Penn State continues search for first Big Ten win

Story posted January 23, 2015 in Sports, CommRadio by Alex Bobbyn

Before entering conference play, the Penn State men’s basketball team (12-7, 0-6 B1G) held an impressive 12-1 record. Now, they are six games deep in Big Ten play and still in search of that first conference victory.

On Saturday, Pat Chambers and his squad look to change the tides as they welcome Rutgers (10-10, 2-5 B1G) to Happy Valley for their second matchup of the year. In the first game, Rutgers beat the Nittany Lions 50-46, outscoring them 30-19 in the first half. This time around, Penn State looks for a different result.

D.J. Newbill has already put up 417 points this season for Penn State, which ranks first in the Big Ten and fifth in the entire nation. From there, scoring options have been limited. Brandon Taylor is next on the team, averaging less than ten points per game.

“He can't do all of it, I mean he can't do it all,” said Chambers of Newbill. “We put a lot of pressure on him to make plays…we've got to continue to share the basketball.” 

Rutgers travels to University Park on a three-game losing streak.  They hope to get back on track with help from their leading scorers, Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack. Mack averages 14.7 points per game while Jack averages 12.8 points per game.  Defensively, the Scarlet Knights are led by 6-foot-7 sophomore Junior Etou. Etou accounts for about seven rebounds per game.

Rutgers often gets overlooked in their win against Wisconsin because of the absence of Frank Kaminsky. However, they displayed poise, skill, and experience in that contest. The seniors Mack and Jack combined for 41 points and the team shot 80-percent from the free throw line.

In their last meeting, Rutgers held Newbill to 14 points, his second lowest total at that point in the season. Penn State managed to shoot just 28-percent from the field and 18-percent from beyond the arc. John Johnson also added eight points off the bench in the first matchup, and with his loss, look for Devin Foster to provide much-needed bench minutes.

Looking back on the Michigan State loss Wednesday night, Pat Chambers admits that he hurt his team when he was called for a technical foul. After the game, he talked about his senior leader D.J. Newbill.

“He's a special kid and he's a great leader and I feel like I let him down tonight. I need to do a better job at that and we will because if we play like that the next 12 games, this thing is going to switch. It's going to flip and people are going to be scared to play Penn State."

You can catch Penn State take on Rutgers this Saturday at 12:00 pm in the Bryce Jordan Center. ComRadio’s coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. with The Penn State Basketball Pregame Show.

Alex Bobbyn is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism.  To contact him, email aeb5671@psu.edu.