FACTS & STATS: Site: Bryce Jordan Center (15,261) -- University Park, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Penn 2-1, PSU 2-1. Away Record: Penn 0-1, PSU 0-0. Neutral Record: Penn 0-3, PSU 1-2. Conference Record: Penn 0-0, PSU 0-0. Series Record: Penn leads, 31-14.
GAME NOTES: Keystone State rivals are set to square off at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday afternoon, as the Penn State Nittany Lions play host to the Penn Quakers.
Penn won its opener at home against UMBC (80-75), but from there it fell into a five-game losing streak, with four of those defeats coming in the NIT Season Tip-Off. The Quakers were able to bounce back at home on Wednesday night with a 65-54 over Binghamton, and they are just one win away from becoming only the 10th program in NCAA Division I history to register 1,700 victories.
Since defeating Saint Francis in its opener (65-58), Penn State has alternated wins with losses en route to a 3-3 record, with its signature win during that stretch coming against Providence in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, 55-52 in overtime. The Nittany Lions dropped their latest bout at home against Boston College, 73-61.
Penn leads the all-time series with PSU, 31-14, but the Nittany Lions have taken six of the last seven matchups dating back to the 1995-96 season.
Not much has gone right for the Quakers through seven games, as they are shooting less than 42 percent from the field in netting 65.7 ppg, while committing more than 17 turnovers per contest. They suffered through another poor shooting effort in their latest game (.345), but luckily they were able to force Binghamton into more turnovers (19) than made field goals (17), and escaped with a nine-point victory. Miles Cartwright drained 3-of-6 three-point attempts on his way to a game-high 15 points, while Fran Dougherty logged a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Dougherty has been fantastic in the early going, scoring 18.6 ppg on 54.3 percent field goal shooting, adding team-bests in rebounds (9.7 pg) and blocks (1.4 pg) to boot. Cartwright has been an admirable second option for the Quakers (15.6 ppg), although he'd like to see his three-point field goal percentage rise (.321). Penn lacks ideal scoring depth, as no one else scorers more than 5.1 ppg.
Penn State's inconsistent start to the season can be easily explained by its low field goal percentage (.360), and it has only be able to keep its head above water by sporting positive rebounding (plus-2.0) and turnover (plus-1.0) margins. It was much of the same in the recent loss to Boston College for the Nittany Lions, as they made just 19-of-53 from the field, including 6-of-20 from three-point range. Despite the down night shooting, both Jermaine Marshall (25 points) and D.J. Newbill (22 points) came away with big scoring efforts, although the pair combined to commit 10 turnovers. The rest of the seven players who saw action in the game combined to score only 14 points. PSU received devastating news last week when it learned that its top scorer Tim Frazier (16.2 ppg) will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured Achilles' tendon. In his absence, Newbill (15.0 ppg) and Marshall (13.8 ppg) will need to shoulder the load as the team's go-to performers, with Ross Travis (7.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg) also needing to step up his game in the frontcourt.
Both squads have plenty of issues that they need to sort out. The injury to Frazier will be a tough one to overcome in the long run, but Penn State still possesses enough talent to dismiss a struggling Quakers squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Penn State 71, Penn 61
12/01 10:36:12 ET
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