Game Time: 6:30 p.m.
Records: Penn State 5-6; Long Island 4-5.
Coaches: Ed DeChellis is 14-25 in his second season at Penn State and 119-118 overall. Jim Ferry is 20-43 in two seasons at LIU and 124-62 overall.
Series: First meeting.
Last meeting: Did we mention this is the first meeting?
Last time out: State lost to Valparaiso (69-56) in the opening round of the tourney Tuesday. Arizona State handled Long Island (92-63) later in the evening.
Radio: Penn State Sports Network (Steve Jones, Dick Jerardi).
Next up: Penn State faces Texas A&M at the Jordan Center Sunday. The Blackbirds play St. Francis in Loretto, Pa., Jan. 5.
Penn State G Mike Walker, 6-2 Fr. (7.4 ppg), G Marlon Smith, 6-0 So. (10.1 ppg), F Geary Claxton, 6-5 Fr. (11.2 ppg), F Travis Parker, 6-5 Jr. (11.7 ppg), F Aaron Johnson, 6-8 Jr. (15.8 ppg).
Long Island G Evin Meekins, 6.2 So. (6.9 ppg), G James Williams, 5-10 So. (14.4 ppg), G Aubin Scott, 6-2 Jr. (8.1 ppg), F Esa Maki-Tulokas, 6-7 So. (7.3 ppg), F Kellen Allen, 6-7 Fr. (6.8 ppg).
Quick Quiz: When was Penn States last loss to Northeast Conference team? The answer later.
Penn State Notes:
The Lions trailed by as many as 24 points against Valpo before rallying late to save a bit of face. Thirteen first-half turnovers and a 4-of-20 shooting performance in the opening period did PSU in against the Crusaders. Said DeChellis: We were just awful in every sense.
One bright spot for the Lions in the opening round of the tournament: Claxton. The freshman matched a career high with 17 points, 15 of them in the second half.
Johnson and Parker both had double-doubles vs. Valpo (points and rebounds). That was not entirely surprising considering State missed 45 shots (including free throws).
Smith went 1 of 12 from the floor and 0 of 9 from the arc in the loss to Valpo. All told, PSUs guards went 5 of 29 from the field.
In losing four straight games, the Lions have allowed their opponents to make a collective 51 percent of their shots.
Walker missed all but 16 minutes of the Valpo game with the flu. His status for tonights game is uncertain.
Backup point guard Ben Luber filled in nicely for Walker, with seven points, three rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.
Long Island Notes:
Undersized LIU was outrebounded 42-28 in its loss to Arizona State. The Sun Devils had 16 offensive boards.
Long Island entered the tournament leading the nation in three-point field goal percentage defense (.227). Penn States struggled from distance of late, missing 16 straight at one point against Valpo on the way to a 5-of-28 showing.
ASU went 8 of 10 from the arc in the first half against LIU, blowing open a 49-22 lead at the break.
The Lions and Blackbirds have faced one common opponent Lehigh. LIU beat the Mountain Hawks 66-56 at home. PSU beat Lehigh 73-64 at the BJC.
Quiz Answer: States only loss to an NEC team was against Loyola (Md.) at Rec Hall in 1986 (74-70).
FOS Prediction: Penn State 66, Long Island 65.
Comment: Difficult to pick the Lions after Tuesdays turkey. But the Blackbirds are one of the few teams over which Penn State will enjoy size and experience advantages.
FOS Prediction Record: 5-6.