Penn State vs. Northwestern Preview

Audio/Story posted January 15, 2016 in CommRadio, Sports by Sports Staff


ComRadio's David Arroyo, Tom Shively, Joe Murhpy and Jon Gross preview this Saturday's matchup between the Nittany Lions and the Northwestern Wildcats.


With Big Ten play in full effect, the Penn State Nittany Lions (10-8, 1-4 B1G) will continue their road trip on Friday with a stop in Evanston, Illinois with the hopes of coming away with their second conference victory of the year against the Northwestern Wildcats (15-3, 3-2 B1G). Pat Chambers and company are 1-4 in their last five games. Their most recent loss came at the hands of the No. 24 Purdue Boilermakers as Penn State fell victim to a strong Purdue defense.

While Penn State has found some success shooting the ball this season, they have had some serious trouble spreading it around. The Nittany Lions as a team average 9.3 assists per game, which ranks 348th in the nation. While defense has been better than expected, Brandon Taylor has been the only real consistent weapon for an offense that is averaging just 67.4 points per game.

Even though Taylor, the senior forward, is averaging just under 16 points a game (a team high), Penn State needs to find a sense of consistency against another strong Big Ten defense. Since conference play began, the Nittany Lions have lost to Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland and Purdue. Three of these matchups were on the road. Northwestern is no exception to any of these other foes in terms of tough defense. The Wildcats have allowed just 64.1 points a game in 18 games so far this season.

Two of the three losses so far for Northwestern this season have been against top 10 teams. Sophomore guard Bryant McIntosh has led the charge so far, averaging 16.1 points per game and 7.1 assists per game. The Wildcats play with an edge and boast talented players like center Alex Olah and guard Tre Demps. Even though Northwestern has a .370 3-point percentage so far this year, Penn State has defended poorly beyond the arc. Expect the Wildcats to take some early looks from 3-point land to start out with a sizeable lead.

In the Lions last visit to Evanston, the team lost to Northwestern 60-39 and had a field goal percentage of 27.3. Geno Thorpe was the team’s leading scorer of the game and D.J. Newbill was still running the show. In order to make sure history does not repeat itself, Penn State will need to have the supporting cast make a strong effort on the offensive side of the ball. With a defense as fierce as Northwestern’s, the Nittany Lions will need to spread the ball around and hit open shots. If the team cannot find success outside of Taylor, Shep Garner, and Peyton Banks, the Blue and White will have trouble keeping up with Northwestern as the game progresses.

Prediction: Northwestern 71, Penn State 62

Mike D’Avella is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

About the Contributors

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Mike D'Avella

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Mike D’Avella is a senior from West Chester, Pa., majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in business. He is a sports director, producer, play-by-play voice, talk show personality and beat writer on the sports side of CommRadio. Mike is also a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. He has completed internships with the Philadelphia Phillies in the summers of 2014 and 2015, Advanced Media in the spring of 2016, the State College Spikes Minor League baseball production department in the summer of 2016 and Interscope Records in Santa Monica, California. He is also the drummer in a State College based Alternative Rock band called “The New Feel” who has performed at venues such as the Bryce Jordan Center. Mike plans to pursue a career in sports media or the entertainment industry in the hopes of becoming a producer or radio personality for a sports or music station. You can reach him via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and follow him on Twitter @_mikedavella.

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Jonathan Gross

Senior / Broadcast Journalism, International Politics

Jon Gross is a senior from Upper Saddle River, New Jersey double-majoring in broadcast journalism and International Politics. Gross currently serves as a Sports Director for Penn State’s CommRadio, where he has also broadcasted for ten Penn State sports teams. During the summer of 2018, Gross was the Director of Broadcasting for the Saugerties Stallions of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. He was also the radio play-by-play voice of the Penn State Women’s Volleyball team for the 2017 season. Gross has interned in the sports departments of WCBS-TV (New York) and WTAJ-TV (Altoona-Johnstown-State College).

You can contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and follow his twitter @j_gross31.

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Tom Shively

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Tom Shively is a senior from Ashburn, Virginia. He is one of the CommRadio sports directors for the 2018-19 school year. He serves as the women’s volleyball and men’s basketball producer and has broadcasted several Penn State sports including the 2018 NFL Draft as well as hosting a talk show airing weekly on CommRadio. Tom also works for, doing feature-style coverage of women’s volleyball and women’s basketball. Last summer, he interned at Blue Lion Multimedia, a local film company in the Washington, DC area. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow him on Twitter @t_shives.

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David Arroyo

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

David Arroyo currently serves as one of two General Managers for CommRadio. David is a former arts & entertainment director, social media director and editor for the station. He has produced for multiple Penn State sports while in CommRadio, has done play by play for Penn State sporting events such as football, basketball and volleyball and co-hosted and produced his own talk show. During the fall of 2017, David was an anchor, producer and reporter for the Centre County Report. David most recently interned at WPVI-TV, 6abc in Philadelphia during the summer of 2018. While at 6abc he was a programing intern and helped in the production of their weekly show “FYI Philly.” David has interned at B94.5 (State College) and Center City Film and Video (Philadelphia). Follow him on Twitter (@_arroyodavid) or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Joe Esquivel-Murphy

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a senior from Bay Head, NJ, majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. He has done play-by-play and beat writes for almost all the sports from CommRadio.  His two talk shows, Murph’s Lounge and Road to Russia, covered various different topics as the later previewed the qualification process to the World Cup with the former discussing relevant sports events. Joe also had an internship for Shore Sports Network (an affiliate of Town Square Media) before his junior year. To contact Joe, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).