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January 8, 2012
Suddenly dangerous Lions host Hoosiers at noon today
It's a noon matinee today at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State today as Indiana comes in for a BTN broadcast game. Not much has been expected of the Nittany Lions this year under new coach Patrick Chambers but Penn State found itself earlier this week in a 20-point drubbing of Purdue.
6-foot-8 forward Billy Oliver was the stat sheet MVP against the Boilermakers on Thursday, knocking down a career best 7-for-11 three pointers, accounting for all of his game high 21 points.
"Billy Oliver looked like Tom Gugliotta against Purdue," said IU coach Tom Crean yesterday. "He is a major league shot maker."
The other key to the upset was the play of 6-foot-4 sophomore guard Matt Glover. His defense helped the Lions hold Purdue to just 18 first half points and season low 45 points for the game. But it was more than Glover's defense as Boiler coach Matt Painter pointed out after the game.
"If we could have someone to play as hard at Matt Glover; he clearly played harder than anyone who attempted to guard him," said Painter. "He did little things. He gets 11 rebounds, five assists, two steals. He just made a lot of hustle plays for them and that's something we really prided our program on in terms of doing whatever it takes."
The all-league candidate on this team is junior point guard Tim Frazier. The only returning starter from last year's NCAA tourney team, the 6-foot Frazier leads this team with a 17.1 ppg average, fourth best in the league. He leads the entire Big Ten in assists, dishing out 6.8 per game. Frazier nearly had his fifth double-double against Purdue with 15 points and nine assists.
"Tim Frazier is playing as well as anyone in the league and he does a great job of getting in the lane as he looks to score or facilitating for others," said Crean.
The Purdue win moved Penn State to 1-2 in conference and 9-7 overall. Other major conference wins for the Lions before this week included an ACC/Big Ten Challenge victory over Boston College (62-54) and a neutral court 53-49 win over South Florida of the Big East.
"Coach Chambers' teams get after it every possession and you can see that they play really well together," said Crean. "They have a number of guys who are playing bigger roles and they are responding to the challenge."
The Hoosiers have won twice on the road but fell at Michigan State in their only conference game away from Assembly Hall.
"As I said before, a defining moment for our team this year was our win at Evansville," said Crean. "Our approach was outstanding and we have built off that experience which has allowed us to play pretty well away from Assembly Hall."
The Hoosiers players are confident in being prepared for that first road league victory today.
"We know the mentality you have to take if you are going to win on the road," said Victor Oladipo.
"Going on the road and getting the wins early in the season has helped this team tremendously," said Jordan Hulls.
For more on the Nittany Lions, check out the Hoosier Game Day page.
Expected starters and key reserves: