Duquesne (7-6) at Penn State (7-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 29, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bryce Jordan Center (15,261) -- University Park, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Duquesne 6-1, Penn State 6-1. Away Record: Duquesne 1-4, Penn State 0-1. Neutral Record: Duquesne 0-1, Penn State 1-2. Conference Record: Duquesne 0-0, Penn State 0-0. Series Record: Penn State leads, 24-19.
GAMES NOTES: The Penn State Nittany Lions will look to extend their longest win streak of the season on Saturday when the Duquesne Dukes come to the Bryce Jordan Center for a non-conference battle.
Duquesne is stumbling a bit after a 91-79 loss to Louisiana last Saturday. The setback was the second in three games for the Dukes with the team allowing more than 90 points in each defeat. Duquesne is now 7-6 overall, including a less than stellar 1-4 mark against teams on the road. Duquesne is playing in its final non-conference game of the season in this matchup with the team opening up Atlantic 10 play against Fordham next.
With a 72-45 victory over New Hampshire last Sunday, Penn State won its third straight game and improved its record to 7-4 overall. The victory came in the third contest of a four-game homestand which ends with this matchup. Penn State has been tough to beat at the Bryce Jordan Center with six wins in seven tries at home. Penn State also gets going in league play in its next bout against Wisconsin.
The Nittany Lions had won three straight against Duquesne before the Dukes earned a 66-59 win at home last season. Penn State leads the all-time series, 24-19.
In the loss to Louisiana, Duquesne had no answer for the hot shooting of the Ragin' Cajuns. Louisiana hit 55.7 percent of their shots from the field including 10-of-20 from beyond the arc. The Dukes hit 11 3-pointers themselves and shot at a 47.4 percent clip but it was not nearly enough. Derrick Colter scored a game-high 25 points in the loss.
Win or lose, one area that Duquesne has really excelled in this season is rebounding. The Dukes bring in 40.0 boards a game which leads the Atlantic 10 and is the 34th best mark in the country. In comparison to the rest of the conference the Dukes are rather poor offensively, ranking ninth in scoring (70.0 ppg) and 12th in field-goal percentage (42.3). Colter (13.9 ppg, 4.7 apg) does a good job of getting his own shot while setting up his teammates for good looks. Sean Johnson (12.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg) benefits most as the only other player scoring in double figures. Andre Marhold (6.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Kadeem Pantophlet (4.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg) lead the team on the glass.
Penn State blanketed New Hampshire and held the Wildcats to 22.6 percent shooting and just 12 total field goals last Sunday. The Nittany Lions also forced more than twice as many turnovers (15) as they committed (seven). Jermaine Marshall led four players in double figures for Penn State with 15 points.
The Nittany Lions can't claim the type of effectiveness on the glass as the Dukes (36.2 rpg) although they have managed to earn a +4.5 rebounding margin. Penn State doesn't rank well in comparison to the rest of the Big Ten on the offensive end scoring 63.7 points per game and netting 40.8 percent of its shots from the floor. Each of those marks is among the two worst in the league. Defensively the Nittany Lions have been solid, allowing 65.2 points per game on 41.1 percent shooting. Devonte Newbill (15.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.9 apg) and Marshall (15.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg) have provided a prolific one-two scoring punch out of the backcourt which has helped ease the loss of Tim Frazier (16.2 ppg) who is sidelined for the season.
Momentum is something that Penn State is lucky enough to have right now. Meanwhile the Dukes are showing some signs of weakness which will be further exposed on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Penn State 71, Duquesne 64
12/29 10:38:30 ET