GAME NOTES: For over 68 years Penn State called Rec Hall home. The Nittany Lions return to their roots today by playing in the venue for the first time since 1996 when they take on the Princeton Tigers in a matchup of early-season success stories.
Penn State, which is off to its best start since 2008-09, has won its last two contests. On Wednesday, Tim Frazier scored 11 points and handed out a career- high 13 assists in a 68-59 victory over the Duquesne Dukes at the CONSOL Energy Center earlier this week. Allen Roberts was the leading scorer for Penn State with 15 points off the bench. D.J. Newbill added 13 points, and Donovon Jack brought in 12 rebounds and blocked six shots.
Newbill (18.5 ppg) and Frazier (17.9 ppg) are ranked second and third, respectively, in the Big Ten in scoring. In fact, their combination of scoring is the highest for a backcourt tandem in the country. Frazier hands out 7.7 apg, which easily leads all Big Ten players and Newbill has played a huge part in Penn State's success by making 44.4 percent of his 3-point attempts. Ross Travis (11.3 ppg) and Brandon Taylor (11.0 ppg) play big roles for a team that averages 80.5 ppg and shoots 75.2 percent from the charity stripe, which is second-best among Big Ten teams.
Princeton, which suffered its only loss on Nov. 16 at Butler, is riding the wave of a six-game win streak. The Tigers, who are off to their best start since 1997-98, are coming off a 78-73 win at Rutgers on Wednesday. T.J. Bray tied a career-best with 23 points, and he handed out eight assists. Bray nailed 5-of-7 shots from beyond the arc. Ben Hazel, Hans Brase and Denton Koon each scored 14 points.
The Tigers are making 10.6 3-pointer per game, which is seventh-most in the country. Princeton, which drained 16 shots from beyond the arc on Wednesday, has four players averaging double figures in points. Bray (16.0 ppg) leads the charge, followed by Koon (12.4), Brase (11.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Hazel (10.8). Princeton is averaging 72.1 ppg, which is its highest through eight games since the 1971-72 season (83.5 ppg).
Princeton has lost 11 in a row to teams from the Big Ten, the last win for the Tigers coming on Dec. 28, 1985 against Wisconsin. Princeton hasn't won a road game versus a Big Ten squad since topping Northwestern on Dec. 27, 1955. Since then, the Tigers have lost 18 straight road games against Big Ten opponents.
The Nittany Lions, who play their home games now at the Bryce Jordan Center, had a 514-183 record during their time at Rec Hall. Playing in a smaller venue will provide for a more intimate setting in what should be a close contest. A victory by Princeton would give the Tigers their longest winning streak since they captured 10 in a row during the 2010-11 season. Penn State is 6-0 against Princeton in its home venues. Expect a tight finish.
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