At a Glance: Penn State

A closer look at Illinois next opponent -- the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Illinois (12-2, 1-0) vs Penn State (9-5, 0-1)
Saturday, Jan. 4, 1:15 CT - Champaign - State Farm Center (16,618)
Big Ten Network - Josh Lewin, PBP, and Shon Morris, analyst

Notes (per Penn State sports info):

- The Nittany Lions have five players scoring in double figures after 14 games with the team averaging 79.9 points per game, the fourth-highest average among Big Ten teams and on pace to be among the highest scoring averages in program history.

- Penn State has the fourth-highest field-goal percentage among Big Ten teams (.471), up 8 percent from a year ago. As a unit, the starting five are all shooting at a higher clip than last season, by an average of nearly 9 percentage points.

- The starting five accounts for 83 percent (927 of 1119) of Penn State's total point on the season.

- With John Johnson's team-leading 20 points vs. Mount St. Mary's, seven different PSU players have led the team or tied for the lead in scoring through the first 14 games of the year: Tim Frazier (6 games), D.J. Newbill (3 games), Brandon Taylor (2 games), Johnson, Donovon Jack, Ross Travis and Allen Roberts (1 game).

- As a team, the Lions are shooting 74.8 percent from the free-throw line, the second-best showing among Big Ten teams. Four PSU players are shooting 70 percent or better from the charity stripe, led by Brandon Taylor's 89 percent showing (25-28), among players with at least 20 attempts.

- Three Penn State players have combined for seven double-doubles so far this season, tied for the second-most players from one team in the Big Ten with Minnesota and Ohio State.

- D.J. Newbill (18.8 ppg) and Tim Frazier (17.4 ppg) are ranked second and seventh, respectively, in the Big Ten and make up the highest-scoring backcourt duo in the nation.

- Tim Frazier has the most assists of any NCAA Division I player (102) at the start of the week and is third in the country in assists per game (7.3). Frazier currently is the only player in the country averaging at least 17 points and 7.2 assists per game. Only B1G player in the Top 10 of scoring (17.4, 7th), assists (7.3, 1st) and steals (1.9, 5th).

- Newbill passed 1,000 career points at Duquesne (1,060), including 293 scored at Southern Mississippi. He needs 233 more points to enter the PSU records books. Newbill has emerged as one of the Lions' top 3-point scoring threat, tallying 23 on 53 attempts (.434).

- Donovon Jack has tallied 22 of his 34 blocks in the last five games and has seven-consecutive games with multiple blocks to lead the team and stand in fourth in the B1G with 2.0 bpg.

- The NCAA granted the waiver request for Jordan Dickerson to be eligible to play beginning with the Mount St. Mary's contest Dec. 22.

- The game vs. the Mountaineers also marked the first of John Johnson's eligibility after transferring from Pitt in Dec. 2012.

Probable starters:
Tim Frazier: G, 6-1, 170, Sr. - 17.4 ppg, 7.2 apg
D.J. Newbill: G, 6-4, 205, Jr. - 18.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg
Ross Travis: F, 6-6, 225, Jr. - 11.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg
Brandon Taylor: F, 6-7, 235, So. - 11.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg
Donovon Jack: F, 6-9, 210, So. - 7.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg

Off the bench:
John Johnson: G, 6-1, 175, Jr. - 11.0 ppg
Allen Roberts: G, 6-3, 214, Sr. - 6.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Geno Thorpe: G, 6-3, 180, Fr. - 2.6 ppg, 1.3 rpg

Series history:
Series record: Illinois leads 25-13
Series streak: Illinois W1
Record @ Champaign: Illinois leads 12-5
Series streak @ Champaign: Illinois W3
Last meeting: Illinois 64, Penn State 59 - Feb. 21, 2013 @ Champaign
Groce vs. Penn State: 1-0

Fun fact:

Penn State has more than 500,000 living alumni.

Notable quotable:

"They're the third-highest rated offensive team that we've played thus far far behind Oregon and Missouri, based on offensive efficiency. They are a load on offense. They've got multiple shooters, multiple ball handlers, multiple drivers. Their 4 and 5s shoot 3s. Their 5-man is shooting 50 percent from 3. They are a tough cover. They play really hard and physical. I knew that from last year. I've got a lot a respect for (Coach) Pat (Chambers). His kids really battle, they're really physical. They play really hard and compete. It's going to be a really good challenge for us, especially on the defensive end." -- Illinois coach John Groce.

PSU team info:
Roster
Coaches
Schedule


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