Lions Announce Challenging Non-Conference Slate
July 18, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.; JULY 18, 2013 - Penn State men's basketball today unveiled a challenging 13-game non-conference slate that features match-ups with at least four teams that played in 2013 postseason tournaments and games in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Brooklyn, N.Y. Tip times and television arrangements will be announced at a later date.
Penn State will face at least seven teams that won 17 or more games and finished in the top 130 of the NCAA RPI rankings last season. The Lions will face five of those teams among eight non-conference home contests. Three of the Lions' non-conference opponents played in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, including Sweet 16 participant La Salle, which comes to the Bryce Jordan Center on Tues., Nov. 19. Four teams on the 2013-14 non-conference slate finished last season in the top 100 of the RPI and three of those won 20 or more games, including Bucknell (28-6), Pittsburgh (24-9) and La Salle (24-10).
"We are playing a very strong non-conference schedule that will test our team early and prepare us for Big Ten Conference play," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We are thrilled to be going back to play in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh again this season and are looking forward to some great games in a beautiful arena in the Barclays Classic in Brooklyn."
Fans interested in season tickets for the 2013-14 Penn State basketball season are encouraged to call 1-800-NITTANY.
Fans first chance to see the Nittany Lions in action will be on Sun., Nov. 3 when Penn State takes on Northwood (Fla.) in an exhibition contest at the Jordan Center. Northwood, an NAIA school in West Palm Beach, Florida, is coached by 2013 College Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Rollie Massimino. Massimino led Villanova to the 1985 NCAA Championship and coached the Wildcats for 19 seasons.
Penn State will officially open the season on Sat., Nov. 9 when it takes on a Wagner team that posted a 19-12 record last year. Bucknell returns to the Jordan Center for the second-straight year on Wed., Nov. 13. Penn State downed the Bison in a close 60-57 game last year. Bucknell went on to play in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The Lions will travel to Bucknell in 2014 as part of a four-year series that began last year.
Penn State will return to Philadelphia for the sixth time in the last seven seasons and for the third-straight year under Chambers when the Lions play at Penn on Sat., Nov. 16. It will be back-to-back Philadelphia opponents for Penn State when La Salle comes to the Jordan Center in the following game on Tues., Nov. 19.
Penn State will begin play in the 2013 Barclays Center Classic with a pair of games in the Jordan Center. The first will be a match-up with Longwood on Sun., Nov. 24 followed by a tip vs. Monmouth on Tues., Nov. 26. The Lions will continue play in the tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Fri., Nov. 29 when they take on a St. John's team that posted a 17-16 mark last year to reach the NIT. Penn State's second game at the Barclays Center will be played on Sat., Nov. 30 against either Mississippi, a 2013 NCAA Tournament participant that went 27-9 last year, or Georgia Tech, which posted a 16-15 mark last season.
The Lions will rekindle the most prolific series in program history on Tues., Dec. 3 when Penn State travels to Pittsburgh for an ACC/Big Ten Challenge match-up. It will be the 146th meeting between the programs, but the first since 2005. Penn State will seek its fifth win in its last seven Challenge games. The Lions lead the series, which began in 1906, 75-70.
"We are excited to continue a tremendous rivalry with such a long and storied tradition between our two Universities," Chambers said. "It's great that we can be a part of an event that also matches the top two basketball conferences in the nation."
Penn State will return home to face Marshall on Sat., Dec. 7 before making their second trip to Pittsburgh to take on Duquesne at CONSOL Energy Center on Wed., Dec. 11. That game is set for a 7:00 p.m. tip. It will mark the Lions' second time taking on Duquesne at CONSOL Energy Center in the last three seasons.
Penn State will close out the non-conference campaign with a pair of home games. The Lions will face Princeton on Sat., Dec. 14 and Mount St. Mary's on Sun., Dec. 22. Both teams posted 17 or more wins and finished in the top 130 of the RPI last season.
Penn State conducted the first of 10 NCAA allotted Foreign Tour team practice dates on July 15 and welcomed the return of All-Big Ten guard Tim Frazier (Houston, Texas) to 100 percent participation for the first time since suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury four games into the 2012-13 season. The Nittany Lions will play three games in Belgium on the Foreign Tour, which takes place August 10-17 and includes stops in London and Paris.
The Nittany Lions will return three of their top five scorers and rebounders from 2012-13 and the top two returning scorers in the Big Ten in guards D.J. Newbill (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Frazier who will form one of the most potent backcourts in the nation. Newbill, a rising junior, earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors while finishing fifth in the conference in scoring posting 16.3 ppg last year. Frazier, a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2012 after finishing second in the Big Ten posting 18.8 ppg, received a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA and a fifth season of eligibility after playing in just four games in 2012-13. Rising junior forward Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn.) is the second leading returning rebounder in the Big Ten after finishing fifth in the conference last year (7.4 rpg). He posted double-doubles in three of his last seven games and will join rising sophomore Brandon Taylor (Tabernacle, N.J.), who made 32 threes in his freshman season, to anchor the frontcourt. Penn State posted a 10-21 record, but knocked of No. 4-ranked and eventual NCAA Tournament runner-up Michigan (84-78) in late February in Chambers' second season at the helm.
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2013-14 NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE BREAKDOWN