GAME NOTES: Fresh off their first win over a ranked opponent in two years, the Nebraska Cornhuskers will try to build on that strong performance as they visit the Bryce Jordan Center for Big Ten Conference action with the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Nebraska snapped a five-game losing streak on Monday with a 68-62 victory over No. 17 Ohio State. The victory improved the Cornhuskers to a 9-8 overall record and also gave them their first win in league play of the 2013-14 campaign. Coach Tim Miles has yet to lead his squad to a win in a true road test this season in five tries. However, four of those five bouts were against nationally ranked foes. Nebraska has the second worst scoring offense in the Big Ten at 69.3 ppg and ranks just ninth in the league in scoring defense with an allowance of 67.8 ppg.
Penn State enters this matchup in search of its inaugural Big Ten decision of the season after being defeated, 65-64, at Purdue on Saturday. The loss lowered coach Patrick Chambers's team to a 9-10 standing and was its sixth setback in a row. The Nittany Lions have performed much better at home, winning six of their 11 tilts at the Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State has been impressive on the offensive end en route to 76.1 ppg, but it is ranked last in the Big Ten in points allowed per game (73.6).
This will be the eighth meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. Although Penn State holds a narrow 4-3 all-time series lead, the Cornhuskers came out of both bouts in the 2012-13 season on top.
Shavon Shields and Terran Petteway contributed 18 points apiece for Nebraska against OSU. The Cornhuskers converted 20-of-26 attempts at the free-throw line to power past the Buckeyes, who were ranked third in the national rankings just a few weeks ago. Deverell Biggs provided a spark off the bench with 11 points on 4-of-5 efficiency from the floor while Shields pulled down a team-high nine boards. Biggs has been showing his value since the team has entered into Big Ten play, raising his scoring and rebounding averages to 11.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, respectively. Petteway is pacing Nebraska in the scoring column on the season with 17.4 ppg, while Shields chips in 11.4 ppg.
The Nittany Lions are led by the dynamic duo of D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier. Newbill is the sixth-leading scorer in the conference at 17.3 ppg, while Frazier is just one slot behind with 16.8 ppg. Penn State does not have a great deal of depth as the starting five has accounted for 81 percent of its 1,446 total points on the season. The Nittany Lions have lost their last four Big Ten games by a mere average of five points, including three games by three points or fewer. Frazier is also an excellent distributor and finished with five assists versus Purdue his last time out. He now has 586 assists in his career, leaving him just 14 shy of Freddie Barnes's school record.
Although it is playing the winless Nittany Lions, Nebraska will have a tough time stringing wins together. PSU's dynamic backcourt duo is bound to lead it to a win at some point. The Cornhuskers will have trouble keeping pace with the hosts offensively.
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