Penn State (9-9) at Purdue (12-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 18, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mackey Arena (14,846) -- West Lafayette, Indiana. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: PSU 6-5, PU 9-1. Away Record: PSU 2-3, PU 2-1. Neutral Record: PSU 1-1, PU 1-3. Conference Record: PSU 0-5, PU 2-2. Series Record: Purdue leads, 29-11.
GAME NOTES: The Purdue Boilermakers seek their first three-game conference win streak in nearly two years, as they battle the Penn State Nittany Lions at Mackey Arena on Saturday night.
Penn State had gone 9-4 during the non-league portion of its schedule, but the start of Big Ten Conference play has been anything but kind to the Nittany Lions as they have lost their last five games. PSU fell at Michigan, 80-67, this past Tuesday to slip to 2-3 in true road tilts.
Purdue is coming off a 66-58 win at Illinois, running its record to 12-5 overall and an even 2-2 in conference. The Boilermakers have won two straight on the heels of a two-game losing streak, and they are hoping to claim their third consecutive Big Ten triumph for the first time since 2012, and improve to 10-1 at home in the process.
Purdue owns a 29-11 lead in the all-time series with Penn State, which includes victories in each of the last three meetings.
The teams will meet on PSU's home court on Feb. 2 to complete the regular- season series.
Penn State possesses one of the more potent backcourt tandems in the Big Ten, as D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier do pretty much everything for coach Pat Chambers' squad, combining for 34 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, with Frazier also serving as one of the best set-up men around with his 6.5 apg. Both guys scored 17 points in the recent loss to Michigan, and the Lions actually shot pretty well in hitting 49.1 percent of their field goal attempts in that game. They did however, miss the mark on 14 of their 19 3- point tries while allowing the Wolverines to connect on 53.8 percent of their total shots. Both teams took pretty good care of the basketball, combining for only 15 turnovers. PSU puts up more than 78 ppg, which is on pace to be the highest scoring average in program history.
A.J. Hammons tallied 17 points and eight rebounds, helping Purdue down Illinois earlier in the week. The Boilermakers made good on only 41.9 percent of their field goal attempts, but held the Illini to just 38.5 percent. A 42-28 rebounding margin helped matters, as did the fact that PU outscored UI in the paint, 30-20. The Boilermakers don't have any superstars, instead relying on consistent efforts from multiple sources, including double-digit scorers Terone (13.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and Ronnie Johnson (11.5 ppg, 3.7 apg). Five others net between 5.2 and 9.8 ppg for a team that is putting up 76.6 ppg while shooting 44.7 percent from the floor and 34.5 percent from beyond the arc. Purdue's defensive effort yields 70.1 ppg, and the team boasts favorable differentials both in rebounding (+3.8) and turnovers (+1.6).
Despite the best efforts of Newbill and Frazier, the Nittany Lions are bound to come up short once again as they take on a balanced Purdue squad hoping to keep the good times rolling.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Purdue 71, Penn State 61
01/18 10:16:49 ET