Young Nittany Lions Upset By Lafayette

Story posted December 9, 2011 in Sports, CommRadio by Matt Trabold

Penn State (6-4, 0-0 Big Ten) fell short against Lafayette (4-5, 0-0 Patriot) Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center by a 61-57 score after struggling to make shots consistently throughout the entire contest.

Nittany Lions junior guard Tim Frazier entered the game against Lafayette ranked first in the Big Ten conference in scoring, with 19.1 points per game, third in the Big Ten conference in steals, with 2.3 steals per game, and seventh in the entire nation in assists, with 7.1 assists per game. Penn State’s go-to guy did not live up to expectations versus the Leopards though, only recording three points while going 0-for-12 from the field with five turnovers.

“I think the 2-3 zone probably affected him [Frazier] a little bit,” said Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers. “Once you started missing some shots it starts getting in your head sometimes. I give Lafayette all the credit. It was a great game plan.”

With Frazier struggling to hit shots and not turn the ball over, the Nittany Lions got their leadership and production out of a player who started the season in Chambers’ doghouse. Sophomore guard Jermaine Marshall missed much of Penn State’s preseason and their season opener after being suspended for a violation of team rules. On Wednesday night, Marshall recorded nine rebounds and 20 points, while going 9-for-11 from the free throw line.

The Nittany Lions’ shooting woes included shooting 13 percent from the perimeter and 33 percent from the floor as a whole. Lafayette only managed to shoot 38 percent from the floor, but was able to make 16 of their 20 foul shots and hit nine three-pointers. Penn State dominated the contest’s frontcourt battle, out rebounding the Leopards by 21 rebounds with twenty offensive rebounds of their own.

“It obviously wasn't pretty,” Lafayette head coach Fran O’Hanlon said of the contest. “We did what we needed to do at the end of the game.  As I just told the team, it was one of the ugliest finishes.  But, I thought our guys really stepped up and did things.”

Freshman forward Ross Travis recorded career-highs in both points with twelve and rebounds with eight, but continued his free throw-shooting woes going 1-for-7 from the foul line. The Nittany Lions lone senior, guard Cammeron Woodyard, reached double figures in points with ten and also tied a career-high with seven rebounds.

Lafayette freshman guard Seth Hinrichs and senior guard Jim Mower led the way for the Leopards both recording fourteen points, including Mower going 8-for-9 from the foul line. Senior guard Nick Petkovich added eight rebounds and thirteen points with four three-pointers.

One of the hottest Nittany Lions coming into the Lafayette game was sophomore forward Sasa Borovnjak, who recorded 15 points on 7-for-7 shooting from the floor Sunday night against frontcourt-centric Ole’ Miss. Borovnjak was only able to muster two points and two rebounds Wednesday night.

Penn State now travels to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the new home of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, the CONSOL Energy Center, for a Saturday matchup at 7 p.m. with Atlantic 10 conference foe, the Duquesne Dukes (5-4).

Matt Trabold is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email: mjt5203@psu.edu.