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November 9, 2017
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State Men's Basketball opens the 2017-18 season with a 4 p.m. contest against the Camels of Campbell on Friday, November 10 at the Bryce Jordan Center.
LISTEN: Steve Jones (pxp)
& Dick Jerardi (analyst)
Online at GoPSUsports.com/lionvision
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Penn State has won its last 11 of its last 12 season openers and five of six under Patrick Chambers. The Lions are 89-31 overall in season openers and 79-11 in home season openers.
PENN STATE OPENERS UNDER CHAMBERS
11/11/2016 vs. Albany L 81-88
11/14/2015 vs. VMI W 62-50
11/14/2014 vs. Morgan State W 61-48
11/9/2013 vs. Wagner W 74-62
11/9/2012 vs. St. Francis (Pa.) W 65-58
11/12/2011 vs. Hartford W 70-55
For the second-straight year, Penn State will be the first Big Ten team to take to the court with its 4 p.m. tipoff time.
FIRST GAME VS. CAMPBELL
This is the first-ever meeting in men's basketball between Penn State and Campbell. The Nittany Lions own a 4-0 combined record against teams from the Big South (1-0 Gardner Webb, 1-0 Longwood, 2-0 vs. Radford).
FIVE STARTERS RETURN
Coach Patrick Chambers begins his seventh season at the helm of the Penn State program and ninth year overall as a head coach. Five of the six top scorers from a year ago return for Penn State in 2017-18, accounting for nearly 80 percent of the team's total points last season. The 2016-17 freshmen trio of Carr (13.2 ppg), Stevens (12.7 ppg) and Watkins (7.7 ppg) contributed nearly half of the points.
Four newcomers are on the 2017-18 roster with three signees: forwards Trent Buttrick and John Harrar and guard Jamari Wheeler, and guard Taylor Nussbaum, who joined the team as a walk-on this fall.
PHILLY SIX NOW SEVEN
With the addition of freshman John Harrar from Wallingford, seven Nittany Lions on the 2017-18 roster hail from the Philadelphia area. Nazeer Bostick, Tony Carr, Shep Garner and Lamar Stevens represent Roman Catholic High School. Mike Watkins is from The Phelps School and Julian Moore is from Germantown Academy.
NEW TO THE NITTANY LIONS
Four teams on the 2017-18 schedule are first-time opponents for Penn State: Campbell, Montana, Oral Roberts and Binghamton. Coach Chambers faced Binghamton four times at Boston University with a 4-0 record against the Bearcats.
EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK
Penn State will play at least one scheduled basketball game on every day of the week during the 2017-18 season. Big Ten games also, for the first time ever, span the week. The Nittany Lions play Northwestern (1/5/18) in the BJC for their first-ever Friday regular-season conference game at home.
AND FIVE TIMES ON SUNDAY
Five Nittany Lion games are slated for Sundays, two during the nonconference portion of the schedule versus Farleigh Dickinson (11/12) in the BJC and at George Mason (12/17). The remaining three Sunday games are against league opponents, take place in February, and all are on the road (2/11 at Illinois, 2/18 at Purdue and 2/25 at Nebraska).
SCORE BY THE NUMBERS
Five of the six top scorers from a year ago return for Penn State in 2017-18, accounting for 77 percent of the team's total points last season. The 2016-17 freshmen trio of Tony Carr (13.2 ppg), Lamar Stevens (12.7 ppg) and Mike Watkins (7.7 ppg) contributed nearly half of the points.
Penn State is one of 16 teams in the nation returning 70 percent or more of its scoring, rebounding and assists.
Team Pts Reb Assts
Bradley 96.8 95.8 98.4
Colgate 93 93.5 90.1
Hawai'i 71 75 77
Idaho 84.8 74.6 81.5
Iowa 73.7 82 77
Minnesota 87.1 91.8 90.9
Navy 82 73 87
No. Kentucky 77 84 84
Oakland 82 82 82
Penn State 80.8 87.8 81.8
Saint Joseph's 89 82 88
Seton Hall 90.5 89.8 72
SFA 75 84.1 70.7
USC 97.9 96.6 99.3
Wichita State 91.2 91.2 83.5
CARR'S FRESHMAN 26
Tony Carr scored in double figures 26 times during his freshman season -- another Penn State rookie record to his credit. In addition to his 139 assists in 2016-17, he topped Jesse Arnelle (23) for most games with 10 or more points in a freshman season.
CARR'S FRESHMAN 28
When Carr was asked during media day if he had gained 28 pounds in the offseason, the Philadelphia, Pa., native was quick to quip that he gained 28 pounds of muscle to his frame, now weighing in at 204 for his sophomore season.
GARNER TO CRACK TOP 20
Shep Garner finished his junior season with 1,183 career points and is two points away from sole possession of the No. 20 spot on the Penn State career list. Garner is one point behind Ron Brown (1971-74) with 1,184 points. Monroe Brown (1988-92) is currently 19th with 1,244 career points.
Garner is also moving up the Nittany Lions' rankings for career three-point field goals made. Garner connected on 82 treys in 2016-17, which placed him 10th on the single-season list, and moved him into fifth place with 216 on the career list.
Mike Watkins contributed 90 blocked shots to Penn State's record team total in 2016-17. His 90 blocks in his rookie year set the freshman season record and his total ranks ninth on the career list. Brandon Taylor (2012-16) is in eighth place with 91 and Carvin Jefferson is in seventh with 99.
Against Duquesne, two players, Lamar Stevens (24) and Tony Carr (20), scored 20 or more points in a game for the first time since March 6, 2016, when Shep Garner (22) and Brandon Taylor (21) did so against Illinois.
With Stevens' and Carr's 20-plus points, it marked the first time since March 15, 1989 that two Penn State freshmen posted 20 or more points in the same game, when Freddie Barnes (24) and Monroe Brown (32) pulled off the feat against Murray State in the opening round of the NIT.
FIRST FOR EVERYTHING
Following the regular season, Penn State tied for 12th with Nebraska and took the No. 13 seed into the 2017 Big Ten Tournament in Washington, D.C. The Nittany Lions advanced to the second round with an overtime win over the Huskers, 76-67. It was the first overtime game in the tournament for both Penn State and Nebraska and the ninth overtime game in the tournament's 20-year history.
Penn State won a combined 13 Big Ten games in back-to-back seasons for just the seventh time in 25 years of Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions have had at least six league wins in consecutive years just three times previously. (93-95, 94-96 and 07-09). Penn State's Jan. 1 win over Rutgers marked its earliest Big Ten win since the 2010-2011 season.
Penn State has had 15 or more wins in each of the last four years. The Nittany Lions had not previously reached at least 15 wins in four-consecutive seasons since joining the Big Ten Conference. The Lions also have at least eight regular-season, non-conference wins in each of Chambers' six seasons.
The one-point loss to Ohio State at the BJC was Penn State's seventh Big Ten game in 2016-17 that was decided in overtime or by one possession. Five of last season's conference losses were decided by five points or less: at Michigan (-3, 69-72); Indiana (-3, 75-78); Rutgers (-2, 68-70); Purdue (-4, 70-74 ot) and Ohio State (-1, 70-71).
KEEP THEM BELOW 70
Penn State was 11-0 in 2016-17 when keeping its opponents below 70 points. The opposition averaged 63.1 points in the 15 games won with a +11.9 PSU scoring margin. All six Big Ten wins came when opponents were kept at or below 70 with two teams held under 60 points.
AND UNDER 40
The Nittany Lions were 9-1 this season when holding opponents under 40 percent shooting from the field. The lone loss was to then-No. 14 Purdue, who shot 39.7 percent Feb. 21 in the BJC.
Penn State holds a 55-18 record under head coach Patrick Chambers when limiting opponents to a sub-40 percent FG%.
TOPS IN TURNOVERS
Penn State led the Big Ten in forced turnovers. PSU opponents averaged 14.8 turnovers on the season and 14.5 in Big Ten play. Opponents had the same or more turnovers in all but four games.
Penn State's 2016-17 season-opening lineup featured three players with freshman eligibility: Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins. It is the first time in program history three rookies have started in the season opener, and the first time at least three freshmen have started in any game since the final three games of the 2007-08 season.
Penn State's Philadelphia natives showed out in front of their home crowd when Penn State played host to Michigan State Jan. 7 in the Palestra. They contributed 76 percent of the team's scoring in the 72-63 win, the Lions' first over the Spartans since 2011. Three of the Philadelphians (Stevens, Carr and Moore) finished in double-figure scoring.
START SPREADING THE NEWS
Penn State will travel to New York City twice this season with games against Pittsburgh (Nov. 20) and either Oklahoma State or Texas A&M (Nov. 21) as part of the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Nittany Lions return to NYC for the 2018 Big Ten Tournament at Madison Square Garden Feb. 28-March 4.
RANKED FOES TESTED IN BJC
Penn State won four-consecutive games against ranked teams in the Bryce Jordan Center: No. 21 Maryland (2/7/2017), No. 24 Minnesota (1/14/2017), No. 4 Iowa (2/17/16) and No. 22 Indiana (2/6/2016).
Seven of Chambers' eight wins over ranked teams have come in front of a home crowd at the BJC.
SHARE THE LOVE
Seven players led the team in scoring at least once this season and six players combined for 24 outings with 20 or more points. According to research conducted by Memphis, Penn State, UMass and Memphis are the only schools with six players to tally at least 20 points in a game in 2016-17.
Penn State guard and alumnus Tim Frazier (2009-14), who spent the 2016-17 season with the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans, was acquired by the Washington Wizards on the eve of the league's 2017 draft. In his final 15 games of last season, he dished out 76 assists while only committing 10 turnovers. He currently ranks second behind Russell Westbrook in the NBA's list of assist leaders per 36 minutes with 12.5. Nittany Lion D.J. Newbill inked a new contract for 2017-18 and will play with the NBL's New Zealand Sky City Breakers.
Other Nittany Lion alumni will compete for new teams this year as Talor Battle is now with Petrol Olimpja in Ljubljana, Slovenia and both Brandon Taylor (Jamtland, Sweden) and Donovan Jack (Bayer Giants Leverkusen) signed with new clubs in August.
PENN STATE SPORTS NETWORK
More than 40 radio stations in Pennsylvania and New York will carry Nittany Lion Basketball games during the 2017-18 season. Radio announcer Steve Jones, in his 36th year with Penn State, will handle the play-by-play with USBWA Hall of Famer Dick Jerardi of the Philadelphia Daily News serving as analyst. Broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to tip-off with the "Penn State Bookstore Pregame Show." Broadcasts conclude with the PA Propane Association Postgame Show post-game show featuring coach and player interviews, game statistics and scores from around the nation.
Broadcasts are also available on SiriusXM with specific channels for each game announced in game notes.
THE PENN STATE COACHES SHOW PRESENTED BY PEPSI
"The Penn State Coaches Show -- Featuring Pat Chambers and Presented by Pepsi" with Steve Jones and Roger Corey, airs live from Primanti Brothers in State College Thursday nights from 6:05-7:00 pm beginning November 30, 2017, and ending in early March. "The Penn State Coaches Show" and game broadcasts can also be heard for free via www.GoPSUsports.com/lionvision. The Penn State Sports Network is syndicated by Penn State Sports Properties, a property of Learfield.