 run to get within three, 44-41, with 12:10 to play, but shot just 27% in the second half and couldn't maintain pace as the Gophers pushed the lead back to double-digits and as much as 16. The Lions closed the lead to 62-57 with 4:10 left, but trailed by double-digits in the final 2 1/2 minutes despite grabbing 11 steals and forcing 17 turnovers.

Season tickets for Nittany Lion Basketball are $200 for adults, $170 for faculty/staff and seniors, $80 for youth (18 and under) and $59 for students. Lady Lion Basketball season tickets are $117 for adults, $91 for faculty/staff and seniors and $52 for youth. Penn State students will be admitted for free to Lady Lion basketball games beginning this season.

PNC Flex Books are also available again this year for $99. The Flex Book gives fans 12 vouchers, 10 that can be redeemed in any combination for Nittany Lion and Lady Lion Basketball tickets throughout the year and two extra vouchers for the Nittany Lions' Coaches Vs. Cancer game on Feb. 11 vs. Nebraska and the Lady Lions' Think Pink game on Feb. 26 vs. Minnesota.

For all the latest information, notes, pictures and related links on Penn State basketball follow Associate Athletic Communications Director Brian Siegrist on Twitter (@PSUSTRETCH) and check GoPSUsports.com. The Nittany Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstatebasketball.

-NITTANY LIONS-

 

 

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