Game: Penn State (12-12, 3-8 Big Ten) at Indiana (14-9, 4-6 Big Ten)
Date: February 12, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
TV: Big Ten Network
The Penn State Nittany Lions have had an up-and-down season. After starting off 0-6 in the Big Ten Conference, the Nittany Lions reeled off three victories in a row. However, two-straight losses have them looking to once again turn things around. Wednesday night’s game brings a matchup on the road against the Indiana Hoosiers, a team that beat the Nittany Lions a few weeks back. This one should be interesting, as it features the top two scorers, Penn State’s D.J. Newbill and Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell, in the conference.
Newbill’s 17.7 points a game is tops in the conference. He’s coming off a game on Sunday in which, even though the Nittany Lions lost at home to Illinois, Newbill managed 19 points and six rebounds. Ferrell is right behind Newbill, averaging 17.6 points a contest. He’s coming off a game in which he put up 14 points in a losing effort at Minnesota.
These two teams last met back on January 11th, a day in which there was great excitement around Penn State as James Franklin was being introduced as the new head football coach. Unfortunately, the fans who sat in the Bryce Jordan Center to watch a basketball game did not go home happy. After controlling the entire game, the Nittany Lions blew a second-half lead and lost to the Hoosiers by three points.
Newbill had a big game against the Hoosiers, putting up 24 points with five rebounds and two assists. He’s been playing well as of late, scoring at least 16 points in his last eight games. Newbill will need to continue his hot streak if the Nittany Lions hope to be successful in this one.
Point guard Tim Frazier joins Newbill in the backcourt, giving Penn State a very dangerous combination that’s tough to defend. Frazier is averaging 16.2 points a game and leads the conference with six assists a game. In Penn State’s loss on Sunday against Illinois, Frazier set a school record with his 602 career assists.
For Indiana, this is a rebuilding year after losing two stars to the NBA from last season. However, the Hoosiers have played well at times and recently knocked off Michigan when the Wolverines were ranked 10th in the nation.
In the last game against Penn State, freshman forward Noah Vonleh led the way with a career-high 19 points and six rebounds. The Nittany Lions did not have an answer for the big man down low. Vonleh is working on a string of back-to-back games in which he grabbed 12 rebounds. He leads the conference in rebounding, averaging 9.5 boards a contest.
Like Newbill is a key for the Nittany Lions, so is Ferrell for the Hoosiers. He’s been putting up great numbers and has been difficult for opposing defenses to slow down. Penn State needs to keep Ferrell in check in order to have a chance against the Hoosiers.
The Nittany Lions have been in plenty of close games this year, and tonight’s matchup might not be any different. Both teams have struggled in conference play and have been prone to mistakes. The team that get’s the most production from its leaders will come out victorious in this conference battle.
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