Lions Open B1G Tourney vs. Minnesota

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March 11, 2014

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7-seed PENN STATE (15-16, 6-12 B1G) vs. 10-seed MINNESOTA (19-12, 8-10 B1G)
DATE Thursday, March 13
TIME 6:30 p.m.
LOCATION Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)
TV ESPN2 / Watch ESPN: Mike Tirico (xp), Dan Dakich (analysis), Allison Williams (sideline)
RADIO Listen: Penn State Sports Network: Steve Jones (pxp), Dick Jerardi (analysis)
GAME NOTES Penn State Tournament Notes Get Acrobat Reader | MinnesotaTournament Notes Get Acrobat Reader 
TOURNEY CENTRAL Big Ten Tournament Central
LIVE STATS Gametracker
BLOG Big Ten Tournament Central - Video Interviews, Written Content, Stats & More| Live Game Blog
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VOTE FRAZIER Senior CLASS Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -Penn State begins play as the No. 10 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, taking on seventh-seeded Minnesota at 6:30 p.m. Thursday from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. The game will air on ESPN2. The winner will play No. 2 seed Wisconsin at 6:30 p.m. Friday on BTN in the third of four quarterfinal match ups.

The Nittany Lions are 9-16 all-time in Big Ten tournament play and 5-8 when the annual event is played in Indianapolis.They have advanced to the semifinals three times (2000, 2001 and 2011) with one appearance in the championship game (2011).

AT A GLANCE
  • Penn State and Minnesota met in the regular-season finale Sunday with the Gophers earning the 81-63 victory. They will tipoff in Indy 3 days and 23 hours after the end of their last game.
  • D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier were selected by both the Big Ten coaches and media to the 2014 All-Big Ten second and third teams, respectively. Newbill wrapped up the regular season second in scoring in the Big Ten (17.8 ppg) while Frazier led the league in assists (5.5) and was in the Top 10 of scoring (15.5) and steals (1.6).
  • Penn State is 9-16 in the Big Ten Tournament since the event began in 1998. The Lions were the No. 12 seed each of the last two years and enter Thursday as the 10-seed for the first time.  They have now been seeded in each position, 6-12.
  • Six current players have seen action in the Big Ten Tournament, led by Tim Frazier's five starts in six games. He averages 11.6 points in five games, including a PSU tourney game record 26 against Indiana in 2012.
  • Tim 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 [MORE: Page 14]
  • With 15 wins, Penn State and head coach Patrick Chambers have reached a victory mark topped just three times in this millennium (21, 2000-01; 27, 2008-09; 19, 2010-11) ... The six Big Ten wins were surpassed just once in the previous four seasons.
  • Penn State is first in the Big Ten in two-point percentage defense (45.1) among league teams in conference action after holding eight B1G opponents to shooting percentages at or below 40%.
  • The Lions' five road wins were 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.
SCOUTING THE GOPHERS

Minnesota won two of its final three games of the season, including the finale over the Nittany Lions Sunday in Minneapolis. The seventh-seeded Golden Gophers are 19-12 on the season with a final 8-10 mark in the Big Ten. DeAndre Mathieu and Maurice Walker led four Minnesota players in double-figures with 16 points apiece Sunday.

As a team, Minnesota is producing 72.0 points per game with an average of nearly 16 coming from the free-throw line in each contest. Andre Hollins is the leading scorer for Minnesota at 14.6 points per game while Mathieu is second with 11.9 ppg and 4.4 apg, a helper total that ranks fourth in the league.

The Gophers are fourth in the Big Ten in assists with 13.8, earning them on 56 percent of the team's field goals. Three players have more than 70 on the season.

VS. MINNESOTA

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.

SERIES HISTORY

Penn State trails in the all-time series vs. Minnesota 10-31 with the Gophers taking each of the last four meetings. The Lions are 0-3 when facing Minnesota at a neutral site, falling twice in the Big Ten tournament (2002, 2010) and in the 1998 NIT.

Minnesota captured both regular-season meetings, knocking off the Lions 68-65 Jan. 8 in the Bryce Jordan Center and defeating them 81-63 in the regular-season finale Sunday in Williams Arena [Recaps/Box Scores: Pages 38 and 43]. Penn State's last wins in the series came in a season sweep in 2010-11 by identical 66-63 scores.

PENN STATE VS. MINNESOTA - Last Time in B1G Tourney

INDIANAPOLIS (March 11, 2010) - Penn State trailed by as many as 27 and never led in a 76-55 loss to No. 6 seeded Minnesota (19-12). Penn State, the No. 11 seed, ended the season at 11-20 as the Lions hit 39 percent from the floor and saw 14 turnovers turned into 21 points for the Gophers.

Minnesota hit a blistering 69 percent in the second half to extend an eight-point half time lead to 20 with 13:19 to play and then ran away from the Lions. The Gophers hit 58 percent for the game and 9-of-19 from three.

Four Nittany Lions scored 10 points in the game as Talor Battle, Chris Babb, David Jackson and Andrew Jones led the Penn State scoring ledger. Battle ended that season with 574 points, the sixth-best single-season mark in Lion history.

LAST TIME OUT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - D.J. Newbill had 15 of his 24 points in the second half for the Nittany Lions (15-16, 6-12), but Penn State fell to Minnesota 81-63 Sunday evening. The loss set up a rematch between the teams in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. The Nittany Lions tied for 10th in the conference standings with Northwestern and drew the higher seed because they beat the Wildcats earlier this week.

DeAndre Mathieu led the Golden Gophers (19-12, 8-10) with 16 points and six assists, Mo Walker scored 16 points on a career-best 8-for-10 free-throw shooting performance. The Gophers led by as much as 51-26 in the second half, until Newbill helped bring the Lions back to within nine points at 55-46. Tim Frazier added 14 points, going 10 for 12 from the foul line, for the Lions.

UP NEXT

The winner of the first-round contest between Penn State and Minnesota will face No. 2 seed Wisconsin in the third quarterfinal game Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on BTN. The Lions and Badgers met just once this season with then-No. 14 Wisconsin taking a 71-66 decision March 2 in University Park. D.J.  Newbill had a game-high 23 points in the loss, while Brandon Taylor led the team on the glass with a career-high 10 rebounds to go with nine points. As a team, the Nittany Lions outrebounded the Badgers 34-28, including an 11-7 advantage on the offensive glass.

Wisconsin has won the last five meetings in the series, although the Nittany Lions'  last win was in the Big Ten tournament. They captured a gritty 36-33 decision in the 2011 quarterfinals en route to the program's first and only championship game appearance.

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