Penn state women's hockey head coach Josh Brandwene addressed the media after the Nittany Lions' 3-0 loss to Princeton on Jan. 29.Comments
After serving a suspension for a violation of team rules, the Alton brothers made their return against No.12 Nebraska on Jan. 27.
Both have wrestled as Penn State currently leads the Cornhuskers, 16-6, at the halftime break.
No. 3 Andrew Alton opened up a quick 4-0 lead over No. 12 Jake Sueflohn at 149 pounds, but slowly lost it before being pinned at the 5:33 mark. Sueflohn's pin gave the Cornhuskers their first points of the day, but the Nittany Lions still led 13-6.
In the last bout before the break, No. 6 Dylan Alton found himself locked in a tight battle with No. 4 James Green. The match was tied until Alton picked up a takedown late in the third period for the victory by decision at 157 pounds.
Nico Megaludis started the day off with a victory by forfeit at the 125-pound weight class. Redshirt freshman Jordan Conaway followed up Megaludis and kept the momentum going by picking up a win by major decision to put the Lions up 10-0.
Senior Bryan Pearsall earned a close 2-0 decision to upset Nebraska's No. 19-ranked Ridge Kiley.
David Taylor will lead off the second half of the dual against Nebraska's Tyler Koehn.Comments
The track and field team had a productive weekend to say the least at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor track facility, hosting the annual Penn State National meet. The team picked up a few records, and had many members of the team pick up personal, facility, and collegiate bests in different categories.
Friday’s action was headlined by the men’s foursome of Emunael Mpanduki, Matt Gilmore, Brandon Bennett-Green, and Aaron Nadolsky, who set a collegiate record for the 4x200 meter relay. Their time of 1:24.70 beat the prior record holder, Rutgers, who had a time of 1:25.05, set in 2007.
There were also records set by the field contingent of the team. Junior Will Barr had a school record of 67-3.50 (20.51) in the weight throw, which is also the second best in the NCAA this year.
Mahagony Jones, Sancho Barrett, Brittney Howell, and Emily Giannotti each also picked up either an event victory, or set a personal best for their event.
On Saturday, the Lions picked up where they left off on Friday as they continued winning events and setting records.
Casimir Loxsom was at it again, as he demolished the competition in the 600 meter dash, finishing with a time of 1:15.79. That time was only slightly above the American 600 record, which had been set mere hours earlier.
Freshman Brannon Kidder became the fourth Penn Stater, and the seventh consecutive Penn State National participant to break a four-minute mile, as he led the pack with a time of 3:59.48.
Twins Bernard and Brandon Bennett-Green picked up a win each in their respective heats of the 400-meter dash.
The field also had notable results, as Marlene Ricketts won the women’s triple jump, and set a personal record with a 42-2.25 (12.86). Sean Reilly also was a victor in the men’s high jump.
Penn State class of 2007 alum and 2012 Olympian Shana Cox returned to her home track, and won the invitational women’s 400-meter dash.
The meet ended on a bit of a down-note for the Nittany Lions, as the men's 4x400 meter relay “JoePA Inv” team of Mpunduki, Bennett-Green, Bennett-Green, and Luxsom that otherwise likely would have set a record, accidentally dropped the relay baton near the end of the race, and was forced to take a DNF for the event.Comments
Despite hanging around for the majority of the game, Penn State couldn't mount a late comeback as the team fell to Ohio State, 65-51, on Saturday.
With 2:05 remaining in the contest, the Nittany Lions (8-12, 0-8 Big Ten) created a much-needed turnover and had a chance to cut the difference to single digits.
However, the Buckeyes (15-4, 5-2 Big Ten) clamped down defensively and made 11 consecutive free throws in the final seven minutes to secure an 18-game winning streak against Penn State in front of 11,212 fans on Coaches vs. Cancer Band Together Day at the Bryce Jordan Center.
“When [Penn State] went to the fouling, knocking those [free throws] down was kind of what finished the game off for us,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “…Anytime they’re fouling and you step up and make two, it really helps your cause.”
Despite the Buckeyes capability to ice the game, Penn State held its own against a team that hasn’t lost to an unranked opponent all season.
Most notably, the Lions were able to bottle up imposing forward Deshaun Thomas, who led the Big Ten in scoring heading into Saturday with 20.5 points per game.
Thomas, who played just nine minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, finished with 11 points and hauled in just three rebounds.
“If you told me we were going to hold Deshaun Thomas to 11 points, I’d say we were going to be in the game, and maybe with a chance to win,” Lions coach Patrick Chambers said.
On the offensive end, guards Jermaine Marshall and D.J. Newbill carried the team once again, as they combined for 31 points and eight assists.
Even though the backcourt duo shouldered the scoring burden, Penn State took care of the basketball with just four turnovers against the Buckeyes, who are second best in turnover margin in the Big Ten.
Most notably, Newbill committed just one giveaway while guarded by Aaron Craft, one of the best defenders in the Big Ten.
Despite this, Penn State couldn’t capitalize on open looks as they came out and shot a meager 29.2 percent from the field in the first half, and was held without a field goal for an 11-minute stretch in the first half.
“We were focusing on making smarter passes,” Newbill said. “…We were moving the ball, we were swinging, and swinging and swinging it. I think we were able to get some good shots [from that].”Comments
The second series between Penn State and Syracuse has begun with the same outcome, but by a much different score.
The Nittany Lions (7-15-1, 1-9-1 CHA) dropped their College Hockey America and home opener to the Orange (13-11-1, 7-3-1 CHA) on Oct. 13, 4-0. However, Friday night's meeting ended in a much closer 1-0 loss for the Lions.
Nicole Renault scored the game's lone goal in the opening stages of the first period, with 13:11 remaining. Despite a staggering 46 total shots, it ultimately was the only goal the Orange could score.
However, the Lions were unable to capitalize on any of their 13 shots and could not grab a conference point out of the matchup. They had two opportunities to tie the game on power plays in the final period, but came up empty with only one shot.
Shannon Yoxheimer, the team's top goal scorer and leader in points, led the Lions with five shots. Team captain Taylor Gross (3) and Jill Holdcroft (2) were the other Lions with more than one shot.
The Lions get another chance to top the Orange and snap their three-game losing streak on Saturday at 2 p.m.Comments
No. 6 Penn State was holding an ice cream social after Saturday night’s match, and Mark Pavlik alluded to it in his presser, saying he wanted it to be short so the ice cream wouldn’t melt.
Pavlik must have also said that to his team as the Nittany Lions defeated Sacred Heart in straight sets (25-12, 25-18, 25-23) in Rec Hall on a snowy Friday night.
“Tonight’s match, certainly the first two games, thought we controlled what we could control,” Pavlik said. “As the match went on we made them pretty predictable and they struggled to put balls away on us. Third game I thought they came alive a little bit.”
Penn State (5-1) extended its winning streak to five and the win was the first EIVA conference win for the Lions. Penn State is also on a seven set winning streak as the Lions last lost the fourth set in the Lewis match.
Penn State hit .313, while the Pioneers (0-4) hit a mere .060. Offensively, Aaron Russell and Tom Comfort once again led the Lions in kills, both with seven apiece.
The Lions jumped out early in the first set leading 15-4 at one point, and finished the first set with their biggest lead of the match, 25-12. A taller Penn State team and Sacred Heart only tied three times in the first set.
“Size difference was a bit of a factor,” Sacred Heart coach Kalani Efstahiou said. “Once we settled in we did the best we could in that situation.”
Sacred Heart, however, hung with Penn State for most of the second and third sets. The schools tied 21 times in the final two sets. However, there were only six lead changes in the entire match.
The Nittany Lions will play Harvard in the South Gym of Rec Hall at 4 p.m. Saturday night.
East Lansing, Mich. ÂÂ- Penn State's first road trip to a fellow Big Ten school didn't started well. It didn't end well either, as the Michigan State Spartans won, 5-3.
Just as the Nittany Lions looked like they settled in, Michigan State took the lead. Michael Ferrantino scored his second goal of the season after his backhander snuck under Skoff’s left armpit.
Immediately after going down by two in the second period, Penn State was forced to kill a penalty, but once again, Penn State came alive in the second period.
On the ensuing Michigan State power play, Penn State broke out with a 3-on-1. Tommy Olczyk snapped a laser past the glove to bring the Nittany Lions within a goal.
Later in the second, Max Gardiner fed Taylor Holstrom who went to his backhand to roof it. The goal tied the game.
The Spartans quickly answered with another go-ahead goal a little over a minute later.
Michigan State's relief did not last long as David Glen buried a loose puck in the crease just 15 seconds later to tie it again.
Despite coming back, a costly penalty ended up being the difference. Connor Varley was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind.
Tanner Sorenson's second goal of the night put the Spartans on top for good. Greg Wolfe sealed the victory for Michigan State when he put it in an empty net.
The rubber match is set for a 6:05 faceoff Saturday night.Comments
Tune in as Lady Lions reporter Zack Neiner breaks down the Lady Lions' 64-59 victory over Minnesota on Friday.Comments
In the second edition of “Big Ten Breakdown” we look back at the highlights from Monday to Thursday, and there were plenty to pick from.
Other than Northwestern upsetting No. 12 Minnesota, the week wasn’t much of a surprise result-wise despite some thrilling games.
With that being said, let’s take a look at what happened over the past few days and what lies ahead this weekend in the Big Ten.
Performance of the Week: Michigan State’s Branden Dawson
Despite averaging a solid 10.5 points per game, guard Branden Dawson has been inconsistent on the scoring end for the Spartans this year.
Dawson, who was one of two players suspended for the first half of Jan. 16’s game against Penn State, couldn’t get anything going against the Lions, but progressed against Ohio State on Saturday with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Building off that stepping stone, Dawson had a career night when Sparty needed it most in a 49-47 win at Wisconsin.
The 6-foot-6 sophomore tallied a career-high 18 points, ripped down 13 boards and scored seven of the Spartans’ final 10 points to ice the win.
Freshman of the Week: Indiana’s Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell
At home against Penn State on Wednesday, big man Cody Zeller was a virtual non-factor, scoring just two points and not converting a single field goal.
However, Zeller’s normal dominance wasn’t needed as the Hoosiers’ backcourt took over.
While junior guard Victor Oladipo had quite a game (19 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals), perhaps the most impressive guard for Indiana was freshman Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell.
With the Lions’ 2-3 zone defense rotating to the ball, Ferrell saw numerous open looks and he capitalized.
The freshman point guard shot 6-of-7 from the field, nailing three of his four attempts from behind the arc.
Totaling 15 points, Ferrell got going early, scoring five of Indiana’s first seven points.
With Indiana playing both Michigan schools over the next three contests, play like this from their young guard would be nice for Indiana heading forward.
Game of the Week: Michigan State 49, Wisconsin 47
Runner-up for game of the week would be Ohio State’s victory over Iowa in Columbus.
Despite finishing with a nine-point victory, Ohio State allowed Iowa to cut a 23-point second half lead to just five with 2:30 remaining.
However, nothing in the Big Ten touched the back-and-forth game between Sparty and the Badgers at the Kohl Center on Tuesday.
Michigan State, who previously won only one out of nine games played in Madison, outlasted Wisconsin in a defensive, yet exciting struggle.
In a grind-it-out game, a meager 29.6 percent from the floor hurt Wisconsin, but it was free throws that kept them from winning a seesaw matchup.
Not only did they finish just 7-of-18 from the line, but Badgers’ guard George Marshall had two free throws with 3.5 seconds remaining down by two points. Continuing the trend, Marshall missed the front end and subsequently tried to miss the second, but failed to contact the rim to give the Spartans the ball and the game.
Matchup to Watch this Weekend: Illini's Brandon Paul vs. Michigan's Trey Burke
For those who admire filthy guard play, Sunday's game between Illinois and Michigan is one to watch.
While Wolverines’ ball handler Tim Hardaway Jr. is perhaps the most underrated guard in the country (16.8 points, 5.2 rebounds per game in Big Ten play), the spotlight is and will continue to be on sophomore shooter Trey Burke.
Burke, who was previously committed to Penn State before switching to Michigan, has averaged 18.6 points per game in his last seven contests. And while its clear Burke can score with the best of them, it’s his ability to distribute the basketball and rack up dimes that gets overlooked.
On the contrary, Illinois’ Brandon Paul doesn’t like to give up the basketball if he doesn't have to, and with good reason.
While Paul has averaged just 14.3 points per game, he has three games this year with 25 or more points scored, including a monster 35-point night against Gonzaga on Dec. 8.
With the conference’s two highest scoring guards going at it, it should prove for some fireworks in Champaign.
Game to watch: No. 13 Michigan State at No. 7 Indiana
While Minnesota at Wisconsin is sure to be an intriguing game, the obvious choice is a top-15 matchup between the Spartans and Hoosiers.
In a contest between two of the Big Ten's best, it seems like Michigan State has the momentum heading into this one.
While Tom Izzo's group will be trying to come out of raucous Assembly Hall with a win, the Spartans have won six straight - three of the wins by three points or less.
And after close victories over Ohio State and Wisconsin, the Spartans should be riding high heading into Bloomington.
Plus, Indiana could come out a little vulnerable at home, especially after an easy victory over Penn State on its home floor.
However, big men Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix need to get going early if Michigan State wants to beat the nation's second best scoring team.
Indiana's Cody Zeller has the capability to take over a game, so if the Spartans' duo underneath doesn't win the battle on the glass it could be a long day for Michigan State.Comments
It was set up to be a trap game.
Minnesota (13-7, 2-4) came in losing two straight Big Ten contests against Purdue and Nebraska. Penn State came in cruising on cloud nine on a nine game winning streak and just defeated No. 23 Michigan.
It’s a roller coaster season and both teams experienced a ride tonight, as the game featured 13 lead changes and 12 ties. In the end, the Lady Lions (15-2, 6-0) hung on to win 64-59.
It was a roller coaster game for senior Nikki Greene, too. On the boards, she dominated with a game high of 13 rebounds. Shooting on the other hand, it was a struggle. She went 3-for-11 from the floor. Yet she still managed to score her 1,000th career point tonight.
Girl on Fire
Watch out Alicia Keys, junior guard Maggie Lucas is that girl on fire. While tonight was far from a perfect performance from the Narbeth, P.a. native, as she did have four turnovers. She still went 9-for-18 from the field tallying a game high 26 points, to help propel her Lions over Minnesota.
Three Blind Mice
The three officials that called tonight’s game did a subpar job that got the attention of the fans, coaches and players. At one point, head coach Coquese Washington appeared destined to obtaining a technical foul after a controversial call on Greene. Yet, somehow Washington kept her cool enough to prevent it.
On Wednesday, Washington talked about how Greene was being treated unfairly by the officials due to her size and presence inside the paint. Well, the officials supported Washington’s argument tonight.
Despite picking up three fouls with eight minutes to go, Greene rallied to help lead the Lions to victory.
“She doesn’t take a lot of shots, but the ones she takes, she makes,” Washington said of senior Gizelle Studevent after the game. Studevent went 2-for-3 from the field in seven minutes of action. She nailed a big one with five minutes left in the first half to keep Penn State tied with the Gophers.
Before the game I predicted the Lions would steam roll the Gophers en route to a 90-56 win. I was far from it.
Did you see a trap game coming? What are your post game reactions? Tweet us with them @TDC_WBasketball
Look for a full game recap in tomorrow's Daily Collegian.Comments
Lady Lions (15-2, 5-0) vs. Minnesota (13-6, 2-3)
6:30 p.m. on BTN
The No. 8 Lady Lions will face Minnesota, a team that is coming off two tough losses in the Big Ten against Purdue, 75-67, and Nebraska, 84-63.
What Coquese said about Minnesota
Both teams play up-tempo styles of basketball and score points as Minnesota averages 72.2 points per game while the Lions average 74.4.
But defensively is where the two teams separate. The Lions have held opponents to an average of 55.9 points per game while the Gophers' opponents average 63.7 points per game....Advantage Penn State.
Taylor Swift has a hit single called "I Knew You Were Trouble". Not surprisingly, she sings one lyric, "I knew you were trouble when you walked in." That should be Minnesota's motto when approaching senior guard Alex Bentley.
Bentley averages 4.13 steals per game, which is currently No. 2 in the country. If the Gophers let Bentley dominant on defense, well, like Taylor Swift would say, shame on you now.
What to watch for
If freshman Candice Agee will play.
Agee suffered an ankle sprain against Wisconsin last Thursday, which sidelined her for Michigan.
While the Lions should have no problem taking care of Minnesota with or without the 6-foot-6 center, it is important to have her as a healthy option off the bench down the stretch.
When fans go to the BJC on Thursday, some might be fooled that they're in East Halls as Minnesota enters the game with six freshmen, if you include redshirt freshman Kayla Hirt.
It's a familiar look that Penn State has seen a few times this season with Georgetown and most recently, Wisconsin. As the previous teams will say, the Lions will try to rattle the inexperience depth of the Gophers and take advantage.
One of the most talked about topics at Wednesday's media day was the student section, or lack thereof.
Maggie Lucas, Alex Bentley and Talia East all said how they would love a student section. It should be interesting to see if their plea gets answered going down the stretch of the Big Ten.
Write It Down
Similar to Wisconsin last Thursday, this game won't be close. Lady Lions win in a blow out, 92-56.
What are your predictions for tonight’s game? Write them in the comment section below and follow TDC_WBasketball for live tweets from Thursday's game.Comments
This week we bring you the first installment of "The Rundown," during which Lady Lions reporter Zack Neiner will provide all you need to know from Penn State's weekly press conferences.Comments
Penn State made its regular season debut in the Main Gym of Rec Hall Tuesday and swept the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (27-25, 25-16, 25-19) in front of a few hundred fans, including Penn State women’s volleyball stalwarts Ariel Scott, Micha Hancock and Deja McClendon.
“All in all it was a good win, especially coming back to the Main Gym,” said head coach Mark Pavlik. “We have a lot of respect for the crowd, God love them, who braved the subzero temperatures and came out for the match.”
Despite the low attendance, the Nittany Lions provided plenty to cheer about as they defeated the Ramblers 27-25 in a back and forth opening set.
Senior Tom Comfort picked up right where the last match ended as he paced the home team with five kills in the opening set and tied for the lead with ten kills overall.
“I give all the credit to Taylor [Hammond] for putting up great balls,” said Comfort. “It’s the play of everyone else on the team that’s making me look good.”
In the second set the Nittany Lions lead from start to finish on the way to a 25-16 victory, while leading as much as 19-8 at one point in the set.
While only logging two kills apiece in the opening set, Aaron and Peter Russell had five and four kills respectively and helped Penn State impose its will around the net.
“We kind of have a little bit of a sibling rivalry, but it’s great to play on the same team,” said Peter, who finished with ten kills and a match-high seven digs.
The third and final set saw Penn State run out to a big lead once again, only to have Loyola-Chicago rally to make it interesting before ultimately losing to the home team 25-16.
The Nittany Lions return to Rec Hall on Jan. 25., when they open their EIVA schedule against Sacred Heart.
Michigan was the only team that stood in the way of the Penn State to stand alone atop the Big Ten standings.
It was a battle of the unbeatens on Tuesday in Ann Arbor, Mich. and the 59-49 victory last night for the No. 8 Lady Lions (15-2, 5-0 Big Ten) over the No. 23 Wolverines (15-3, 4-1 Big Ten) gave Penn State sole possession of the conference and the team remains the only undefeated squad in the Big Ten.
Despite controlling the ball most of the first half and heading into halftime with a 32-24 lead over Michigan, the Lions gave up an 8-0 run to start the second, tying the game at 32.
The troubles continued in the beginning of the half as Maggie Lucas, Nikki Greene and Tori Waldner all had four fouls with six minutes left the game.
Holding Penn State to just 59 points, well below its season average of nearly 75 is a testament to the Wolverines' defense who only allow 51 points per game regularly.
“Michigan is a real tough team, they are very intense defensively,” Lucas said in a postgame interview.
Even with the slow start, Penn State came alive as Dara Taylor continued her strong defensive showing as she stole the ball from Michigan’s Jenny Ryan for a fastbreak layup to score the Lions' first points of the second half.
“I thought [Dara] did a much better job in the second half of applying ball pressure on Ryan and trying to disrupt their rhythm, not letting them get a rhythm,” coach Coquese Washington told GoPSUSports after the game. “Michigan is a team that when they are moving the ball quickly, cutting quickly and doing all the screen action that they have, on the ball and off they ball they are tough to defend.”
Penn State put up a strong defensive showing as well, holding the Wolverines to their second lowest scoring game all season. Washington said she wanted to keep Michigan off the three-point line, where they are the most dangerous averaging nearly seven 3-pointers a game; and to make them take as many contested shots as possible.
“We really stress defensive practice. Down the line everyone is ready to come in, defend and get after it,” Lucas said. “I thought Tori Waldner and Talia East really came in and provided a great spark off the bench for us.”Comments
Two days after defeating No. 19 Wisconsin 36-6 in a thrilling dual at Rec Hall, No. 1 Penn State picked up its first conference road win of the season, defeating No. 22 Purdue, 35-3.
While it was only the second time this season that the Lions wrestled both Friday and Sunday, head coach Cael Sanderson said Tuesday that the wrestlers are used to the grind that comes with the Big Ten season.
“They wrestle two times a weekend all the time. It's not really that big of a deal for them but we want to make sure that we use the matches for our conditioning and make sure they feel good in the matches,” Sanderson said. “That's the best confidence booster we can do for them.”
After defeating Wisconsin on Friday, the Lions came in to Sunday's dual with plenty of confidence. The lightweights started Penn State off on the right foot, with the team winning its first three bouts and jumping out to a 10-0 lead. Nico Megaludis, Jordan Conaway, and Bryan Pearsall all posted convincing victories in the lightweights to give the Lions their early edge.
With Purdue threatening to steal the momentum heading into the intermission after No. 13 Ivan Lopouchanski defeated James English 5-2 at 149 pounds, James Vollrath posted a back-and-forth 12-9 victory at 157 pounds over Tommy Churchard to give Penn State a 13-3 lead heading into the break.
The Lions expanded on their lead in the second half as David Taylor started the team off with a pin in the first period of his bout against Doug Welch.
Matt Brown followed the first pin of the day with a convincing 15-3 major decision over Kyle Mosier. Brown started the bout strong, leading 7-1 after one period with the help of three near fall points. The sophomore maintained control in the second period before posting three takedowns in the third to get the major decision.
After not wrestling Friday due to a forfeit at 184 pounds, Ed Ruth registered another pin, this time at 3:42 over Dion Crowder. Ruth was up 8-1 before he grabbed Crowder's arm and turned him on his back.
The Lions then used a 7-1 decision victory by Quentin Wright at 197 pounds and a 4-1 win by Jon Gingrich at heavyweight to take the dual by a score of 35-3.
Three of the Penn State's four remaining Big Ten duals will be on the road and with trips to Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio State looming, Taylor said February will be a good test for the team.
"We haven't really had a road test since I've been in school. This year we will definitely be tested going to Iowa, wrestling a really strong Illinois team, going to Ohio State, and wrestling a Pitt team,” Taylor said after Friday's dual. “Those are four straight duals in a row, it's going to be challenging.”
Three Pennsylvania teams and one from Vermont occupied the Wells Fargo Center ice Saturday.
Penn State never trailed in its 4-2 win against the Vermont Catamounts following the Philadelphia Flyers' home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Philadelphia Saturday night.
Junior Taylor Holstrom put the Lions ahead early after he knocked down a clearing attempt and hammered home his fifth goal of the year.
Later in the first period, freshman David Glen scored his 11th goal on a snap shot from the slot after receiving a backhand pass from junior Justin Kirchhevel.
With 10:17, Kirchhevel tried a wrap around that appeared to be stopped by the left pad of Catamount goalie Brody Hoffman. However, Kirchhevel and the crowd celebrated as if they scored. Even though the red goal light didn’t come on, the play was reviewed and officials ruled that the puck did cross the goal line. It gave the Nittany Lions a three-goal lead.
Vermont came back with a powerplay goal to keep them within two goals minutes after Holstrom's goal.
Casey Bailey netted his 11th goal of the season after a scramble in front that knocked Hoffman down. The play was also reviewed but quickly deemed a good goal. The goal gave Penn State a commanding lead.
Skoff also made some difficult saves that kept Vermont off the scoreboard at critical points. Skoff made 34 saves on the night.
The Nittany Lions will now focus on taking on future Big Ten foe Michigan State for two games in East Lansing, Mich. next weekend.
After being relocated to the South Gym due to the wrestling meet between Penn State and Wisconsin being held in the Main Gym, the Nittany Lions rolled to 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 25-18) victory over No. 13 Lewis in straight sets Friday night in Rec Hall.
Penn State took the opening set 25-22 behind the play of senior Tom Comfort, who registered seven kills and no errors in the first frame.
“For the seniors, this is our last year. This is the last chance we’ve got,” said Comfort, who finished with a game-high 18 kills and 12 digs. “We don’t want to lose at all on our home court this year.”
The Nittany Lions were also the beneficiaries of five service errors committed by Lewis, while Penn State was also in the giving spirit as they committed four service errors themselves in the first set.
The second set was nearly a mirror image of the first -- Penn State took it 25-23 with Comfort logging another seven kills.
After getting out-blocked by Penn State 1.5-to-4 in the first set, Lewis went on the defensive to the tune of 7.5 blocks in the second set and finished with 17.5 to Penn State’s nine.
Members of the press nearly had an uninvited guest land in their laps during the middle of the set as Aaron Russell, nine kills, dove to save the ball, and the point, for Penn State.
“All the effort you saw tonight we saw all through the fall,” said Penn State coach Mark Pavlik. “Tonight we won most of the long rallies and by shear effort we kept the ball in play.”
Lewis finally appeared to work out the kinks in the third set, as their blocking was once again a major factor in their 25-20 set victory with redshirt sophomore Geoff Powell (team-high 13 kills) leading the offensive charge.
Neither team was able to take a commanding lead of any kind as the score flip-flopped between the two throughout the first three sets.
The fourth and final set proved to be a different story, as Penn State dominated to the tune of a 25-18 score.
“I thought our guys battled hard on defense but you have to credit Penn State with the pressure,” said Lewis coach Dan Friend. “This is a tough environment to play in, especially coming off of a few long road trips.”
The Nittany Lions return to Rec Hall on Jan. 22., when they host Loyola-Chicago.Comments
During Penn State's dual match with Wisconsin on Jan. 18, redshirt freshman Jordan Conaway (blue) defeated the Badger's No. 3 Tyler Graff (red) by sudden victory in overtime in the 133-pound weight classComments
Bringing something new to the sports blog, our beat reporters thought it’d be fitting to not only cover Penn State hoops, but also what’s going on in the Big Ten on a week-to-week basis.
In these “Big Ten Breakdown” pieces, we will look back and point out the highlights from Monday to Thursday, and jump forward with a glance at the weekend ahead.
Below, I give my insight as to what was most impressive so far this week and what to keep an eye on as the weekend rolls around.
Performance of the Week: Nittany Lions’ backcourt
After shooting just 26 percent from the field as a team against Purdue on Sunday, the Nittany Lions (8-9, 0-5 Big Ten) needed to make easy baskets if they wanted to hang on Wednesday with No. 18-ranked Michigan State (15-3, 4-1 Big Ten).
While the rest of the team scored just 16 points, it was Penn State guards Jermaine Marshall and D.J. Newbill who made those open-and sometimes not so open-looks.
After the team averaged 49.5 points in four Big Ten games, the two guards responded to the scoring woes with 56 combined points - 29 by Marshall and 27 by Newbill, both career-highs.
While the Spartans owned a seemingly insurmountable lead after a 15-4 run, Marshall and Newbill went to work in the second half, and almost pulled off the upset by themselves.
Freshman of the Week: A.J. Hammons, Purdue
While the Big Ten has well-known and dangerous forwards like Indiana’s Cody Zeller and Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas, one big boy underneath that doesn't get the attention he deserves is Purdue’s center A.J. Hammons.
Hammons, a true freshman, has been working Big Ten frontcourts and it certainly didn’t stop Wednesday night against lowly Nebraska (9-9, 0-5 Big Ten).
The 7-foot, 280-pounder, who’s a reminder of former Buckeye bruiser Jared Sullinger, used deceptively quick feet and brute force to tally 14 points, eight rebounds and six blocks against the Huskers.
Nebraska had its own freshman perform well as Shavon Shields finished with 18 points.
However, Purdue (9-8, 3-2 Big Ten) already has three wins in the conference and it’s been much to the credit of Hammons.
Game of the Week: Wisconsin 64, Indiana 59
Whether it was sloppy passing or fumbled chances at open looks, Indiana (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) didn't look like the second best team in the country in the final 20 minutes of Tuesday night's game against Wisconsin (13-4, 4-0 Big Ten).
After nailing over 46 percent of their shots in the opening half, the Hoosiers shot an atrocious 26.9 percent from the field after halftime in a 64-59 loss.
To the Badgers' credit they stuck to their style of basketball and found ways to succeed on the road at historic Assembly Hall.
Even after allowing Hoosiers' beast down low Cody Zeller score 18 points in the first half, Wisconsin played methodical Bo Ryan-basketball, and the rewards included a spot atop the Big Ten standings.
Matchup to watch this weekend: Wisconsin’s Ryan Evans vs. Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble
While it’s unsure whether or not they’ll be guarding each other, one thing is for sure: Ryan Evans and Roy Devyn Marble will be huge factors on the offensive end in Saturday’s game between the Badgers (13-4, 4-0 Big Ten) and Hawkeyes (12-5, 1-3 Big Ten).
Evans, a 6-foot-6 forward, scores at a clip of 11.5 points per game and hasn't’ dipped below double digits in Big Ten play. On the other hand, Marble, who is also 6-foot-6, averages 15 points per game.
Even though numbers-wise their impact is apparent, the matchup problems Evans and Marble create for defenses can get flat-out frustrating.
Both are too quick on the draw to be covered by traditional power forwards, while height advantages give them the edge against a No. 2 guard.
It should be interesting to see the impact each makes on Saturday and which will lead their team to a crucial conference victory.
Game to watch this weekend: No. 11 Ohio State vs. No. 18 Michigan State
In the lone Big Ten matchup featuring two ranked teams this weekend, the Buckeyes (13-3, 3-1 Big Ten) and Spartans are heading into this game at two different ends of the spectrum.
While they both won their last games, Sparty needed the heroics of Adreian Payne to stave off an upset by Penn State, while Ohio State trumped previously undefeated Michigan on Sunday by three points in a game that won’t soon be forgotten.
Also after returning from Happy Valley, Michigan State will have just two days to practice and plan against a Buckeyes team that’s been scheming all week.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see if Ohio State can dig up some offense from someone not named Deshaun Thomas (leading Big Ten with 20.3 points per game).
But, the biggest thing to watch in this one is if Buckeyes’ lockdown guard Aaron Craft can contain Spartans’ do-everything ballhandler Keith Appling (13.7 points, 4.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game).
While it’s still early, this could be one of a few games that ultimately decides an expected close finish in the Big Ten - clearly the nation’s best conference so far in 2013.
After dismantling Nebraska on Sunday, the Lady Lions have carried their momentum into the first half of their game against Wisconsin, and lead 46-21 at halftime.
The Lady Lions opened the game going on a 11-0 run in the first four minutes, which consisted of four steals.
Penn State has held the Badgers to shoot 30.4 percent in the first half, which has constrained Wisconsin's offense.
That pressure has also translated to 10 steals creating 17 points off turnovers.
Senior guard Alex Bentley has contributed most to that total, tallying 11 points and three steals.
Defense is one thing head coach Coquese Washington has been trying to preach early in this game as she could be heard shouting, "Get on the ball!" during a timeout.
With the Lions holding Wisconsin to 21 points in the first half, it appears the team is responding.
The official AVCA Coaches Poll is out, and Penn State once again moved up, now to No. 6 in the country.
Penn State began the season at No. 8, moved up last week to No. 7, and now moved to the No. 6 spot after Long Beach State went from No. 6 to No. 9, this week.
The drop from Long Beach State was partly due to its loss to No. 8 UC Santa Barbara in three sets.
At the top of the list is No. 1 UC Irvine, followed by No. 2 Stanford and No. 3 BYU. UC Irvine received eight first-place votes, and the Cardinal received seven. UC Irvine is 4-1, and Stanford remains the only unbeaten team in the top 15 at 4-0. Stanford jumped BYU after the Cougars fell to No. 12 Lewis in five sets this past weekend. UC Irvine also lost this past week to No. 7 USC, 3-0.
Penn State will open its home schedule against Lewis at 7 p.m. on Friday at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions are the only ranked EIVA team, and only one other EIVA team received a vote, George Mason.
Week 2 Rankings (last week rankings in parentheses)
1. UC Irvine (1)
2. Stanford (3)
3. BYU (2)
4. Pepperdine (4)
5. UCLA (5)
6. Penn State (7)
7. USC (8)
8. UC Santa Barbara (9)
9. Long Beach State (6)
10. Cal State Northridge (11)
11. Ohio State (10)
12. Lewis (13)
13. UC San Diego (14)
14. California Baptist (12)
15. Pacific (15)
Other schools receiving votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Hawai’i 15, Loyola-Chicago 3
George Mason received one vote on a ballot (Mark Pavlik’s)
The Penn State men’s gymnastics team opened up its 2013 campaign with an impressive victory over Army on Saturday night at Rec Hall.
“This was probably the best first meet I’ve ever had,” said head coach Randy Jepson, whose fourth-ranked team outscored the Black Knights 447.850 to 403.650.
The Nittany Lions were in control from the beginning of the meet, with senior Matt Chelberg winning the floor exercise with a score of 15.000.
“I was just thinking exactly what I had to do on each skill and stay focused on that. I stayed aggressive the whole time and things turned out pretty well,” said the Athens, Ohio native.
Penn State continued to dominate the 13th-ranked Black Knights after the floor exercise, winning four of the following five events. Army’s Garrek Hojan-Clark won the individual pommel horse.
“We had three goals tonight,” Jepson said. “We wanted to first stay healthy, which I think we did. Second, was to have no more than six misses (they had five), and finally have no more than two misses on a single event. And we did that.”
Next weekend, the team travels to Annapolis, Md. to compete in the Navy Open.
“We go to an away floor next week and that’s a totally different story than being at home,” Jepson said. “But right now, we’re ahead of where I thought we would be.” He also added that this win will help motivate the team early in their season.
Senior Felix Aronovich was named the most outstanding performer on the night, finishing in second place in five of the six events. Aronovich, who is from Israel, was one of 19 Penn Staters to compete in last summer’s London Olympics.
On hand to present Aronovich with his award was Penn State cheerleader Paige Raque, the younger sister of team captain Parker Raque. When she took to the center of Rec Hall, she received a standing ovation after last year’s accident in which she fell from a window in Calder Commons. Raque has been in Kentucky recovering, but still plays an influential role on the team.
“It’s amazing what she went through. It was hard on the team with Parker, our captain, being out of training for a week. We all felt sad but seeing her recover every week has been a great spiritual push for our team”, Aronovich said.Comments
After going to the fifth and final set during their matches against UCLA and Hawaii, Penn State found a way to dispatch rival Ohio State in straight sets (26-24, 25-17, 25-22) Saturday night from the Stan Sherrif Center in Honolulu.
“Even though [Ohio State] is a great group of guys, we’re all out here trying to get the ‘W,’” said Penn State senior Tom Comfort who finished with 10 kills. “We still have that Big Ten pride.”
No. 7 Penn State was tested early on in the match as the opening set saw numerous ties and lead changes that ended with the Nittany Lions narrowly holding on to claim victory.
After Ohio State clawed back to tie the first set at 24 all, junior Peter Russell logged two straight kills to clinch the opener 26-24.
Russell, who finished with 12 kills, was outdone by his younger brother Aaron, a sophomore, who registered a game-high 13 kills.
Penn State as a team finished with an overall total of 44 kills while Ohio State had 34.
The Nittany Lions were the beneficiaries of some much needed breathing room in the second set as they won a commanding 25-17.
Leading the defensive charge for Penn State was redshirt sophomore Connor Curry, who had a team-high 11 digs.
“While blocking is something we’re still working on as a team, our blockers slowed down some tough hitters tonight,” said Curry. “All in all we played well defensively during the tournament.”
The third and final set saw Penn State playing catch-up nearly the entire time until the closing moments, as they came from behind to close out the No. 10 Buckeyes 25-22.
The win over Ohio State concluded the Nittany Lions vacation in Honolulu as the team went 2-1 during the Hawaii Outrigger Invitational with the lone loss coming against tournament champion No. 5 UCLA.
Penn State will return home to host Lewis University on Jan. 18.
Even though the stats won’t go toward their final total, Penn State can say they have completed a comeback despite getting outshot 49-30. The Nittany Lions scored five answered goals in the 5-2 win against the United States Under-18 National Development Team.
At 8:47 of the first period, Michigan commit Tyler Motte scored on a wide-open net after Matt Skoff left a rebound in his crease.
As the siren-sounded at the end of the first period, Casey Bailey and Connor Clifton were both penalized after a scuffle behind the net.
Another Michigan commit gave Team USA a two-goal lead. Tyler Motte snapped a shot past Skoff’s glove.
The Nittany Lions quickly answered less than two minutes later when George Saad scored to keep the game one goal apart.
The game then became much more physical. Eight of the total penalties called in the second period came after the Penn State goal.
The Lions got the game-tying goal after Kenny Brooks was able to find the net at 10:35 .
Joseph Lordo gave Penn State it’s first lead on a one-timer that was fed from Taylor Holstrom and Bailey. Tommy Olczyk put the Lions ahead by two at 13:12 of the third period with a backhander that tickled the twine. Brooks added an empty-netter to seal the victory for Penn State.
Skoff made some photographic saves while stopping 47 USA shots in the win.
Three Stars: 3rd Georgeo Saad (PSU), 2nd Joseph Lordo (PSU), 1st Matt Skoff (PSU)
The women's gymnastics team will look for its first win of the season when it travels to the University of Illinois at Chicago on Saturday for its second meet of the season.
The team finished second in Denver last weekend, but the gymnasts have felt a change in perspective this week at practice.
“We’re working on our confidence,” Savannah Soares said. “Our strength has gotten better, both physically and mentally.”
One thing the team has focused on this week has been balance beams, where Penn State lost its lead to Denver in the last meet.
“Balance beam is just as good this week as it was last week," head coach Jeff Thompson said. “We had two kids fall off with the beam being four inches wide; that happens.”
Among the changes this week, Thompson and senior Madison Merriam said they think “there will be lineup changes” at UIC.
“Either with the order or swapping gymnasts themselves,” Thompson said. “Some gymnasts like to go right away after warming up, others like to wait longer and catch their breath.
The meet at UCI will also be the last before Penn State sees its first Big Ten opponent when it takes on Iowa on Jan. 19.Comments
Since the Outrigger Invitational originated in 1995, Penn State has competed in every single tournament, save for one: last season. After missing the 2012 edition of the Invitational due to scheduling issues, Penn State returns to Honolulu as the representative from the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. One of the oldest non-conference tournaments in men’s volleyball, four teams comprise the tournament field and are selected from the EIVA, the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and Hawaii, member of the MPSF. Let’s examine Penn State’s opponents, beginning with two-time defending tournament champion UCLA.
While the Bruins did not appear on Penn State’s schedule last season, the Nittany Lions are very familiar with the head coach of UCLA: John Speraw. The UCLA alum previously coached at UC Irvine, defending national champions and the team that ended Penn State’s season in the Final Four a year ago. Speraw takes over for retiring head coach Al Scates, who is viewed as the “Vince Lombardi of men’s volleyball" after winning 19 national championships in 50 seasons at UCLA. Despite the changes at the helm, the Bruins don’t figure to miss a beat and will serve as a menacing opening opponent for Penn State. Currently ranked No. 5 in the AVCA poll, the Bruins are anchored by junior Robart Page who leads the team in kills, digs and blocks. Page is the type of do-it-all player that keeps opposing coaches up at night and one that could have the top individual performance of any player during the three-day tournament. UCLA leads the all-time series against Penn State 24-6.
The host university of the Outrigger Invitational, the Warriors are looking for a fresh start after finishing last season in the cellar of the MPSF. After dropping its two opening matches of the season to No. 2 BYU, Hawaii limps into tournament play and faces off against Penn State in the second day on the island. The play of sophomore JP Marks was the bright spot against BYU, particularly in the second match as Marks recorded 14 kills and eight digs. Penn State players should recognize a familiar face on the other side of the net in 6-foot-7 junior Jace Olsen, who transferred from Penn State to Hawaii after last season. Olsen, who started 41 matches at Penn State, is second on the team with 15 kills. The Warriors are coached by Charlie Wade who holds a career record of 41-43 in his three-year career at the school. Hawaii last won its home tournament in 2010.
What better way to end the Outrigger Invitational than with a date against the No. 10 Buckeyes on the final day of the tournament? Penn State senior captain Connor Curry describes the Top 10 matchup as having a “Final Four feel,” and spectators should be treated to an electric atmosphere during the contest. Ohio State, who claimed its sixth straight MIVA regular season championship in 2012, dominated Saint Francis 3-0 in the season-opener. The Buckeye to watch is sophomore libero Brennan Anderson who claimed MIVA Defensive Player of the Week honors after logging a career-high 12 kills against Saint Francis. Ohio State is coached by Pete Hanson who guided the Buckeyes to the national championship in 2011. The final match of the tournament for both teams also serves as the first of three matches between the two schools during the upcoming season as Ohio State travels to State College in early February and Penn State ventures to Columbus in mid-March. Ohio State returns to Honolulu for the first time since 2010, when it failed to win a match in tournament play.Comments
Penn State fell to 8-10-0 after losing 4-3 at UCONN, Friday night.
Freshman forward David Glen retook the team lead in goals when he scored his ninth of the season, on the power play, to tie the game in the first period.
The Nittany Lions were able to take the lead early in the second period after a goal from junior forward Taylor Holstrom. UCONN was able to retake the lead after they scored two goals less then two minutes apart.
The Lions also got another game-tying goal from freshman defenseman Connor Varley, but the only goal in the third period was enough for the Huskies to get the victory. The Huskies improved their record to 6-8-2.
The game only totaled four penalties as the Lions were able to score the only power play goal, going 1-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
The Lions won't have time to dwell on the loss as the two teams will face off again at 7:05 p.m. Saturday night.Comments
Once again the Nittany Lions will be facing an opponent from Atlantic Hockey when they face UConn in Storrs, Conn. tonight and tomorrow night. Both games are slated to start at 7:05 p.m.
Penn State currently holds a 4-6 record against opponents from the AHA.
The Huskies (5-8-2, 4-6-1 Atlantic Hockey) are coming off a holiday tournament split as hosts of the 20th Annual UConn Hockey Classic. They beat American International College, 7-2, before dropping the championship matchup to No. 18 Minnesota State, 3-1.
UConn has three players tied for the team lead in goals. Sean Ambrosie, Trevor Gerling, and Cody Sharib each have four goals.
The Huskies have also been outscored by their opponents 39-29. On special teams, they are also 5-for-58 on the power play and 7-for-58 on the penalty kill.
Bryce Johnson leaves team
Johnson's departure was announced Thursday via the team's Twitter page. Head coach Guy Gadowsky said Johnson left the team for personal reasons.
Johnson could not be reached for comment Friday.
In nine games, Johnson was unable to record a point and had a plus/minus rating of minus-four. The Iowa native's last game was in a 3-2 loss to Robert Morris on Dec. 15.
With 18 games played and 18 games left on the schedule, the Nittany Lions reached an 8-9-0 record against NCAA opponents in addition to a weekend series split with Arizona State of the ACHA. The Lions also went 2-1-0 against NCAA Division III opponents.
Penn State will also have another game in an NHL arena when it hosts Vermont at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Jan. 19.
Six of the remaining games will be exhibitions while the Lions will play four road games against Big Ten opponents - Jan. 25 and 26 at Michigan State and Feb. 24 and 25 at Wisconsin. Penn State will also host a fellow independent in Alabama-Huntsville Feb. 8 and 9.Comments
Despite scoring just 18 points and facing an 11-point deficit at the end of the first half, Patrick Chambers' gritty squad clawed back and nearly pulled off a road win to open Big Ten play in a 60-51 loss to Wisconsin.
The Nittany Lions (8-5, 0-1 Big Ten) erased the halftime deficit with the help of guards D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall halfway into the second 20 minutes.
Marshall, who finished with 19 points, hit a jumper with three minutes remaining in the game to cut the Badgers (10-4, 1-0 Big Ten) lead to one.
However, Badgers coach Bo Ryan called a timeout and settled his team before the Marshall jumper made the score 50-49 in favor of the home squad.
It seemed to have worked because the Badgers regained their focus and found versatile big man Jared Berggren around the rim.
With two powerful slams that also resulted in fouls, it's safe to say the 6-foot-10 senior made the Lions pay down the stretch.
Even though the close finish was probably fun for the casual fan, what caused the shifts in momentum was back and forth exchanges of crucial runs by both the Lions and Badgers.
In the first half, the Lions were up by four points, but Wisconsin strung together a controlling 19-2 run that gave them the double-digit lead at halftime.
On the flip side, with eight minutes remaining in the final 20 minutes Penn State utilized a 9-0 to get back into the game and cut the lead to just four.
And while Chambers' squad stuck around until the end at the Kohl Center, Wisconsin finished off the scrappy Lions with a 10-2 sequence to close the game.
While Marshall led all scorers, Newbill also had a solid game with 12 points, eight rebounds and an established sense of confidence with his mid-range jumper.
Lions forwards Brandon Taylor and Sasa Borovnjak also finished with eight points each.Comments
What to Watch for in the Big Ten:
Illinois: Despite losses to then-No. 12 ranked Missouri and Purdue, Illinois should be able to compete in virtually every game because of one player: Brandon Paul. The senior guard, who averages 18.5 points per game (second in Big Ten), has been lights out in the Illini’s biggest games of the year, including a 35-point outpouring on then-No. 10 ranked Gonzaga.
Indiana: Dominant seven-foot forward Cody Zeller will probably be on a short list for the Naismith Player of the Year award by season’s end. However, Indiana has more weapons than just Zeller, most notably junior guard Victor Olapido. Since Nov. 17, Olapido has scored at least 14 points per game and has shot less than 60 percent from the field only once in the last eight games.
Iowa: After an 11-2 record in non-conference play and a nail-biting loss to No. 5 ranked Indiana, the Hawkeyes should be feeling good, but three-point shooting is still a major concern. Iowa could have beat Indiana if it weren’t for 3-of-17 shooting from downtown, and only Purdue and Penn State are shooting with a worse percentage from behind the arc in the Big Ten.
Michigan: Currently sitting at No. 2 in the country, the Wolverines don't look like a team with a fatal flaw. As Glenn Robinson III holds it down around the rim, Michigan boasts arguably the best backcourts in the country with Trey Burke (17.8 points per game and 7.4 assists per game) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (15.8 points per game). As long as Hardaway’s recent injury remains a minor issue, the Wolverines’ concerns in Big Ten play should be at a minimum.
Michigan State: Michigan State’s identity may be a little blurry at the moment with hit-or-miss play from big men Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne, but there are two things Spartans’ supporters can always count on — superior coaching by Tom Izzo and reliable leadership and playmaking ability by point guard Keith Appling. Appling has contributed in virtually every category so far as the Detroit-native has averaged 14.9 points, 4.1 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game this year.
Minnesota: The Gophers lost just once in non-conference play (an 89-71 defeat to then No. 5 ranked Duke), and the reason for success has been a spread-out offensive output. Through 14 games, Minnesota has four players averaging 10 points per game or more, and injury-ridden forward Trevor Mbakwe looks healthy for the start of conference play (11 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks against Michigan State on Dec. 31).
Nebraska: It’s expected that the Huskers will have a rough conference slate, but if Nebraska wants to win a few games, the team will need to come out ready to go in the first half. The Huskers have averaged just 22.2 points in the first 20 minutes in five of their last six contests.
Northwestern: Following a 19-10 season last season that resulted in an NIT berth, the Wildcats will need to continue crisply passing the rock (No. 16 in country in assists per game) to find open shots in order to get over the hump and replace graduated pure scorer John Shurna (20.0 points per game in 2011-12).
Ohio State: While forward Deshaun Thomas is the Buckeyes go-to scorer (19.9 points per game this year), most of their success will hinge on seasoned point guard Aaron Craft — most importantly, his capability to lock down opposing scorers and nail key shots when needed.
Penn State: For the Lions, the biggest story of the non-conference was Tim Frazier’s injury and his absence won’t change in Big Ten play. However, the new focus will be on whether guard D.J. Newbill (18.5 points, 7.25 rebounds, 4.5 assists per game in last four games) can continue his recent play against upcoming stiff conference opponents.
Purdue: After an up-and-down non-conference slate, it will be interesting to see if freshman center A.J. Hammons (9.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in 2012) is ready to try and fill the gap left after four-year star Robbie Hummel graduated.
Wisconsin: After the graduation of star guard Jordan Taylor, coach Bo Ryan will look to slow things down and get the ball close to the glass with senior 6-foot-10 big man Jared Berggren (13,4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in 2012).
Our B1G Predictions
With several question marks regarding the Big Ten conference still remaining, one thing's for sure — this is likely the best conference in the nation. Below, our three beat reporters take a stab at exactly just how things will shake out by the end of the conference season.
John McGonigal's predictions:
1. Michigan (15-3)
T1. Indiana (15-3)
3. Minnesota (14-4)
4. Ohio State (13-5)
5. Illinois (11-7)
T5. Michigan State (11-7)
7. Wisconsin (7-11)
8. Iowa (6-12)
T8. Northwestern (6-12)
10. Penn State (5-13)
T10. Purdue (5-13)
12. Nebraska (2-14)
Wynton Somerville's predictions:
1. Michigan (15-3)
2. Indiana (13-5)
T2. Minnesota (13-5)
T2. Ohio State (13-5)
5. Michigan State (12-6)
6. Illinois (10-8)
7. Nebraska (7-11)
8. Purdue (5-13)
T8. Iowa (5-13)
T8. Wisconsin (5-13)
11. Northwestern (4-14)
T11. Penn State (4-14)
John Stuetz's predictions
1. Michigan (16-2)
2. Indiana (15-3)
3. Ohio State (13-5)
4. Minnesota (12-6)
5. Michigan State (11-7)
6. Illinois (9-9)
7. Iowa (7-11)
T7. Wisconsin (7-11)
9. Penn State (5-13)
T9. Northwestern (5-13)
11. Nebraska (4-14)
12. Purdue (4-14)
Penn State set out to achieve its third straight Southern Scuffle title on day two. While the team had a slim advantage heading into Wednesday, the Nittany Lions pulled away and recorded their third straight title.
The Lions entered Wednesday's semifinal action with an eight-point lead over Minnesota. The team extended its advantage by going 5-1 in the semifinals, winning three weight classes. Overall, the Lions took the title with 178.5 points compared to 158 points for Oklahoma State.
No. 2 Nico Megaludis won the first weight class for Penn State by defeating No. 8 Matt Synder 8-2 in the 125 pound final. The sophomore went 4-0 during the tournament to extend his record to 12-1.
All eyes were on the 165 pound weight class as No. 2 David Taylor had a chance to face off against No. 1 Kyle Dake in the finals. With Taylor defeating No. 4 Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State in the semifinals, the matchup with Dake was set up.
The 165 final was a potential preview of the national title bout in the weight class and was a rematch from the U.S Marine Corps All-Star Classic, a match which Dake won 2-1.
The bout was much like their first meeting with Dake leading 1-0 on an escape after two periods. In the third period, Taylor fought back, grabbing a 2-1 lead on a reversal. Dake was given a reversal with under 1:00 left to win 3-2 and defeat Taylor for the second time this season.
No. 1 Ed Ruth dominated his way through the 184 pound bracket to notch the Lions' second title of the day. The junior was matched up against No. 9 Mike Larson of Missouri and posted an 11-0 major to move to the finals. Ruth faced off against No. 2 Steve Bosak and it was more of the same for the No. 1 seed. Ruth won the final 7-3 to win his third Southern Scuffle title.
Quentin Wright won the Lions' third title moving his way through the 197 pound bracket. The senior was matched up against No. 9 Jake Meredith of Arizona State in the finals. While the pair were tied 2-2 in the second period, Wright waited, looking for his time to strike. At the 5:33 mark, Wright took advantage of the opportunity, pinning Meredith.
Of the 17 wrestlers that the Lions sent to the tournament, 11 placed in the competition. While James Vollrath lost in the 157 final and Taylor lost in the 165 final, the Lions had six wrestlers place in the consolation bracket.
Among the Lions to place in the consolation bracket were Jimmy Gulibon who finished fourth place at 133 pounds and James English who finished third place at 149 pounds.Comments
The Nittany Lions backed up their No. 1 ranking with a strong showing at the Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Tuesday, grabbing the lead against some stiff competition.
Penn State, the tournament's defending champion, took an eight-point lead over 2012 runner-up, No. 3 Minnesota, with six Lions’ wrestlers advancing to the semifinals in their respective weight classes.
The highly anticipated rematch of an exhibition bout earlier this year between Penn State’s reigning Hodge Trophy winner David Taylor and Cornell’s three-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake remains possible as both wrestlers moved on to the semis. Taylor and Dake earned two pins each during their march through the 165 bracket and Taylor will face Oklahoma State’s Tyler Caldwell while Dake will take on Viginia’s Nick Sulzer.
Sophomore Nico Megaludis, junior Ed Ruth and senior Quentin Wright entered the tournament as the Lions’ No. 1 seeds in their respective weight classes.
Megaludis earned two byes followed by two victories; one against Eddie Klimara of Oklahoma State and another versus David Terao of American in the quarterfinals, which was where Megaludis lost in the 2012 Southern Scuffle. Megaludis will face Nahshon Garrett of Cornell in the semifinals.
Ruth pinned three straight opponents in the 184 tournament before defeating Virginia’s Stephen Doty, 13-4, by major decision. The victory earned Ruth a match against Missouri’s Mike Larson in the semis. Ruth won the 174-weight class at the 2012 Southern Scuffle over teammate Matt Brown, who advanced to the semis of the 174 bracket on Tuesday and will take on Minnesota’s No. 2-seed Logan Storley.
Wright, the 184 champion at last year’s tournament, breezed through the 197 bracket and will face Minnesota’s Scott Schiller in the semis.
Junior James Vollrath was the lowest seed, at No. 5, to advance to the semis for the Lions. Vollrath earned two major decisions during his climb through the 157 tournament and will take on top-seeded Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State on Wednesday.
The battle for the 285 starting spot may not have gotten any clearer for head coach Cael Sanderson as sophomore Nick Ruggear, freshman Jimmy Lawson and sophomore Jon Gingrich were all knocked out of the tournament on day one. Ruggear lost in the round before the quarterfinals and was later eliminated from the consolation bracket. Both Lawson and Gingrich lost in the quarters and were placed in the consolation tournament. If both Lawson and Gingrich win their next matches, they will wrestle one another.
The Lions have a number of wrestlers in addition to Lawson and Gingrich still alive in the consolation bracket of their weight-classes. Redshirt freshman Jordan Conaway and unattached freshman Jimmy Gulibon lost in the quarterfinals of the 133 class, but claimed spots in the consolation tournament. Redshirt freshman Luke Frey and senior James English also lost in the quarters at 149 and fell into the same position Conaway and Gulibon are in.
Freshman Zack Beitz, who wrestled unattached like Gulibon, senior Bryan Pearsall and senior Nick Fischer all rebounded from earlier losses and picked up two wins to stay alive. Beitz and Pearsall are wrestling in the 141 bracket while Fischer is in the 165 tournament.
The Lions look to pick up another championship Wednesday at McKenzie Arena with semifinal matches scheduled for noon and final matches at 6:00 p.m.Comments
It has been a roller coaster year for the Lady Lions in 2012, one that has seen the program be taken to new heights. I took a look back and compiled a list of the top five headlines surrounding the Lady Lions in 2012.
This headline has nothing to do with play of the Lady Lions, but it shows what weight sport can carry off the court.
In 2012, the Lady Lions donated $203,000 to six charities to help fight breast cancer. It is a record number for the team and illustrates how far the event has come over the years.
It was an early chance for the Lady Lions to avenge their Sweet 16 loss against Connecticut and prove they are deserving to be considered as a powerhouse in women's basketball. However, Connecticut had something to say about that.
While it is only one loss in a long season, it was an opportunity for Penn State to show the world that the team is for real in a hyped Sweet 16 rematch.
Before the rematch, there was the first meeting between the two teams.
While Penn State lost to Connecticut, it opened new doors for the program. The Lady Lions saw firsthand how a team as successful as Connecticut plays and returned back to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2004.
Coaches and players often disregard morale victories, but Penn State's return to the Sweet 16 for the first time in eight seasons, is big for a program that was struggling a few years ago.
This headline ties into another, that Coquese Washington stayed at Penn State despite a head coach opening Michigan.
The program has been rejuvenated under Washington and her contract extension is an exciting reassurance that Penn State will continue being a mainstay in women's basketball.
Washington's five-year contract extension is worth $3.5 million and lasts until 2017.
It's the lasting image of the 2011-12 season, the Lady Lions celebrating a Big Ten title as confetti rained down from the rafters at the Bryce Jordan Center.
For the first time since 1996, the Lady Lions were Queens of the Big Ten and returned from the dogs days that plagued the team since the scandal that surrounded Rene Portland's exit.
The vision of Penn State returning to one of the top programs in women's basketball, stopped being a dream, and finally became a reality with the title.
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