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March 7, 2014
|PENN STATE (15-15, 6-11 B1G) at MINNESOTA (18-12, 7-10 B1G)
MINNEAPOLIS - Penn State wraps up the regular season vs. Minnesota at 5:15 p.m. ET/4:15 CT at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. The Lions are coming off an emphatic 59-32 win over Northwestern Thursday, the largest margin of victory over a Big Ten team since 2000.
The Golden Gophers are 18-12 on the season and 7-10 in the Big Ten after falling to Michigan 66-56 March 1 in Ann Arbor.
AT A GLANCE
- With 15 wins, Penn State and head coach Patrick Chambers have reached a victory mark topped just three times in this millenium (21, 2000-01; 27, 2008-09; 19, 2010-11) ... The six Big Ten wins have been topped just once in the previous four seasons.
- Penn State is first in the Big Ten in two-point percentage defense (43.9) among league teams in conference action after holding eight B1G opponents to shooting percentages at or below 40%. The Lions are third in the Big Ten in total field-goal defense with opponents hitting 41 percent of their shots.
- The Lions’ five road wins to date are the most since 2008-09 when they won six. They have won three of their last five away games. Penn State has won three Big Ten road games just seven times in 21 previous seasons in the conference.
- Penn State has had six one-possession games in Big Ten play, the most of any conference team. Nine of Penn State’s league games have been decided by a combined 25 points (average of 2.8).
- With a 23-point outing vs. Wisconsin March 2, D.J. Newbill became Penn State’s 31st 1,000-point scorer and now ranks 30th all-time in career scoring with 1,020 points.
- Newbill also reached 500 points for the season vs. the Badgers (now has 528), becoming fourth PSU player to reach 500-plus points in multiple campaigns (504 in 2012-13).
- Penn State’s career record holder in assists, Tim Frazier became just the second Big Ten player in league history to reach 1,000 points (1,503), 600 assists (628) and 500 rebounds (503).
- Frazier is one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, given annually to one student-athlete with notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. VOTE: bit.ly/Vote4Frazier
SCOUTING THE GOPHERS
Led by first-year coach Richard Pitino, the Golden Gophers are coming off a midweek bye with an 18-12 record on the season and 7-10 mark in the Big Ten after falling to Michigan 66-56 March 1 in Ann Arbor. Austin Hollins led Minnesota with 16 points, while Andre Hollins had 10 on 3-of-10 shooting.
After dropping seven of their last 10 games, Minnesota is producing 76.5 points per game2with an average of 18 coming from the free-throw line in each contest. Andre Hollins is the leading scorer for Minnesota at 14.6 points per game while DeAndrew Mathieu is second with 11.8 ppg and 4.3 apg, a helper total that ranks fourth in the league. As a team, the Gophers are fourth in the Big Ten in assists with 13.8, earning them on 56 percent of the team’s field goals.
Tim Frazier is the leading scorer in the series with 10.1 ppg in seven career meetings, followed closely by Minnesota native Ross Travis with 10 ppg and 8.0 rpg in three games. Frazier has put up 20 points twice, including the first meeting this season Jan. 8.
Both Ross Travis and Graham Woodward are Minnesota natives and hail from suburbs of Minneapolis. Woodward, a finalist for Minnesota Mr. Basketball, grew up in Edina (12 miles from Williams Arena), while Travis was the top in-state prospect in 2011, and is a product of Chaska (28 miles).
Penn State trails in the all-time series vs. Minnesota 10-30 with the Gophers taking each of the last three meetings. The Lions are 2-17 when playing in The Barn, winning games in 2001 and 2011.
Led by 20 points from Tim Frazier, the Lions fell to Minnesota, 68-65, in the Bryce Jordan Center Jan. 8. It was the first of three one-possession losses for the team [Recap/Box Score: Page 36]. Penn State’s last wins in the series came in a season sweep in 2010-11 by identical 66-63 scores.
PENN STATE AT MINNESOTA (Last Time in the The Barn)
MINNEAPOLIS (March 2, 2013) - Trevor Mbakwe had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Minnesota held Penn State scoreless for the first 11 minutes of the game to cruise to a 73-44 victory.
Julian Welch had 10 points and seven assists and Rodney Williams had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Golden Gophers (20-9, 8-8 Big Ten). D.J. Newbill scored 15 points for Penn State (9-19, 1-15) but made just 2 of 16 field goals. The Lions trailed 16-0 before getting their first basket of the game with 8:42 to go in the half.
THREE NOTABALE GAMES
March 6, 2011 (PSU, 66-63): Penn State used 20-point games and clutch threes from Talor Battle and Jeff Brooks to down Minnesota, 66-63, in Minneapolis, the Nittany Lions first win at Williams Arena since 2001.
Jan. 7, 2004 (PSU, 75-72): Penn State earned its lone win in the midst of a 14-game stretch vs. the Gophers, knocking them off 75-72 in the Bryce Jordan Center to open the Big Ten campaign. Jan Jagla had 28 points.
Jan. 11, 1996 (PSU, 76-61): The Lions downed the Gophers to win the inaugural game at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park and during the same week, earned their first Associated Press national ranking in 31 years, at No. 20.
LAST TIME OUT
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) - D.J. Newbill scored 12 points and Penn State’s zone defense stifled Northwestern in the Nittany Lions’ 59-32 Big Ten win Thursday at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Penn State’s 2-3 zone defense frustrated Northwestern the entire game. The Wildcats’ 32 points were a season low and the fewest scored by any team in Big Ten play.
Northwestern shot 23.3 percent from the field and went 3 of 22 behind the arc (season-low 13.6 percent). Balanced scoring helped the Nittany Lions (15-15, 6-11 Big Ten) pick apart Northwestern’s defense. Tim Frazier and Brandon Taylor, each of whom scored 11 points, were two of eight different players to score for Penn State. The Nittany Lions shot 50 percent from the field. Penn State’s five road wins are the most since 2008-09 when they won six.
The Nittany Lions await their seed for the 2014 Big Ten tournament which runs Thursday through Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Penn State enters the final weekend of regular-season play with the chance to be seeded anywhere between Nos. 8 and 11, and will take the court in one of four first-round games Thursday. Seeding will be announced at the conclusion of games Sunday.