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July 31, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State men’s basketball team begins a two-game off-campus series with Drexel by taking on the Dragons Saturday, Dec. 20 at the soon-to-open PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the teams announced Thursday in conjunction with the arena. The game is the first college basketball game to be announced for the Lehigh Valley’s new multi-purpose venue.
The matchup in the PPL Center is a home game for Penn State, who enters the season with four returning starters from the squad that made its first postseason appearance in three years. The Lions will take on Drexel in 2015 at a to be determined date in a Philadelphia-area arena.
Tickets for the Penn State-Drexel contest in Allentown will be available from the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office in early fall, as well as from the PPL Center’s box office. All Penn State fans, including students, who wish to sit in the designated Penn State sections must purchase directly from Penn State.
“We are excited to play at the new PPL Center in Allentown,” Patrick Chambers, fourth-year Penn State head coach, said. “With so many Penn State fans and alumni spread throughout the state, anytime we have a chance to play a game in front of them is something we will explore. We hope they will take advantage of this opportunity to come out as we take on a talented and well-coached team in Drexel.”
Led by the Big Ten’s second leading scorer and All-Big Ten guard D.J. Newbill’s 17.8 points per game, Penn State’s returning players account for more than 70 percent of scoring and rebounds from a year ago. The 2013-14 Nittany Lions posted win totals, both overall (16) and in the Big Ten (6), among the highest in the last 15 years and had a total of 12 games decided by five or fewer points.
During the 2013-14 season, Drexel finished 16-14. The Dragons return eight letterwinners, including Damion Lee, a Second Team All-CAA performer two years ago. Lee missed most of last season with a knee injury.
“We look forward to playing at the brand new PPL Center,” Bruiser Flint, Drexel head coach, said. “Our players are excited to have the opportunity to play at the state-of-the-art facility. We believe this game will be an exciting showcase for college basketball fans in the state of Pennsylvania.”
Though the teams have not met since 1992, Penn State is 4-0 all-time vs. Drexel and 3-0 as the home team. The last meeting was a 73-64 win for the Nittany Lions Dec. 21, 1992 in Rec Hall. John Amaechi had the first 20-point game of his career in the win.
The news of the Drexel series adds to previously confirmed information regarding Penn State’s 2014-15 schedule, Chambers’ fourth season in University Park, with the Lions poised to compete in the 2014 Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C., Nov. 20-23, in addition to hosting Virginia Tech Dec. 3 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and George Washington Dec. 14.
Russ Potts Productions, Inc. has organized and promoted over 800 sporting events including some of the biggest college basketball and college football events in the country. RPPI was founded in 1982 and is the oldest and longest standing promoter of sporting events in the Nation. In addition to the Penn State vs. Drexel game this fall, this year RPPI is also organizing the Notre Dame vs. Navy football game at FedExField on Nov 1st and the Men Against Breast Cancer Classic Men’s Basketball Event at Kent State. Highlighted basketball events of the past include Georgetown vs. Virginia in 1982 (Sampson vs. Ewing) and LSU vs. Georgetown in 1989 at the New Orleans Superdome (attendance of over 66,000). Future event highlights in college football include, West Virginia vs. BYU at FedExField in 2016, Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia at FedExField in 2017, and Texas vs. Maryland at FedExField in 2018. Please visit www.rppi.net for more information.
PPL Center (pplcenter.com) is a state-of-the-art multipurpose arena currently under construction in downtown Allentown, Pa. The arena will seat more than 10,000 for concerts and more than 8,500 for Phantoms professional hockey games, making it the region’s largest events venue. The amenities-packed PPL Center will host more than 140 events each year, offering something for everyone, including the Phantoms, the AHL affiliate of the NHL Philadelphia Flyers, live concerts, family shows, trade shows, figure skating events, youth sports, high school and collegiate events, Disney on Ice, conferences, graduations and many more events. PPL Center will be the heart of the Lehigh Valley and is currently the main catalyst to the revitalization and growth of downtown Allentown.