GAME NOTES: Keystone State competitors get together on a neutral floor in Pittsburgh tonight, as the Penn State Nittany Lions clash with the Duquesne Dukes in non-conference action.
Inhabitants of the Steel City, the Dukes have yet to put together consecutive wins in 2013-14, although the team will have another shot at it tonight after defeating UMBC a week ago, 94-88, at home. That victory snapped a two-game slide by Duquesne, which is now an even 3-3 on the campaign.
Meanwhile, Penn State just snapped a brief two-game losing streak of its own with a 90-77 decision against Marshall on Saturday. The win came on the heels of setbacks to Ole Miss (79-76) and Pittsburgh (78-69), both on the road.
The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series by a count of 25-19, although in games played in Pittsburgh the advantage goes to the locals, 13-7. Duquesne has won three of the last four matchups played in the city, although the most recent encounter took place in Happy Valley last season where PSU posted an 84-74 triumph.
Every starter scored in double figures for the Nittany Lions during the home win over Marshall, with Ross Travis leading the way with 20 points, to go along with six rebounds in an effort to offset his five turnovers. Donovan Jack and D.J. Newbill pitched in with 18 and 17 points, respectively, while also clearing seven rebounds apiece. Jack, who shot 8-of-12 from the field, was a huge presence in the paint with a staggering seven blocked shots. Tim Frazier came up an assist shy of a double-double as he tallied 11 points, four boards and four assists, followed by Brandon Taylor with 10 points.
Newbill may lead the program at the moment with his 19.1 ppg, derived from 50 percent shooting from the field and 45.2 percent accuracy beyond the arc, but it is Frazier who is the director of this unit. The star guard not only puts up 18.6 ppg, he also puts out 7.2 apg, one of the top numbers in the entire nation. Between the pair they've accounted for 30 steals, the rest of the squad combining for a mere 17 thefts through 10 games.
At home in the Palumbo Center, the Dukes surrendered 88 points to a UMBC squad that shot 11-of-22 behind the 3-point line and 50.8 percent from the floor overall. Luckily, Duquesne knocked down an impressive 59.6 percent from the floor in order to come out ahead. Tra'Vaughn White tallied 22 points, Derrick Colter 20 as the pair combined for 12 assists and six steals, followed by Jerry Jones and Dominique McKoy with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Ovie Soko, who scored six points and cleared a team-high nine rebounds in the win over UMBC, leads the squad in scoring overall with 16.0 ppg, not to mention coming down with 10.0 rpg and placing third on the group with 16 assists. White chips in with 15.7 ppg, followed by Colter with 12.8 ppg and 21 assists as the duo combines for 20-of-45 shooting beyond the arc. The group is generating a lofty 81.5 ppg, but at the same time giving up 81.0 ppg.
Frazier was not available to play in the meeting between the teams last season and even though the Nittany Lions posted a double-digit win in that instance, the chances of a more lopsided outcome this time around is greatly increased.
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