Barclays Center Classic Preview

Story posted November 29, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Jeff Jezewski

The Teams:

Penn State: Penn State heads into the Barclays Center Classic with a 5-1 record, after defeating Monmouth on Tuesday night. Penn State’s sole loss on the season came at the hands of Bucknell on November 13th. Penn State is led by standout point guard Tim Frazier. Frazier leads the team averaging 18.3 points per game, while also dishing out over seven assists per game. Frazier is joined in the backcourt by D.J. Newbill. Newbill has chipped in 18 points per game, while pulling down over seven rebounds per game. The backcourt duo is joined in the starting lineup by Brandon Taylor (13 ppg), Ross Travis (11ppg) and Donavan Jack (6.3 ppg). The Nittany Lions solid contributions off the bench from the likes of Allen Roberts, Graham Woodward and Julian Moore. Penn State is scoring the ball well, averaging 82.2 points per game on nearly 50 percent shooting. Penn State’s defense is holding opponents to 41.2 percent shooting. The Nittany Lions head into the opening round of the Barclays Center Classic on a four-game winning streak.

St. Johns: St. John’s is 4-1 coming off a 65-47 win over Longwood on Tuesday night. The Red Storm dropped their season opener to Wisconsin on November 8th, but has won each of their last four games. St. John’s has three players scoring in double figures, led by D’Angelo Harrison with 19.4 points per game. Harrison is aided by fellow guard Phil Greene IV (11.2 ppg) and Jakarr Sampson (12.4 ppg). Sampson is the leader of the frontcourt, pulling down eight rebounds per game. He is joined in the frontcourt by outstanding shot blocker Chris Obekpa, who swats away 5.4 shots per game. As a team, the Red Storm is averaging 69 points per game, while allowing their opponents to score 61.4 points per game. The Barclays Center Classic will be a solid gauge for St. John’s as they look to make an impact in the first season on the new look Big East.

Ole Miss: Ole Miss comes into the tournament with an unblemished 4-0 record. Ole Miss has opened the season with a prolific offense putting up 84 points per game. Jarvis Summers averages 17.3 points per game for the Ole Miss offense. Derrick Millinghaus adds in 15.5 points per game for Ole Miss. While Summers and Millinghaus lead the team in scoring, Ole Miss runs through troubled guard Marshall Henderson. Henderson has scored 14 points per game on 36.4 percent shooting, since returning from suspension earlier this season. The frontcourt is led by big men Aaron Jones and Demarco Cox. Both big men pull down over seven rebounds per game for the Rebels. Ole Miss defeated North Carolina A&T in a tune-up game for the Classic.

Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech heads into the Barclays Center Classic 5-1, with their lone loss coming to Dayton on November 20th. They defeated Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday night by a score of 76-59. The Yellow Jackets are led by senior guard Trae Golden who averages 14.8 points per game, while dishing out 3.5 assists. He is joined in double figures by Marcus Georges- Hunt and Daniel Miller. Miller and Robert Carter Jr. lead the frontcourt as scoring threats and as rebounders. Both big men average nearly a double-double per game. Georgia Tech is a deep team, with eight players playing over 19 minutes a game. Georgia Tech scores 77 points per game. The Yellow Jackets head into the tournament after winning their last two contests.

The Matchups:

Penn State vs St. John’s: Both teams head into the matchup on four-game win streaks. The two teams share many common opponents including Wagner, Bucknell, Monmouth and Longwood. Penn State was taken down by Bucknell, while St. John’s defeated all the common opponents. Penn State has the advantage in the backcourt led by Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill. Frazier is playing extremely well since returning this season from a knee injury. Newbill also has improved on his strong play from last year. D’Angelo Harrison will give the guards all they can handle, but has struggled shooting the ball so far. St. John’s holds the advantage in the frontcourt however. Jakarr Sampson and Chris Obekpa lead the Red Storm frontcourt. Penn State’s frontcourt of Ross Travis and Donavan Jack is undersized and inconsistent. Penn State will take on St. John’s Friday at 7 p.m.

Georgia Tech vs Ole Miss: Both teams have talented and experienced guards. Trae Golden leads the Yellow Jackets, while Marshall Henderson is the man for Ole Miss. Georgia Tech holds the frontcourt advantage behind the big bodies of Daniel Miller and Robert Carter Jr. Aaron Jones and Demarco Cox are solid for Ole Miss, but Miller and Carter could prove to be too much. The Rebels’ balanced offensive attack behind Henderson and Jarvis Summers should be able to take down the Yellow Jackets.

Jeff Jezewski is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jvj5228@psu.edu.