Akron (2-2) vs. Penn State (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 18, 1:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Coliseo Ruben Rodriquez (12,000) -- Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Television: ESPN U. Home Record: Akron 1-0, PSU 1-0. Away Record: Akron 0-1, PSU 0-0. Neutral Record: Akron 1-1, PSU 1-1. Conference Record: Akron 0-0, PSU 0-0. Series Record: Penn State leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: Shooting for their second straight win in San Juan, the Penn State Nittany Lions mix it up with the Akron Zips in the fifth-place game of the 2012 Puerto Rico Tip-Off at Coliseo Ruben Rodriquez in Bayamon.
Penn State's trip to Puerto Rico began with a 72-55 beat down from NC State on Thursday, yet on Friday that same 55-point effort from the Nittany Lions just happened to be good enough for a three-point victory over Providence in overtime.
As for the Zips, they've earned a split through their first four games of 2012-13 and like PSU came out on the winning side of their most recent contest, an 82-63 final versus UNC-Asheville two days ago.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, the Nittany Lions have taken four straight from Akron and now lead by a 4-1 margin. The relationship dates back to the 1937-38 campaign and was last visited in 1994-95 when PSU blew the doors off the Zips in an 80-45 final in Happy Valley.
Akron led by just three points at the break against UNC-Asheville, but in the second half the Zips erupted for 53.6 percent accuracy from the floor, including 7-of-14 behind the three-point line, en route to the lopsided decision. Even though he played just 19 minutes in a reserve role, Chauncey Gilliam made every second count for the Zips as he knocked down all but one of his six three-point tries on his way to a team-best 22 points. The only other double-digit scorer for the group was Alex Abreu who dropped in 12 points and also handed out a game-high nine assists. The team currently sports four players scoring in double figures, led by Abreu with his 12.8 ppg, followed by Brian Walsh (12.0 ppg), Jake Kretzer (10.8 ppg) and Zeke Marshall (10.2 ppg). As a whole, Akron is producing 78.5 ppg, compared to just 64.8 ppg for the competition.
Penn State was involved in a truly ugly first half against the Friars in the last outing as the teams combined to shoot just 11-of-42 from the floor and 4- of-18 behind the three-point line. For the Lions, who scored just 14 in the first 20 minutes, the second half was much more promising with 29 points, but still the squad had to go to overtime where a 4-of-6 effort from the field and 3-of-4 at the charity stripe was enough for the victory. Considered one of the top players in the Big Ten Conference, Tim Frazier hade his case with 19 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals, all of which led the Nittany Lions. Jermaine Marshall tacked on 13 points, but he shot just 4-of-18 from the floor and 3-of-12 out on the perimeter. Frazier has been the leading scorer in all three games thus far, averaging 21.7 ppg even though he has made just 2-of-11 on the outside. Between he and D.J. Newbill (12.7 ppg), the pair has converted 45-of-53 at the free-throw line, the rest of the team a combined eight free-throw opportunities.
With Frazier on their side, the Nittany Lions are always in the running for the victory, but they'll need to get more production out of the rest of the roster to keep those wins coming consistently.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Penn State 69, Akron 62
11/18 10:40:27 ET