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Nov. 10, 2012
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's basketball team opened its 2012-13 season with a 65-58 win over Saint Francis on Friday night.
Penn State head coach Pat Chambers said that even though his team's game against the Red Flash was the first listed on the regular-season schedule, he considered it the second that the Lions have played this season. Chambers counted the exhibition game that the Lions played last Saturday as the team's first contest.
But after the home-opening game, Chambers said that his team is where he expects it to be.
"We have a lot of things to clean up, but this is November 9th," said Chambers.
Senior Tim Frazier led the Lions with 23 points while redshirt sophomore D.J. Newbill followed with another 16. As expected, Frazier did the majority of the ball handling for the evening and led the team in more than just scoring.
In fact, Saint Francis head coach Rob Krimmel tipped his hat to the veteran guard for an all-around top effort on the night.
"Tim proved that he's one of the best guys in the country tonight," said Krimmel. "He doesn't get rattled and he knows how to get himself to the foul line."
Chambers echoed Krimmel's recognition of Frazier and called his senior's performance behind the foul line a "phenomenal" one. Frazier shot 18 free throws and missed just one. As a team, Penn State hit 28 of 32 at the foul line to keep the edge over the Red Flash.
The Lions struggled to score from beyond the arc or in the paint early, and in turn had to find a way to create more possessions leading just 26-20 at the half.
"When you're not making shots, you've got to figure out what you're doing well," said Chambers. "I just told them to drive the basketball."
Penn State's attitude and hustle created those possessions and drew the fouls early and often, allowing the Lions to gain momentum. A combination of tough rebounding from Newbill and sophomore Ross Travis down low also sparked the Lions' offense.
Newbill posted seven rebounds while Travis finished with another nine. Five of Travis' nine were offensive boards, creating several second-chance possessions for his team.
"I told you about Ross Travis didn't I?" Chambers said to the media post-game. "He did some great things. He plays hard, he's athletic, and he had ten points and nine rebounds and got us some extra chances. The ball is going to start falling for him. He did exactly what he's supposed to be doing for us, and that's a near double-double."
At the end of the night, Chambers said that his team was happy to get the win but knows that there is still much work to be done.
"This is a different Penn State team, it really is," said Chambers. "We're not going to fold and we're not going to give up. We're going to keep grinding and we're going to keep playing and good things are going to happen if we keep that mentality."