Pat Chambers’ Nittany Lions return from the Christmas break for a 4:00 showdown against the Duquense Dukes. Penn State will look for their 4th consecutive win before beginning conference play on Thursday night in Madison against the Badgers. The Lions sit at 7-4, while the Dukes enter at 7-6. You can catch the game online at ESPN3.com.
THE LAST TIME OUT
The Lions got off to a slow start after an 11:00 AM tip against New Hampshire last weekend, but it did not last. PSU raced out to a 39-14 halftime lead, and coasted to a 72-45 win. Jermaine Marshall lead PSU with 15 points on the offensive end, and keyed an aggressive defense with 5 steals. All told, UNH was forced into 15 turnovers, and just 22% shooting from the field. Sasa Borovnjak again earned the start, and contributed 11 points, with D.J. Newbill and Brandon Taylor eached adding 10. Freshman forward Donovon Jack played significant minutes for the second straight game, scoring 6 points and grabbing 3 rebounds off the bench, while Jon Graham added 7 points, including 3/4 shooting from the free throw line. The big second half lead allowed Chambers to rest many of the starters, with only Newbill playing over 30 minutes.
ABOUT THE DUKES
Duquense enters the game coming off what can only be called a bad 91-79 loss on the road against 5-9 Louisiana-Lafayette. The Dukes best win came in a 60-56 triumph over West Virginia at home earlier in December. 5-11 freshman guard Derrick Colter leads things for Duqense wiith 13.2 points per game, and 4.7 assists. Sean Johnson is the only other Duke averaging double figures with 12.9 per game. Penn State’s perimeter defense remains a concern, so keep the names Quevyn Winters and Jerimiah Jones in mind. They average 38% and 37% respectively form behind the arc. Colter shoots just 28% from three, but is not shy about shooting from deep, already attempting 75 shots from downtown.
Penn State has been able to find multiple weapons on the offensive end during their 3 game winning streak, which has taken significant pressure off of Newbill and Marshall. Ross Travis should be back close to 100% after being slowed by a bum knee against UNH, and his emergence as a scoring threat has coincided with PSU’s offensive surge. Borovnjak’s entrance in the starting 5 in place of Jon Graham has added an inside scoring presence that had been lacking all year. If Penn State continues to spread the ball around and keep the pressure off of Newbill and Marshall, they should have no problem picking up win #8 on the season, and go into Big 10 play with some momentum.
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