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Feb. 23, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; Feb. 23, 2011 - Talor Battle will look to become the first player in Big Ten Conference history to record 2,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists Thursday when Penn State (14-12; 7-8 Big Ten) takes on Northwestern (16-10; 6-9 Big Ten) in a crucial Big Ten clash in Evanston, Ill. The game will tip at 9:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2.
Penn State will be looking for its eighth Big Ten win of the season and sole possession of fifth place in the conference standings, which currently show six teams with six to eight Big Ten wins and fighting for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The Lions downed the Wildcats 65-51 in the Jordan Center 11 days ago behind 19 points and 7-of-9 shooting from Battle.
Battle enters Thursday's contest having made 26 threes (5.2 per game) while shooting 47 percent from the arc in his last five games. He posted back-to-back career-high equaling totals of seven threes in his last two outings and is posting 24.0 ppg over the five game span. He'll bring a Big Ten leading 20.9 ppg scoring average into the game and needs just three assists for 500 on his career. He would be just the 10th player in NCAA Division 1 history to record 2,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists.
His backcourt mate Tim Frazier has played the best basketball of his career in the last six games posting 8.5 ppg, 5.9 apg and 4.0 rpg with a 2.7 assist-to-turnover ratio over that span. Frazier posted a season-high 12 points at Wisconsin on Sunday, the third time in the last six games he's reached that mark, and is 4-of-4 from three in his last two games. Frazier had 12 points and seven assists in Penn State's victory over Northwestern on Feb. 13.
The Wildcats are coming off a 70-64 victory at Indiana Saturday, a game in which they made 11 threes and 21-of-25 at the foul line. Michael Thompson scored 22 on 11-of-11 at the stripe and John Shurna added 19. It was the second-straight win for Northwestern, which downed Iowa 73-70 in Evanston in their last home game. The Wildcats are 6-9 in the Big Ten with sweeps of Iowa and Indiana and victories over Michigan and Illinois. The Wildcats rank last in field goal percentage (42.8) and field goal percentage defense (50.1) in Big Ten games but lead in threes made (9.0) and are second in assists (15.47) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.59). Thompson leads the team scoring 15.3 ppg in the Big Ten. Five players have more than 20 threes, led by Thompson's 63.
Penn State will continue a two-game road swing at Northwestern, the Lions third-straight Thursday night game. Penn State posted a 65-41 victory over Northwestern in State College on Feb. 13. The Wildcats hit just 2-of-21 from three in that game. Penn State has won five straight and nine of the last 10 in the series, including the last two in Evanston. Penn State is 9-8 all-time in Evanston winning 79-60 there last season behind 16 points from Battle and 57 percent shooting for the team. Penn State's average margin of victory in the last five games in the series has been 13.8 ppg.
Penn State will take the weekend off before returning to the Jordan Center on Tuesday, March 1 for a 9:00 p.m. showdown with No. 2 Ohio State. It will be "Senior Night" at the BJC with seniors Battle, Jeff Brooks, David Jackson, Andrew Jones and Steve Kirkpatrick taking the Jordan Center floor for their final regular season game.
Nittany Lion Basketball single-game tickets can be purchased by calling the ticket office at 814-865-5555, visiting GoPSUsports.com or through Ticketmaster. Single-game tickets are $18 for the lower bowl and $15 for upper level tickets for adults. Youth tickets (18 and under) are $7 for the lower bowl and $5 for upper level seating, while Penn State student tickets (University Park or branch campus) are $5 for each of the 19 home contests.
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.