Penn State (5-1) vs. St. John's (4-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 29, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Barclays Center (17,732) -- Brooklyn, New York. Television: None. Home Record: PSU 4-1, SJU 4-0. Away Record: PSU 1-0, SJU 0-0. Neutral Record: PSU 0-0, SJU 0-1. Conference Record: PSU 0-0, SJU 0-0. Series Record: St. John's leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams sporting only one loss each get together in Brooklyn tonight, as the Penn State Nittany Lions tangle with the St. John's Red Storm in the opening round of the Barclays Classic.
Both squads will be back in action on Saturday, taking on either Georgia Tech or Ole Miss, depending on the results of Friday's games.
Penn State is 5-1 for the second time in coach Patrick Chambers' four-plus years at the helm, and the team has won four straight since suffering its lone setback at home to Bucknell on Nov. 13. The most recent triumph occurred on Tuesday night versus visiting Monmouth, 84-52.
St. John's also brings a four-game win streak into this evening's affair, the run coming on the heels of the team's season-opening loss to Wisconsin on a neutral court. The Red Storm recently took out Longwood, 65-47, and each win so far has come at home.
St. John's won the only previous meeting with Penn State, but that bout took place more than century ago (Dec. 15, 1911).
Penn State's easy win over Monmouth earlier in the week marked the team's finest defensive effort of the season, as the Hawks were stymied to the tune of a .356 shooting effort overall, which included a dismal 5-of-19 showing from 3-point range. The Hawks committed 16 turnovers, which the Nittany Lions turned into 24 points, and PSU also claimed a resounding 35-21 edge on the glass. Tim Frazier scored 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven assists to pace the Lions, while Allen Roberts came off the bench to net 17. D.J. Newbill finished with a line of 15 points, nine boards and four helpers, and Ross Travis pitched in with 11 points. Overall, Penn State shot 53.8 percent from the floor, raising its season average to .494. Frazier and Newbill are two of the better backcourt performers, not only in the Big Ten Conference, but the country as well, and they average 18.3 and 18.0 ppg, respectively. Additionally, Frazier doles out 7.3 apg, while Newbill grabs 7.2 rpg.
St. John's hasn't been all that explosive on offense this season, as it averages just 68.8 ppg in hitting 43.4 percent of its field goal attempts, and the team has really struggled from 3-point range (.218). Despite his personal woes from downtown (8-of-35, .229), D'Angelo Harrison paces the club with his 19.4 ppg, while JaKarr Sampson and Phil Greene IV round out the double-digit scorers with 12.4 and 11.2 ppg, respectively. The Red Storm's defensive effort has resulted in teams putting up only 61.4 ppg, knocking down 39 percent of their total shots and 31 percent of their long-range launches. St. John's struggled to shoot the ball (.373 FG percentage, .158 3-point FG percentage) on Tuesday against Longwood, instead relying on stingy defense to upend the Lancers. The Red Storm blocked 15 shots in the game, and held their overmatched opponent to 33.9 percent field goal efficiency. Despite missing eight of his 11 long-range bombs, Harrison led the team in scoring with 18 points.
While basically a home game for St. John's, expect the Red Storm to have trouble keeping tabs on Frazier and Newbill. The Nittany Lions win a close one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Penn State 69, St. John's 66
11/29 10:49:09 ET