Tim Frazier’s game-high 23 points helped him hit a career milestone, but No. 6 North Carolina State dominated Penn State 72-55 in Thursday’s first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-off tournament.
The Nittany Lions (1-1) struggled from the field for the second-straight game, shooting just 19-of-60 from the field after a 17-for-47 performance in the season opener against Saint Francis.
“I think we will be all right by January. I really do. I like my team,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “That’s the goal of the nonconference, play teams like this, prepare yourself to play in the Big Ten.”
There was promise early Thursday when Penn State began the game with 14 points without a single basket from Frazier. In fact, Frazier didn’t score until he hit a 3-pointer with 6:33 left in the first half.
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Later, he became the 30th player in Penn State history to reach 1,000 points when he hit a pull-up jumper at the top of the key with 2:36 left in the half.
D.J. Newbill scored four of his 13 points early, including a nice driving lay-up that tied the game at 8-8 with 14:33 left in the half.
After that, N.C. State (2-0) established its dominance, surging ahead with a 16-6 run powered by 12 points from phenomenal freshmen T.J. Warren and Rodney Purvis.
C.J. Leslie, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s preseason player of the year, finished with a 14 points and five rebounds.
But Warren led the Wolfpack with 22 points and eight rebounds on 9-of-12 shooting, while Purvis added 12 points on a perfect 3-of-3 from the 3-point line. As a team, N.C. State shot 8-for-16 from behind the arc.
To contrast that success, Penn State hit just 3-of-19 from 3-point range, and that wasn’t the only familiar culprit. After a 17-turnover performance in its first game, Penn State turned the ball over 13 times, including five by Newbill and four from Frazier.
Sophomore forward Jon Graham, who finished with four points and a game-high 10 rebounds, was the lone bright spot in the Nittany Lions’ frontcourt. Jermaine Marshall finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Penn State will face Providence, which lost later Thursday to Massachusetts in a consolation game today.