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Feb. 16, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; Feb. 16, 2010 - The Nittany Lion basketball will travel to its most friendly Big Ten opposing gym Wednesday as Penn State takes on a Northwestern team (17-8; 6-7 Big Ten) that is coming off an overtime win over Minnesota in Evanston and trying to keep hope alive for the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament berth. The game tips off at 8:30 p.m. (ET) on the Big Ten Network.
Penn State is 8-8 all-time in Evanston, by far its best record at any Big Ten opponent, and has won six of the last seven meetings with the Wildcats and two of the last three in Evanston. However, this is a much different Northwestern team than when the two program's last met nearly 14 months ago in the Big Ten opener for both teams last year on Dec. 31, 2008.
Penn State (8-16; 0-12 Big Ten) will look to end a 12-game losing skid, its longest in four seasons, behind a red-hot Talor Battle (Albany, N.Y.) who is coming off his Big Ten leading fourth 30-point outing of the season and is averaging 23.5 ppg and shooting 43.6 percent from three over his last eight games. Battle has taken over the Big Ten scoring lead posting 20.3 ppg in conference games while also raising his assists to 4.25 apg, good for fourth in the Big Ten.
Battle has been getting offensive support from fellow junior David Jackson (Farrell, Pa.) who brings a career-best streak of six-straight double-figure scoring games into Wednesday and is averaging 10.6 ppg in Big Ten play.
Northwestern is led by 6-8, sophomore John Shurna who posts 17.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while knocking down 59 threes on the year. Shurna is one of five Wildcats with 30 or more threes on the year as Northwestern leads the Big Ten hitting 9.4 threes per game and is third shooting 36.5 percent from the arc. Shurna had 22 points in Sunday's victory over Minnesota and got help from 6-5, freshman Drew Crawford who posted 18 in the game as the Wildcats tied their record for regular season wins with 17.