Saturday, November 10, 2012


By Brian Siegrist Assoc. Director, Penn State Athletic Communications

"UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.; NOV. 9, 2012 – Tim Frazier (Houston, Texas) was nearly perfect from the foul line hitting a career-best 17-of-18 from the stripe to help lead Penn State to a 65-58 season-opening win over feisty Saint Francis (0-1; 0-0 NEC) Friday night in the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions (1-0; 0-0 Big Ten) overcame a tough shooting night to log their eighth- straight season opening win and improve to 87-30 all-time in season openers.

Frazier led the Lions with 23 points, marking his 19th career 20-point game, and added six assists and two steals. He moved into tie for sixth place on the career assists chart with 450 and a tie for ninth place on the career steals list with 136. Sophomore D.J. Newbill (Philadelphia, Pa.), seeing his first action in a Penn State uniform, hit a career-best 9-of-10 from the foul line for 16 points and added seven rebounds, while sophomore Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn.) posted 10 points and tied a career high with a team-leading nine rebounds.

The Nittany Lions shot just 37 percent for the game, 3-of-24 from three, and committed 17 turnovers, but pulled out the win behind a stellar 28-of-32 (.875) performance at the foul line. The Nittany Lions out-rebounded the Red Flash 38-22 and outscored Saint Francis 10-0 in second chance opportunities giving up just two Red Flash offensive rebounds on the night.

That we won tonight even with 3-of-24 and 17 turnovers says a lot about where we’re headed,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “Last year we would have probably lost this game. This year we have a different mentality that we’re never out of games. We keep a great attitude, keep grinding, and keep making plays whether that be a defensive play or an offensive play.”

Saint Francis was led by 19 points from Ollie Jackson, including three second half threes on his way to 4-of-8 from the arc on the night. The Red Flash shot 46.7 percent for the game and 7-of-19 from three, but were outscored 28-9 at the foul line. 

Like I say to the team, sometimes it is going to be ugly and if you can win those ugly ones then you are on the right path,” Chambers said. “Am I concerned about 3-for-24? Yes. We had really, really good shots. They were smart and packed it in. We didn’t make them, but it is okay. It is a learning experience and only game one. We are going to watch film tomorrow. We will get better and better for the next contest.”

Saint Francis opened the game taking a 3-0 lead before Frazier hit two at the foul line to pull Penn State within one, 3-2. Penn State moved into the lead after Newbill fed Frazier for an alley-oop dunk for a slim 4-3 lead. A layup from SFU’s Ronnie Drinnon had Saint Francis back on top, but a 6-0 Nittany Lion run had Penn State leading, 10-5, at the 14-minute mark.

Back-to-back baskets from the Red Flash had Penn State with a narrow 10-9 lead. Newbill sparked a 9-0 run with a three from the top of the key to give Penn State a10-point cushion, 19-9, with seven minutes left in the first half. SFU’s Dominique Major cut off the run with a trey. Marshall answered with a layup for a nine-point lead, 21-12.

With three minutes in the half, Saint Francis took off on an 8-1 run to pull the Red Flash within two, 22-20. Drinnon fouled Newbill who hit two at the line to make it 24-20, in favor of Penn State. The Nittany Lions called a timeout with 32 seconds in the half. Saint Francis missed a bucket and Tony Peters fouled Frazier who scored two points at the free throw line. The Nittany Lions headed into halftime with a six-point lead, 26-20.

Saint Francis opened the second half with an 11-4 run, including a pair of threes from Jackson and one from Kam Ritter to take a 31-30 lead. Frazier fired back with a steal and five straight points to move Penn State back into the lead, 35-31. Newbill hit two at the line for a 37-33 lead with a little more than 14 minutes on the clock.

After another Red Flash basket, Frazier was fouled behind the arc and hit three at the line to give Penn State a five-point lead, 40-35. Jackson hit a jumper as Saint Francis embarked on an 8-2 run to retake a 43-42 lead after a Ritter layup.However, the Red Flash fouled Frazier again and he went 2-for-2 at the line before a tip-in by Travis for a three-point PSU lead, 46-43.

A driving layup from Stephon Whyatt brought the Red Flash within one, 46-45, but two free throws from Frazier and a three-pointer from senior Nick Colella (New Castle, Pa.) had the Lions leading by four, 51-47, with seven minutes to play. Frazier was fouled again and went 2-for-2 at the line before junior Jermaine Marshall (Etters, Pa.) hit a trifecta to give Penn State a nine-point cushion, 56-47, with 5:42 remaining.

Five consecutive points from Newbill pushed Penn State’s lead in double-digits, 61-49, with just under a minute to play. Five points from the Red Flash allowed Saint Francis to close the gap to seven, 61-54, but two free throws by Frazier and a break-away dunk from Travis had the Lions back ahead by nine, 65-56. Drinnon scored two points on a layup for Saint Francis before time ran out to produce the final score of 65-58.

The Nittany Lions are back in action in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament in Bayamon, Puerto Rico Nov. 15-18. Penn State is set to play three games and faces No. 6-ranked North Carolina State first on Thursday, Nov. 15.  That game is set for a 5:00 p.m. tip on ESPN2. The Nittany Lions will face either Providence or Massachusetts on Nov. 16. Penn State returns to the Jordan Center on Friday, Nov. 23 for a 4:30 p.m. tip against Bucknell, which downed Purdue 70-65 in West Lafayette on Friday."

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