Penn State Struggles in Big Ten Opener
Penn State (8-6, 0-1) was unable to find their groove Thursday night, as they fell 71-53 to 18th ranked Michigan (11-2,0-1) on the road in the Big Ten opener.
Tim Frazier stole the show for Penn State, and put up 20 points to go along with 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Frazier is 5th in the country in assists-per-game (7.2), and would likely be contending for 1st if Penn State wasn’t shooting 39% for the year, which equates to 309th overall in the NCAA. He once again had 5 turnovers, a number that likely won’t change as long as he remains the only Penn State player able to dribble in traffic.
Frazier was the only Penn State player to break double digits in points, and also the only player to log more than 30 minutes on the court. Chambers was forced to make moves early with several players getting into foul trouble and the inability to make free throws, notching an ugly 58% free throw percentage. Jermaine Marshall was non-existent in the first half and struggled with fouls, but was able to put up 9 points in the second half on 2 smooth 3-pointers.
Michigan shot 48% led by Tim Hardaway Jr. with 26 points. As Patrick Chambers put it, “The problem with playing Michigan is that if you try to stop Hardaway, Zack Novak can hurt you, or Evan Smotrycz, or Trey Burke. There’s just a lot of depth over there.”
The team will travel to Evanston to take on Northwestern (10-3, 0-1) Sunday at 7 p.m, which can be seen on ESPNU. Penn State has traditionally owned Northwestern, winning 10 of the last 11 meetings. Although Northwestern is a better team than usual, this is a nice opportunity for Penn State to pick up a conference win, and likely one of the few good chances they’ll have the rest of the way.