Penn State vs. Northwestern Preview
With only two games left, the Nittany Lions will look to finish the regular season with an undefeated road trip and an above .500 record. Penn State will enter Thursday’s game against Northwestern with an overall record of 14-15 and a conference record of 5-11. The two Big Ten opponents have yet to play each other this year.
The similarities between the Wildcats and Nittany Lions are shown in both team’s home and away records. This season Penn State is 9-8 at home and 4-6 on the road, whereas Northwestern is 8-8 at home and 4-6 on the road. Both teams hold a similar overall record, making Thursday night’s game an even closer matchup.
Penn State played their final home game of the season on Sunday against Wisconsin. In Tim Frazier’s last game at the Bryce Jordan Center, the Nittany Lions fell to the Badgers 71-66.
Following Sunday’s loss, head coach Pat Chambers told the media his team was prepared to bounce back.
“If you hate losing, then itʼs easy...Itʼs easy to come back on Monday and try to get better.”
With 23 points in two consecutive games, guard, D.J. Newbill became the 31st player in Penn State basketball history to score 1,000-points in his career.
At the conclusion of Sunday’s game, Newbill reached a total of 516 points, giving him over 500 season points two years in a row. Having scored over 20 points in nine games this season, including three of his last four, Newbill is expected to play a large role in Thursday’s game in Evanston, Illinois.
Newbill averages 17.8 points and five rebounds per game. The star guard has tallied a field goal percentage of 46 and a free throw percentage of 76 this season.
In his final home game, graduate student Tim Frazier, passed the 500 career rebound mark to become the second Big Ten player in league history to reach 1,000 points, 600 assists, and 500 rebounds. Frazier’s 15.8 points and 4.4 rebounds will be a catalyst in the Nittany Lion’s final stretch of the season.
Other highlights from Sunday’s game included Brandon Taylor’s season-high 10 rebounds and John Johnson’s career-high five rebounds.
With Frazier leaving next season, Chambers has recently given more playing time to freshman, Graham Woodward, along with allowing Newbill to run the offense.
Northwestern fell to Nebraska 54-47 last Saturday in Lincoln. In front of the largest crowd in the short history of the Pinnacle Bank Arena, Wildcat guard, Alex Olah tallied a game-high 20 points and team-high seven rebounds on Saturday. Olah scored 14 points in the second half, and teammates Drew Crawford and Tre Demps were not far behind, both scoring in double figures.
The Wildcats forced 10 turnovers against the Cornhuskers, but were unable to capitalize, scoring only five points. A close and exciting game in the second half, quickly turned into a disappointing loss for Northwestern, as they were unable to score in the game’s final minutes.
Redshirt senior guard, Drew Crawford leads the team with 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. The Naperville, Illinois, native holds similar numbers to Newbill with a field goal percentage of 41 and free throw percentage of 78.
Key defensive players for the Wildcats include, Olah and forward, Sanjay Lumpkin. Olah has tallied 54 blocks on the season and Lumpkin has recorded 37 total steals.
Thursday’s game will mark the Wildcats’ final home game and just three days later, their regular season will come to an end on the road against Purdue.
Penn State will look to finish the season strong in their final two games of the season. The Nittany Lions will visit the Wildcats, Thursday night, at 7:00 p.m.
Maddie Brightman is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email mvb5601@.psu.edu.
Photo Courtesy: (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)