Penn State vs. Princeton Preview: The Return to Rec

Story posted December 14, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Jeff Jezewski

After 17 years, Penn State basketball will finally make the return to Rec Hall. On Saturday, December 14th, Penn State will take on Princeton in the game dubbed “Return to Rec.” This will be the first time Penn State has played a game in Rec Hall since they moved to the Bryce Jordan Center on January 11th, 1996.

The Nittany Lions head into the matchup with Princeton playing some of their best basketball. Despite losing twice over the last two weeks, Penn State was highly competitive and is meshing well as a team. The Lions, led by a strong backcourt of Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill, are averaging over 80 points per game this year.

Four Nittany Lions are scoring in double-digits, led by D.J. Newbill at 18.5 points per game. Tim Frazier, one of the most explosive point guards in the Big 10, adds 17.9 points per game. Frazier also has contributed nearly half of the team’s assists and pulled down over four rebounds per game. Ross Travis and Brandon Taylor are the leaders of the frontcourt for Penn State. Both players average over 11 points per game and four rebounds per contest.

That’s not where the production stops for the Nittany Lions. Donavan Jack rounds out the starting lineup, while Allen Roberts, Geno Thorpe and Graham Woodward all add in contributions off the bench. Penn State is well-rounded and Princeton will be a solid test for the Lions.

Princeton is 7-1 on the season, after beating Rutgers on Wednesday. Princeton is a team that likes to play big with none of their starters standing shorter than 6-foot-5. They are led by 6’5” guard T.J. Bray, who recently returned from injury. Bray was 2nd team All-Ivy League in 2013 and has continued his strong performance thus far. Since returning from injury, Bray has averaged 16.0 points per game and recorded his first career double-double. Junior forward Denton Koon made his first start of the season against Farleigh Dickinson and is second on the team in scoring, with 12.1 points per game. Koon is joined in the frontcourt by senior Will Barrett and sophomore Hans Brase. The trio all average at least 10 points per game and add solid rebounding and toughness in the paint.

The matchup will be tough for the Nittany Lions because of Princeton’s size. Center Donovon Jack will have his hands full in the paint and on the glass. Jack averages less than three rebounds per game, but he will need a better rebounding effort against the Tigers tough trio. Ross Travis is the Lions leading rebounder, but will need some help from Jack and the Lions guards on the boards. Penn State does have a distinct advantage in the backcourt. Frazier and Newbill combine to form one of the best backcourts in the Big Ten and in the country. Princeton’s guards could have trouble guarding the dynamic duo.

The Lions will have their hands full with a tough and disciplined Princeton squad. Penn State will look to pick up where they left off in Rec Hall back in 1996…with a win.

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