Game: Penn State (16-17, 6-12 Big Ten) at Siena (16-17, 11-9 MAAC)
Date: March 24, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
TV: CBS Sports Network
Penn State struggled a bit at home on Wednesday night against Hampton, but was still able to pull out the 69-65 victory to advance to the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational. Next up for the Nittany Lions is a road trip to take on the Siena Saints on Monday night. The winner will advance to the final four, while not the one every team dreams off, it’s always good to win and keep advancing.
The Nittany Lions started well on Wednesday and held a double-digit lead before letting Hampton back in the game late before eventually coming out on top.
To the surprise of noone, D.J. Newbill led the Nittany Lions in scoring with 19 points. He’s had a great season and was one of the top scorers in the Big Ten Conference. Unlike in some games this season, Newbill got a lot of help from his team, as three starters scored in double-digits. His partner in the backcourt, senior point guard Tim Frazier, added 10 points while forward Brandon Taylor scored 14. Guard Geno Thorpe gave the Nittany Lions 10 points off the bench.
When Penn State has struggled this season, it’s been due in large part to a lack in production from the frontcourt. However, that wasn’t the case in this one, as the Nittany Lions outrebounded Hampton, one of the better rebounding teams in the nation, 42-18. Taylor led the game with nine rebounds. Forward Ross Travis grabbed eight rebounds. Frazier added seven boards and seven-foot center Jordan Dickerson had six.
Penn State will need that same type of effort in the matchup with Sienna, as the Saints are ranked 44th in the nation with 37.8 rebounds per game.
The Saints have won five of their last six games, including a 66-55 victory over Stony Brook in their first game of the CBI. In that game, Siena was led by top-scorer Rob Poole’s 20 points. Brett Bisping, who averages just over 10 points a game, poured in 17 against Stony Brook. The Saints were tough on the glass, with all five starters grabbing at least five rebounds.
Bisping led the team in rebounding this season with 6.3 a game. Poole and Imoh Silas both average five rebounds a game.
Monday’s winner will advance to the semifinals on March 26. The other three quarterfinal games are: Radford at Old Dominion, Texas A&M at Illinois State and Princeton at Fresno State. The tournament will be re-bracketed after the quarterfinal games
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