FACTS & STATS: Site: Bryce Jordan Center (15,261) -- University Park, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Nebraska 7-4, PSU 7-4. Away Record: Nebraska 1-5, PSU 0-3. Neutral Record: Nebraska 1-0, PSU 1-2. Conference Record: Nebraska 0-5, PSU 0-5. Series Record: Penn State leads, 3-2.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams still trying to record their first Big Ten Conference victory of the season square off at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday afternoon, as the Penn State Nittany Lions entertain the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The Cornhuskers were impressive during the non-conference portion of their schedule, streaking out to a 9-4 record, but the start of Big Ten play has only brought misery. They dropped their fifth consecutive conference bout on Wednesday night in a 65-56 home loss to Purdue, although they set a school- record for fewest turnovers in a game with two.
Penn State has also suffered five straight losses to open up league play, having most recently fallen at home to Michigan State on Wednesday, 81-72. The Nittany Lions' current losing streak has dropped them to 8-9 overall, putting them under .500 for the first time this season. They have been solid on their home floor however, winning seven of 11 at the Jordan Center this year.
The teams split last season's series, with each winning on its home floor. Penn State holds a 3-2 advantage all-time.
Despite Nebraska's ability to take care of the basketball on Wednesday night, it shot just 33.3 percent from the floor on its way to the nine-point loss. The team is currently mired in a prolonged offensive slump, as it has scored fewer than 60 points in nine of its last 11 games to lower its season-average to a Big Ten-worst 58.1 ppg. Shavon Shields was impressive in the recent setback, shooting 6-of-11 from the field for 18 points, while also adding eight rebounds. Jordan Tyrance was solid off the bench with 10 points and seven boards. Dylan Talley is the Cornhuskers' primary scoring option at 13.2 ppg, although he has been plagued by a very poor field goal percentage (.343). Ray Gallegos nets 13.1 ppg and does most of his damage from long range with 42 treys, but he too has been a poor shooter, as he makes 3-pointers at less than 30 percent efficiency. With Brandon Ubel (12.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg) out nursing an elbow injury, Nebraska is expecting more production from both Andre Almeida (6.3 ppg) and Shields (6.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg).
Penn State hung tough against nationally-ranked Michigan State on Wednesday, even using a 12-1 run late in the game to cut its deficit to just five with 2:06 to play, but it could not complete the comeback. A pair of outstanding performances anchored PSU's effort, as Jermaine Marshall (29 points, 10 rebounds) and D.J. Newbill (27 points, six assists) each had career-nights. The two combined to shoot 18-of-30 from the floor, but the rest of the team netted a total of 16 points. The Nittany Lions' effort at the offensive end has been lackluster at best this season, as they shoot just 39.3 percent from the floor for 62.1 ppg, but they have scored 70 points or more in five of their last seven home games. Newbill (15.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.9 apg) and Marshall (15.0 ppg) have been an impressive scoring duo, although their combined 3- point efficiency (36-of-125, .288) has been anything but pretty. Ross Travis scores just 6.9 ppg on less than 36 percent from the field, but he helps out with a team-best 7.4 rpg.
Neither team has shown much promise since the start of the new year, but at least PSU is coming off a feisty effort against a ranked team. The Lions should feel confident about knocking off the floundering Huskers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Penn State 68, Nebraska 62
01/19 10:33:29 ET
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