Penn State Takes On Northwestern Saturday

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Cammeron Woodyard is averaging 11.6 ppg at home on the year.


Cammeron Woodyard is averaging 11.6 ppg at home on the year.

Feb. 24, 2012

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UNIVERSITY PARK, PA., FEB. 24, 2012 - Having won three of its last four home games, Penn State (12-16; 4-11 Big Ten) will return to the Bryce Jordan Center floor Saturday for a 9:00 p.m. tip vs. Northwestern (16-11; 6-9 Big Ten) live on ESPNU.

An Apple iPad, Beats by Dr. Dre headphones and five student season tickets for the 2012 Penn State football season are among the great prizes Penn State students can win at the game. Penn State will offer an incredible group ticket deal of $1 tickets for registered Penn State student groups of 20 or more to attend the game. All students in attendance are eligible to win the prizes listed above as well as Penn State basketball gear throughout the night.

Saturday night's halftime will feature the jaw dropping performance of the Russian Bar Trio, which was featured on "America's Got Talent" and has toured the nation astounding audiences.

Saturday will be a battle between the conference's top two scorers. Northwestern's John Shurna leads the league posting 20.4 ppg in conference play while Penn State's Tim Frazier is just behind at 19.7 ppg. Frazier had 14 20-point games on the year to lead the conference while Shurna has 13.

Penn State returns to the floor after six days off following a loss at Wisconsin last Sunday. Northwestern will be trying to keep its hopes alive for the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament bid after losing an overtime heartbreaker to Michigan, 67-55, Tuesday in Evanston. Penn State has won 10 of the last 12 games in the series and is 15-2 at home vs. Northwestern, which last won in the Jordan Center in 2002.

Penn State will hit the road Wednesday for its final road game of the season at Purdue. The game with the Boilermakers will tip at 6:30 p.m. on the Big Ten Network. The Nittany Lions final home game of the season vs. Michigan on Sunday, March 4 has been set for a 1:00 p.m. tip on ESPN.


PENN STATE (12-16; 4-11 Big Ten) vs. NORTHWESTERN (16-11; 6-9 Big Ten)

SATURDAY, FEB. 25, 2012 @ 9:00 P.M. (ET)

BRYCE JORDAN CENTER (15,261)

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.


GAME INFO

TELEVISION: ESPNU: Jim Barbar & David Kaplan

RADIO: Penn State Sports Network; Local: 1450 AM; Sirius: CH 85; XM; CH 85

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

LIVE STATS & AUDIO:

GAMETRACKER | ALL-ACCESS AUDIO

COACHES:

PENN STATE: Patrick Chambers - 12-16 (1st at PSU); 54-44 (3rd Overall)

NORTHWESTERN: Bill Carmody - 176-189 (12th at NU); 268-213 (16th Overall)

RPI: Penn State: #133; Northwestern: #43

NEXT UP:

Penn State will play its last road game of the year at Purdue, as PSU looks to avoid the 6th winless Big Ten road campaign in PSU history and 1st since 2007. The Lions posted a 65-45 victory over Purdue in the BJC on Jan. 5, but are 2-15 all-time at PU and trail the all-time series 26-11. PSU has lost 5-straight in Mackey, including on a buzzer beater, 63-62, last year. The Lions last won at Purdue, 69-60, in 2006.

THE GAME:

Penn State will return to the floor after six days off to face Northwestern Saturday in the Jordan Center. Penn State has won three of its last four home games and four of its seven Big Ten home games to date. Penn State fell at Northwestern, 68-56, on Jan. 1 in the second Big Ten game of the season. Penn State leads the overall series 26-13 and is 15-2 at home vs. the Wildcats who last won in the BJC in 2002. Penn State has won 10 of the last 12 meetings and seven straight in the BJC, including a 65-41 win last year.

SCOUTING NORTHWESTERN:

The Wildcats (16-11) are looking to secure the first NCAA Tournament bid in program history, but are coming off a 67-55 overtime loss to No. 11 Michigan in Evanston on Tuesday and have lost three of their last four games. John Shurna, NU's all-time leading scorer, led the Wildcats with 14 points in that game and enters Saturday as the leading scorer in the Big Ten posting 20.4 ppg in conference play. His is just behind Tim Frazier with 13 20-point games on the year and leads the Big Ten making 2.7 threes per game. Forward Drew Crawford (16.2 ppg) joins him averaging double-figures for an NU offense that posts 69.5 ppg and ranks second in Big Ten games hitting 38.3% from three. Four NU players have 30 or more threes. NU ranks third is assists (13.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2) in the Big Ten, but among the bottom of Big Ten teams in rebounding. The Wildcats are 2-7 in road games on the year, 1-6 in the Big Ten with a win at Illinois.

LAST TIME VS. NU:

Penn State shot just 25% in the first half but found itself leading, 26-23, at the half in its second Big Ten game under coach Patrick Chambers. The Wildcats hit 10 of their first 11 and a blistering 71% from the floor and 6-of-10 from three in the second half to out-score Penn State 45-30 in the final 20 minutes and claim a 68-56 victory in Evanston. Penn State shot 45% in the second half, but just 34% for the game, getting a team-high 16 points from Tim Frazier. The Lions won the rebounding battle 36-27, but turned it over 15 times leading to 18 NU points. Drew Crawford posted 21 points and freshman Dave Sobolewski 20 to lead the Wildcats who also got 17 points from John Shurna and 11 boards from Luka Mirkovic. The Lions top three scorers all produced with Jermaine Marshall adding 13 and Cam Woodyard 11. The game saw nine ties and nine led changes and was tied at 40 with 13:13 to play when NU went on an 8-0 run.

HOME DEFENSE:

In winning three of its last four home games, Penn State has allowed opponents just 54.8 ppg and shoot 37.6% shooting from the floor and 30.4% from three in its last four home games. The Lions led at the half in all four games, including double-digit margins over Nebraska (10) and Iowa (14) and a six-point lead over No. 19 Wisconsin (23-17) and two-point margin over No. 22 Illinois (25-23). Penn State has out-scored opponents 122-90 in the first half of the last four home games.

FRAZIER POSTS FIRST-EVER 500, 150, 50 SEASON WITH 14th 20-POINT GAME:

Tim Frazier's 20 points in a loss at Wisconsin on Sunday marked his Big Ten leading 14th 20-point game of the season and made him the FIRST PENN STATE PLAYER EVER to eclipse 500 points, 150 assists and 50 steals in the same year. Frazier enters Saturday with 518 points (12th all-time at PSU), 175 assists (5th) and 62 steals (8th) on the year - just four points shy of becoming the FIRST LION EVER to post a top 10 season in scoring, assists and steals in the same year. He is currently SECOND among active career assist leaders in the Big Ten with 421 (Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor leads with 431). Frazier is just the THIRD Lion ever to eclipse 400 points and 150 assists in a season - joining Talor Battle (635 points & 189 assists in 2009) and Joe Crispin (649 points & 178 assists in 2000).

MORE FRAZIER MILESTONES:

Tim Frazier is on pace to join to join Ron Brown (1972) and Talor Battle (2010) as just THE THIRD PENN STATE PLAYER EVER to lead the team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals in the same season. Brown led Penn State with 434 points (18.1), 224 rebounds (9.3), 110 assists (4.6) and 75 steals (3.1) in 1972 as the Lions went 17-8 under coach John Bach. Battle led the Lions with 574 points (18.5), 165 rebounds (5.3), 129 assists (4-2) and 34 steals (1.1) as PSU went 11-20. Frazier, who leads the Lions posting 4.9 rebounds per game, could also become just the fourth guard in the modern era (since 1950) to lead Penn State in rebounding, joining Battle (2010), Brown (1972) and Jeff Persson (1968).

RIGHT AT HOME:

Cammeron Woodyard is posting 14.2 ppg and shooting 45.6% from the floor and 44% (11-of-25) from three in his last five home games. Woodyard has logged double-digit scoring in each of the last two and in 11 of 15 home games overall on the year.

BACK-TO-BACK WINS BEGIN FAVORABLE FINISH:

Penn State began a regular season finish of four of its final six games at home with back-to-back wins over Nebraska (67-51) and Iowa (69-64). It marked Penn State's first back-to-back wins since downing Mount St. Mary's and Cornell on Dec. 18 and 21. The Lions are shooting and scoring much better at home on the year, posting 42% and averaging 67.4 ppg on the year compared to 35% and 55.3 ppg away from the BJC. After facing five ranked foes in their previous six games and playing seven their first 12 Big Ten games vs. teams in the top half of the Big Ten, the Lions play four teams in the bottom half (three at home) in their final six conference games.

RISING TO BIG TEN CHALLENGE:

Despite being, at times, the nearly singular focus of every opposing defense and playing in the No. 1 RPI rated conference in the nation containing the three most efficient defensive teams in the country (OSU, WISC & MSU) according to Ken Pomeroy, Tim Frazier has scored in double-digits in 18-straight games and EVERY GAME in Big Ten play. TEN TIMES in Big Ten play he has exceeded his season scoring average of 18.5 ppg, which ranks second in the Big Ten, and SIX TIMES he has exceeded his Big Ten leading assist average of 6.3 apg. He has led the Lions in scoring in 22 games on the year, including THE LAST EIGHT-STRAIGHT AND 12 TIMES IN 15 BIG TEN GAMES. He is averaging 20.6 ppg while shooting 44% in eight Big Ten road games.

GRAHAM MAKES BIG GAINS:

Redshirt freshman Jon Graham has made huge strides in his first season on the court becoming a solid defender and rebounder and a valuable scorer in the post.

• Posted back-to-back games with a career high in points (10 vs. Iowa) and rebounds (10 at Wisconsin) in late February.

• Nearly posted a double-double logging a career-best 10 rebounds and nine points in a career-high 35 minutes in a loss at Wisconsin (2/19).

• Posted a career-high 10 points and 27 minutes in a victory over Iowa (2/16), going a perfect 3-for-3 from the floor and 4-of-4 at the foul line, including both ends of a clutch one-and-one with 24 seconds remaining to extend a three-point lead to five. Added six boards and two blocks. His father, Ernie Graham, had his No. 25 retired at Maryland on the same night.

• Has started 13 straight games

• Has posted 25 boards in the last four games, 6.25 rpg.

LAST TIME OUT:

#15 WISCONSIN 65, PENN STATE 55, Feb. 19 • Madison, Wisc.

Penn State couldn't overcome a Wisconsin team that hit 7-of-14 from three in the first half and 11-of-22 in the game and fell for the 14th-straight time in Madison. Penn State out-scored UW 32-8 in the paint and got 20 points from Tim Frazier, but trailed 35-21 at the half after UW hit 48% in the first half to the Lions 35% and out-scored the Lions 21-3 at the arc, hitting a three in five-straight possessions at one point. UW extended its lead to 20 with 11:55 to play before PSU mounted a 17-2 run to get within five, 51-46, with 5:48 to play. A pair of Jared Berggren threes thwarted the Lions' comeback. Josh Gasser led UW with 15 points on 3-of-5 from three. Berggren had 13 on 3-of-3. Jon Graham has a career-best 10 rebounds to go with nine points in a career-high 35 minutes for PSU.

All of Penn State's games can be heard live on the Penn State Sports Network throughout Pennsylvania with Steve Jones and Dick Jerardi calling the action. "The Penn State Basketball Show" featuring Nittany Lion coach Patrick Chambers and Steve Jones airs each Thursday live from Damon's Grill in State College. Fans are encouraged to attend the live broadcast or call in their questions for the coach at 1-800-52LIONS.

Nittany Lion Basketball single-game tickets or group tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-NITTANY, 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. Penn State also offers special basketball group ticket rates for groups of 15 fans or more. Nittany Lion group rates are $10 for adults and $5 for youth.

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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