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William & Mary (0-0) at Penn State (0-0)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Friday, November 14th, 6:30 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Bryce Jordan Center (15,261) -- State College, Pennsylvania. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: William & Mary 0-0, Penn State 0-0. Away Record: William & Mary 0-0, Penn State 0-0. Neutral Record: William & Mary 0-0, Penn State 0-0. Conference Record: William & Mary, Penn State 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The new season will begin at home for Penn State, as the Nittany Lions will host the William & Mary Tribe this evening in a non-league matchup at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Tribe were mediocre at best this past season, finishing with a 17-16 record. William & Mary put forth an average effort in CAA action as well, posting a 10-8 record, but the Tribe played their best basketball in the conference tournament before falling to George Mason in the league title game. The team does return some key players, but it is likely William & Mary will be no better than .500 this year. As for the Nittany Lions, they are coming off a lackluster season in which the team finished a game below .500. Penn State also struggled in Big Ten play, recording a meager 7-11 ledger. The Lions lose their top scorer from a year ago, but the team returns most of its starting lineup and should be ready to take a step forward this year. This will be the first-ever meeting between the Tribe and Penn State on the hardwood.

The Tribe posted back-to-back 15 win seasons for the first time since 1985, and last year the team made the conference title game for the first time in school history. CAA Coach of the Year Tony Shaver has three important players back on the court this year, beginning with guard David Schneider. Schneider, who averaged 10.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, and 3.8 apg this past season for William & Mary, is clearly the top player for coach Shaver, and should continue to lead this team in all areas. Schneider might be the most complete player for the Tribe, but Danny Sumner is the most dangerous. Sumner, who posted 10.5 ppg this past season, is a scoring threat every time he touches the ball, and could be one of the best players in the CAA this season. In all, the team returns nine letter-winners, and some newcomers, who each will be expected to contribute.

The Lions were not very impressive this past season, but coach Ed DeChellis is hoping this is the year PSU finally becomes a major player in the Big Ten. For that to happen Jamelle Cornley and Talor Battle will need to lead the way. Cornley, who has been plagued by injuries, is back after netting 12.1 ppg and grabbing 6.1 rpg. He shot 50.6 percent from the field and is only the 16th player in school history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds. Battle, who is only a sophomore, averaged 10.2 points, 3.5 caroms and 3.2 assists per contest as a rookie. Senior guard Dan Morrissey only tallied 7.6 ppg this past season, but he is a dangerous shooter who buried 58 three-points in his junior campaign. Coach DeChellis is hoping for an improvement from David Jackson as well, as the sophomore has the ability to hurt an opponent in the paint, or from the perimeter. With this much returning talent, the Lions should have high hopes entering tonight's season-opener.

The Tribe had a special run last year, but it is a new season, and opening the campaign on the road against Penn State will prove to be a difficult task. The Lions have too much talent for William & Mary, and should open their campaign on a good note.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Penn State 66, William & Mary 55

11/14 10:46:57 ET