Penn State Travels To Illinois Thursday

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D.J. Newbill is the only Big Ten player to appear in the rankings for scoring, rebounds and assists in conference games.


D.J. Newbill is the only Big Ten player to appear in the rankings for scoring, rebounds and assists in conference games.

Feb. 20, 2013


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UNIVERSITY PARK, PA., FEB. 20, 2013 - Penn State (8-17; 0-13 Big Ten) will continue one of the closest recent series in the Big Ten when it travels to Illinois (19-8; 6-7 Big Ten) for an 8:15 p.m. (ET) tip Thursday on the Big Ten Network. Eight of the last 10 games in the series have been decided by five points or less and six by two or less, including last year's 54-52 Nittany Lion upset of No. 22-ranked Illinois in the Bryce Jordan Center.

Penn State is coming off a close, 79-71, loss at No. 4 Michigan on Sunday, a game in which Penn State led for 15 minutes of the first half and trailed by just one with nine minutes to play. The Lions 71 points on the heels of a 72-point outing vs. Iowa marked Penn State's first back-to-back 70-point games in Big Ten play since 2006.

The Last Meeting
Illinois52  
Penn State54W
January 19, 2012
University Park, Pa.
Penn State tops No. 22 Illinois, 54-52
Tim Frazier's 12-foot jumper with eight seconds to play delivered the first victory over a ranked opponent for coach Patrick Chambers as the Lions downed Illinois, 54-52, Thursday in the BJC.

Jermaine Marshall (Etters, Pa.) led the Lions in scoring for the 10th time on the season with 17 points while senior Sasa Borovnjak (Belgrade, Serbia) posted a career high 17 points and three assists. Borovjnak's strong play of late, he is averaging 10.0 ppg over his last five outings while shooting 60 percent from the floor, has given the Lions a strong third scoring option.

Sophomore Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn.) posted his third double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds at Michigan and continues to rank fourth in the Big Ten posting 7.1 rebounds per game.

Illinois will bring a four-game win streak into Thursday's game having Indiana (74-72), Minnesota (57-53), Purdue (79-59) and Northwestern (62-41) in its last four games. The Illini are led by the guard tandem of Brandon Paul (16.4 ppg) and D.J. Richardson (12.7 ppg), who both rank among the top three-point shooters in the league.

Penn State will get the weekend off before returning to the Jordan Center on Wednesday, Feb. 27 to face No. 7 Michigan for the second time in 10 days. That game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. tip on the Big Ten Network. It will be Senior Night with senior players Sasa Borovnjak and Nick Colella being honored pregame.

Single game tickets for men's basketball are available by calling 1-800-NITTANY or by visiting GoPSUsports.com/tickets or Ticketmaster. Single-game tickets for Nittany Lion games are $24 for lower bowl seats between the baselines, $18 for the lower bowl behind the baskets and upper level between the baselines and $15 for upper level behind the basket seats for adults and seniors. Youth tickets (18 and under) are $10, while Penn State student tickets (all commonwealth campuses) are $5.

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

PENN STATE (8-17; 0-13 Big Ten) at ILLINOIS (19-8; 6-7 Big Ten)

THURSDAY, FEB. 21, 2013 @ 8:15 P.M. (ET)

ASSEMBLY HALL (16,618)

CHAMPAIGN, ILL.

GAME INFO

TELEVISION: BTN: Dave Revsine & Jim Jackson

RADIO: Penn State Sports Network: Local (1450 AM); Steve Jones (pxp) & Dick Jerardi (analyst)

Sirius/XM: 94/190

LIVE STATS:

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COACHES:

PENN STATE: Patrick Chambers - 20-37 (2nd at PSU); 62-65 (4th Overall)

ILLINOIS: John Groce - 19-8 (1st at ILL); 104-64 (5th Overall)

RPI: PSU: 197; ILL: 29

NEXT UP:

After a weekend off, PSU will return to the Jordan Center to face Michigan for the second time in 10 days on Feb. 27. UM posted a 79-71 victory in Ann Arbor behind a season-best 29 points from Trey Burke and leads the series 28-11, having won the last five meetings. PSU is 6-11 vs. UM in State College, last winning, 73-58, in 2009. UM has won in its last three trips to the BJC.

THE GAME:

Penn State will continue a run of four of its final six regular season games on the road Thursday at Illinois. The Lions downed the Illini, 54-52, in the Jordan Center last year in the lone meeting. Eight of the last 10 meetings have been decided by five points or less and six by two points or less. This will be the lone regular season meeting this year and Penn State's first game at Illinois since dropping a 68-51 decision in 2011. Penn State is 5-11 all-time at Illinois, last winning there 38-33 in 2009, but has won three of the last five games there. Illinois leads the series 24-13, but PSU has won six of the last 10. Penn State is seeking its first conference win of the season and will look to end a 17-game road losing skid, dating to a victory at Boston College in November 2011, and a 15-game Big Ten road losing skid dating to a victory at Minnesota on March 6, 2011.

LIONS FIND OFFENSIVE BALANCE/POST 70 IN BACK-TO-BACK GAMES:

Penn State posted two of its best efforts of the season in close losses to Iowa (74-72) and at No. 4 Michigan (79-71) in its last two outings, logging 70 points in back-to-back Big Ten games for the first time since the 2006 season. The 71 points at Michigan marked the most in a Big Ten road game since an 81-70 win at Northwestern on Feb. 17, 2010. After playing the first 11 Big Ten games with no more than two players reaching double-figure scoring in a game and averaging 54.8 ppg, the Lions had three players vs. Iowa and four at Michigan reach the mark - Penn State's most since four scored in double-digits vs. New Hampshire on Dec. 23.

OVER THE LAST TWO GAMES:

• PSU is scoring 71.5 ppg, well above its season average of 61.2.

• The Lions are outshooting opponents 40% to 30% from three, and shooting well above their season average of 27.7% from the arc.

• PSU is shooting 44% from the floor vs. 38.6% for the season.

• PSU has posted season highs of 17 assists and 15 assists in the two games and is posting 16 assists vs. 9.5 turnovers in the games compared to a 9.6 to 12.6 mark on the year.

• Three Lions are posting better than 15 pts per game over the span: D.J. Newbill (18.5), Jermaine Marshall (15.5) and Sasa Borovnjak (15.5).

NOTES TO KNOW:

• 15 of Penn State's 31 Big Ten road wins have come in the state of Illinois. The Lions' five wins at Illinois rank second to their 10 at Northwestern for most at a Big Ten opponent.

D.J. Newbill is the only Big Ten player to appear in the conference statistical rankings for Big Ten games in scoring (4th), rebounding (18th) and assists (3rd).

D.J. Newbill is posting 18.2 ppg in his last five outings with two of his eight 20-point games on the year. He has scored in double digits in nine straight games.

Sasa Borovnjak's 17 points at Michigan were a career high and came one game after posting 14 vs. Iowa, which had previously marked his most ever in a Big Ten game. He is posting 12.0 ppg while shooting 62.5% from the floor in his last three games.

• PSU's 79-71 loss at No. 4 Michigan was the first B1G game the Lions did not trail by double-digits in on the year and the second they didn't trail at the half.

• Penn State has posted it two best assist totals on the season in the last two games posting 15 at Michigan and 17 vs. Iowa, the most in two seasons under coach Patrick Chambers.

• PSU shot a season-best 47.1% (8-17) from three vs. Iowa and tied a season high with 8 threes, marking the most in Big Ten play and second time over 40% from the arc on the year.

Ross Travis posted his third double-double of the season with 11 pts and 10 rebs at Michigan. It marked his sixth double-digit rebounding game, which ranks third in the Big Ten.

• Penn State's last three road opponents have averaged 30.0 ppg at the foul line.

• Newbill (10) or Marshall (10) have led the Lions in scoring in 20 of the 22 games since Tim Frazier went down with injury.

D.J. Newbill ranks third in the Big Ten with 167 free throw attempts trailing only Cody Zeller (191) and Aaron White (180). Brandon Paul (161) is the only other player within 25 attempts. Newbill has gotten to the foul line at least once in 52 of 55 career games.

• Newbill (4th, 16.2 ppg) and Marshall (5th, 15.0 ppg) are the 2nd highest scoring tandem in Big Ten games (31.2 ppg), behind Michigan's Trey Burke (2nd, 19.4) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (7th, 14.5), 33.9 ppg.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS:

The Illini bring a four-game win streak into Thursday's contest in Champaign where they are 10-4 on the year. Illinois is 6-7 in the Big Ten and 19-8 on the year and is led by the guard trio of Brandon Paul (16.4 ppg), D.J. Richardson (12.7 ppg) and Tracy Abrams (10.9 ppg). Paul ranks fourth in the Big Ten in scoring, while he (8th, 2.1) and Richardson (4th, 2.4) both rank among the top three-point shooters in the league making more than two a game and all three guards rank in the top 15 in steals in the Big Ten. Illinois is one of the top scoring teams in the league (4th, 71.5 ppg) and ranks second in threes per game (8.0), but ranks 11th giving up 65.4 ppg and allowing teams to shoot 34.1 percent from three. They lead the Big Ten with a +2.9 turnover margin

JACK OUT WITH STRESS FRACTURE:

Freshman forward Donovon Jack (6-9) was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right foot on Feb. 19 and will likely miss the remainder of the season. The injury typically requires a 3-4 week recovery period. Jack has played in 17 games, eight in Big Ten play, and is posting 1.7 ppg and 1.0 rpg in 6.6 minutes of action. He scored in three straight games to end the non-conference season, logging 17 points and 10 rebounds in the stretch including a season-high eight points vs. Delaware State. He score five points in the Lions Big Ten home opener vs. Indiana (1/7) and played a season-high 14 minutes at Iowa (1/31), but had not seen action since the Purdue game on Feb. 5.

DO IT ALL D.J.:

Sophomore D.J. Newbill was selected a team captain before he ever played a game for Penn State after he excelled in a redshirt season upon transferring from Southern Mississippi. With the loss of Tim Frazier to injury in the fourth game, he was thrust into point guard duties and in that role has produced in a major way in virtually every category for Penn State:

• He leads the team in scoring, assists, minutes, free throws and free throw attempts.

• He ranks second in rebounding and steals and is the team's top defender often assigned to corral an opponent's top threat, including match-ups such as guarding 6-8 Iowa forward Aaron White.

• He is a strong and vocal leader on and off the floor.

NEWBILL HITS GROOVE/LONE PLAYER TO APPEAR IN THREE BIG TEN RANKINGS:

Over his last eight games, sophomore guard D.J. Newbill is averaging 18.9 points, 4.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting 45-62 (72%) from the foul line. He has posted double-digit scoring in nine straight games, has three of his eight 20-point games on the year during the stretch (including season highs of 27 points vs. Michigan State and 26 vs. Iowa) and posted a career-best 3-of-5 (60%) from three vs. Iowa. He now stands fourth in Big Ten games in scoring (16.2), third in assists (4.1) and 18th in rebounding (5.2), THE ONLY PLAYER to appear in the rankings of those three categories in conference play.

WALK-ON MINUTES:

Three players that joined Penn State as walk-ons have seen significant action in Big Ten play. Nick Colella (now on scholarship), Kevin Montminy and Alan Wisniewski all have played first half minutes in the last three games, and in fact were all on the floor at once in the first half at No. 4 Michigan, and are part of the Lions' nine man rotation. Colella has started seven straight games and is averaging 26.2 mpg while posting 3.2 ppg and 3.0 rpg while playing in every Big Ten game. Montminy has seen action in 11 Big Ten games while playing 3.7 mpg, including a career high 12 vs. Northwestern and first half minutes in eight games. Wisniewski joined the rotation at Nebraska (2/9) and posted six points and eight rebounds. He has played first half minutes in each of the last three games.

70+ POINTS:

Penn State's three 70-point games in Big Ten play are its most since posting four in 2010. The Lions have seven 70-point plus outings on the year, equaling the seven posted last year, with one in Big Ten play.

FOUL LINE DEFICIT:

Penn State has gotten to the line an average of 20.5 times per game in the last nine games, but is being outscored 22.9-14.6 ppg at the foul line in the last nine games and trails Big Ten foes 12.5 to 20.6 ppg at the foul line overall, having been outscored at the foul line in every Big Ten game so far.

THE BIG TEN'S YOUNG HEAD COACHES:

Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers and Illinois' John Groce are the youngest head coaches in the Big Ten and two of six Big Ten head basketball coaches in their 40's. Chambers (42) was born in December of 1970 about 3 1/2 months after Purdue coach Matt Painter (42) who was born in late August of that year. Chambers is the second youngest coach in the Big Ten. Illinois' John Groce (41) was born in September of 1971 and is approximately nine months younger than Chambers. Other Big Ten coaches still in their 40's are Indiana's Tom Crean (46), Nebraska's Tim Miles (46) and Ohio State's Thad Matta (45).

Penn State head football coach Bill O'Brien (43) is also in his early 40's and is the second youngest head football coach in the Big Ten. Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald (38) is the youngest. There are seven Big Ten head football coaches in their 40's or younger.

BOROVNJAK BREAKS OUT IN FINAL CAMPAIGN:

Senior Sasa Borovnjak has broken out with the best basketball of his career in his final season in blue and white.

• He has significantly raised his scoring in recent Big Ten games posting 12.0 ppg and 62.5% shooting over his last three games.

• His 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting (77.8%) and three assists at No. 4 Michigan were both career highs and his first back-to-back double-digit scoring games in Big Ten play.

• His 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting (75%) vs. Iowa (2/14) in the previous game, had previously marked his most ever in a Big Ten game.

• He had nine points vs. No. 14 Ohio State and has posted seven or more in five of his last six games.

• In his fourth year in the program, having redshirted the 2010-11 campaign due to a knee injury suffered prior to the season, he is eligible for a fifth season of eligibility, but made the decision to make this his final season of collegiate competition and plans to graduate in May. Since discussing the decision with coach Patrick Chambers, he has played the best basketball of his career and started 17 straight games.

• Averaging 1.7 ppg and 2.4 rpg in the first seven games of the season prior to declaring this his final season, he has raised his averages to 7.7 ppg and 2.9 rpg in Big Ten games.

• He posted three-straight double-digit scoring games to close out the non-conference season, culminating with 14 vs. Duquesne on 7-of-9 shooting, and averaged 10.2 ppg over the final five non-conference games.

• He tied a career high with eight rebounds for the second time in three games vs. Delaware State and added 14 points for the best statistical game of his career. He followed with 11 points vs. New Hampshire for his first back-to-back double-digit scoring games.

TRAVIS GETS TO THE GLASS:

Sophomore Ross Travis has staked a claim as one of the top rebounders in the Big Ten posting SIX double-digit rebounding games on the season, including a career high tying 13 at Nebraska, 11 in the Big Ten opener at Wisconsin and 10 at No. 4 Michigan and leading PSU in rebounding 15 times.

• He ranks FOURTH in the Big Ten posting 7.1 rpg and his six double-digit rebounding games on the year rank third among Big Ten players.

• He posted his third double-double of the season, and first ever in Big Ten play, with 11 points and 10 rebounds at No. 4 Michigan (2/17).

• Having worked hard on his jump shot in the off-season, he has also asserted himself offensively posting back-to-back double-digit scoring outings for the first time in his career (12 at La Salle and 14 vs. Army) and has six double-digit scoring games on the year.

• He led Penn State in scoring for the first time on his career with 14 points vs. Indiana while taking a career high 17 field goal attempts and posted eight points and eight rebounds vs. Purdue.

• Travis scored eight of the Lions first 14 points at La Salle and seven of Penn State's first nine vs. Army while shooting 11-of-22 (50%) combined in the games.

• He logged his second career double-double with 14 points and 10 boards vs. Army.

• Posted first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds vs. Akron.

LAST TIME OUT: NO. 4 MICHIGAN 79, PENN STATE 71, Feb. 17, 2013 • Ann Arbor, Mich.

Penn State led for 15 minutes of the first half, was tied at 32 at the break and was within one, 55-54, with nine minutes to play but couldn't overcome a season high 29 points from UM's Trey Burke and a career best 21 from freshman Glenn Robinson III, falling 79-71 in Ann Arbor. A career high 17 points and three assists from Sasa Borovnjak and 17 from Jermaine Marshall led a PSU team that had a Big Ten season best four players score in double-figures, including a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds from Ross Travis. The Lions led by as many as eight in the first half. Michigan opened the second half with a 6-0 run, but PSU fired right back and tied the game at 38. UM scored 47 second half points, but never led by more than nine as PSU responded to several runs. A 9-2 PSU run had the Lions down one midway through the half. PSU battled within a six to eight point margin in the final five minutes but couldn't cut the lead below that.

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.

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