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Lions Open B1G Play With No. 5 Michigan State

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Dec. 29, 2013

Penn State (9-4) vs. Michigan State (11-1)
DATE Tuesday, Dec. 31
TIME 5:01 p.m. ET
LOCATION Bryce Jordan Center (15,261)
TV BTN/BTN2Go: Eric Collins (pxp), Jim Jackson (analysis) 
RADIO Listen: Penn State Sports Network: Steve Jones (pxp), Dick Jerardi (analysis)
GAME NOTES Penn State Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Michigan State Notes Get Acrobat Reader
LIVE STATS Gametracker
BLOG Preview: Breaking Down the B1G Opener
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's basketball team opens its 22nd season of Big Ten conference play when it hosts No. 5/5 Michigan State at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Bryce Jordan Center.  Winners of three of their last four, the Nittany Lions capped off their best non-conference record (9-4) in five years with a 92-82 win over Mount St. Mary's before the holiday break and open the Big Ten slate at home for the first time since that same 2008-09 season.


  • Present your 2014 First Night button for $5 admission at the gate Tuesday. More more information on where to purchase the button and other First Night activities, CLICK HERE
  • Fans in attendance will receive New Year's hats, glasses, tiaras and beads to start off their celebrations.

Penn State has implemented a limited bag policy at all home athletic events this season. One clear plastic one-gallon plastic bag per person will be permitted for medical needs, child care needs and general items as needed. Items that can fit in a pocket should remain in patrons' pockets (i.e. keys, cell phone, wallet, glasses, camera, sunscreen, lip balm, make-up). General items of this nature, including those that don't fit in patrons' pocket, can also be placed in a clear plastic one-gallon plastic bag. All clear bags will be inspected through the bag and article check stations as in prior years.


  • The Nittany Lions have four players scoring in double figures after 13 games with the team averaging 81.2 points per game, more than 17 points more than they scored during non-conference play last season (64.0) and on pace to the highest-scoring output in program history (since 1965).           
  • The Nittany Lions have the second-highest field-goal percentage among Big Ten teams (.477), up over 8 percent from a year ago. As a unit, the starting five are all shooting at a higher clip than last season, by an average of nearly 9 percentage points.
  • With John Johnson's team-leading 20 points vs. Mount St. Mary's, seven different PSU players have led the team or tied for the lead in scoring through the first 13 games of the year: Tim Frazier (6 games), D.J. Newbill (3 games), Johnson, Donovon Jack, Ross Travis, Allen Roberts and Brandon Taylor (1 game).
  • As a team, the Lions are shooting 75.6 percent from the free-throw line, the second-best showing among Big Ten teams ... Five PSU players are shooting 70 percent or better from the FT line, led by Brandon Taylor's 86 percent showing (19-22), among players with at least 20 attempts.
  • Three Penn State players have combined for seven double-doubles so far this season, tied for the most players from one team in the Big Ten with Minnesota and Ohio State. Only Michigan State has produced more as a team (11).


  • D.J. Newbill (18.9 ppg) and Tim Frazier (18.2 ppg) are ranked first and fourth, respectively, in the Big Ten and make up the highest-scoring backcourt duo in the nation.
  • Tim Frazier has the most assists of any NCAA Division I player (97) at the start of last week and is second in the country in assists per game  (7.5) ... Frazier currently is the only player in the country averaging at least 18 points and 7 assists per game ... Only B1G player in the Top 5, let alone Top 10, of scoring (18.2, 4th), assists (7.5, 1st) and steals (1.8, 5th).
  • Newbill passed 1,000 career points at Duquesne (1,043), including 293 scored at Southern Mississippi ... He needs 250 more points to enter the PSU records books ... Newbill has emerged as one of the Lions' top 3-point scoring threat, tallying 20 on 47 attempts (.426).
  • The NCAA granted the waiver request for Jordan Dickerson to be eligible to play beginning with the Mount St. Mary's contest Dec. 22. The game vs. the Mountaineers also marked the first of John Johnson's eligibility after transferring from Pitt in Dec. 2012.


  • The Nittany Lions open their 22nd season of Big Ten play.
  • They are 7-14 in conference openers with wins in four of the last seven B1G lidlifters.
  • Penn State is 4-5 in home openers and is playing its first at the Bryce Jordan Center since New Year's Eve in 2008-09, a 61-57 win over Northwestern.

Penn State is 4-3 when playing on the final day of the calendar year with the last New Year's Eve game coming during the 2008-09 season with the win over the Wildcats.

2008 - vs. Northwestern: W, 61-57
2007 - vs. Lehigh: W, 81-68
2005 - vs. Mount St. Mary's: W, 65-53
1952 - vs. No. 17 W. Kentucky: L, 91-78
1938 - at Syracuse: L, 43-23
1937 - at Kent State: W, 47-34
1928 - at Northwestern: L, 41-17

Michigan State is 11-1 on the season after knocking off New Orleans 101-48 Saturday at the Breslin Center.  Led by 27 points from Keith Appling, four Spartan players netted double-digits and a total of 14 saw playing time in the win. Michigan State took control with a 12-0 run midway through the first half. The Spartans led 44-27 at halftime and easily added to their comfortable cushion in the second half, finishing with their highest-scoring game since beating Nebraska-Omaha 110-68 two years ago.

For the season, Adreian Payne averages a team-high 18 points per game with 7.9 boards. Appling, who is second in the Big Ten in assists behind Frazier, puts up 5.0 helpers per game and scores at a 15.9 ppg following the career-high tying outing Saturday. Four players are producing in double-digits and  four average at least four rebounds per contest.

The Spartans lead the series 31-7 and are 12-4 in State College. The teams met just once in each of the last two seasons with then-No. 18 Michigan State taking a 81-72 victory Jan. 16 in the Jordan Center. Jermaine Marshall (29 points,10 rebounds) and D.J. Newbill (27 points, 6 assists both posted career high scoring totals and combined to score 56 points on 60 percent shooting.

As a team, Penn State shot 55 percent in the second half and eclipsed the 70-point mark for the fifth time in the last seven home games, but couldn't overcome Spartan team that posted 52 second-half points behind a strong performance from junior Adreian Payne who came off the bench to score 20 second-half points on 6-9 shooting and 7-10 from the foul line to lead the Spartans.

Penn State has won two of the last five meetings, including a 66-62 victory in the BJC in 2011.

The Lions are averaging 81.2 points per game, more than 17 points more than they scored during non-conference play last season (64.0) and on pace to the highest-scoring output in program history (since 1965). The record is 78.4 points per game, set during the 1982-83 campaign. Penn State has produced at least 70 points in all but two games this season and have topped 90 points on three occasions.

Three Penn State players have combined for seven double-doubles so far this season, tied for the most players from one team in the Big Ten with Minnesota and Ohio State. Only Michigan State has produced more as a team (11).

The Lions are hitting 48 percent of their shots this season, second only to Michigan State (.491) at the start of conference play. Penn State has scored on over 50 percent of its shots in five games, including a season-best 57.1 percent showing vs. Longwood Nov. 24. It was the highest-scoring clip as a team since Feb. 28, 2010 against Northwestern (.571; W, 79-60).

After John Johnson scored a team-high 20 points in his PSU debut vs. Mount St. Mary's Dec. 22, seven different players have led the team in scoring over the course of the season. Five players have represented the top scoring mark in the last six games alone. Although Tim Frazier has 52 percent of the team's total assists, the rest are divided among nine players with five of them (besides Frazier) holding least five to their credit ... Nearly 52 percent of the team's field goals (187-362) are assisted.

D.J. Newbill has matched his 3-point total from last season (20) on 28 fewer attempts. Granted the junior guard spent the majority of 2012-13 playing point in place of the injured Tim Frazier, but Newbill is hitting 42.6 percent of shots from behind the arc, compared to just 26.7 a year ago. [MORE: Pages 17-18]

As a team, eight PSU players have hit at least two 3-pointers with three scoring on more than 40 percent of attempts. Four Nittany Lions - John Johnson, D.J. Newbill, Brandon Taylor and Allen Roberts - average over 1.0 treys per appearance.

LAST TIME OUT: Penn State Rallies Past Mount St. Mary's 92-82
John Johnson made his presence felt in his first game for Penn State as the Nittany Lions rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to turn away pesky Mount St. Mary's 92-82 Dec. 22 in the Bryce Jordan Center. Johnson, who transferred from Pittsburgh in December 2012, was eligible to play for the first time against the Mountaineers. He scored 15 of his team-high 20 points in the second half.

Penn State plays three of its first four games on the Big Ten schedule in the Jordan Center. The Lions are at Illinois Saturday, Jan. 4 before returning home for contests vs. Minnesota (Jan. 8) and Indiana (Jan. 11). Tickets for all home games are available on, by calling 1-800-NITTANY or visiting the BJC ticket office.




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