Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Fall to Sixth-Ranked N.C. State, 72-55
Penn State couldn't hang with the sixth-ranked N.C. State Wolfpack, losing 72-55 Thursday night.
Heading into the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Challenge, Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said the Nittany Lions' matchup against N.C. State was more about how Penn State played than anything else.
A year ago, the Nittany Lions played No. 2 Kentucky early in the season and were overwhelmed, 85-47. For Chambers, the key to the game was showing improvement in an early season contest against a top-ranked opponent.
"Last year I didn't feel like we handled the stage well," Chambers said. "We need to play better team basketball, play with more confidence. If we do that, then who knows what the outcome will be."
For the most part, Chambers got his wish.
Penn State opened up the game with a strong defensive effort, keeping close to N.C. State. The Nittany Lions struggled from the field but were only down nine points at half, 35-26.
N.C. State opened the second half quick, hitting its first four shots to extend its lead to 44-30. From there on out the Nittany Lions never brought the game back to within single digits but were able to cut an eventual N.C. State 24-point lead to only 14 with just less than three minutes remaining.
Tim Frazier led the way for Penn State, scoring 23 points. The 23 points marked Frazier's twentieth, 20-point game of his career and he became the thirtieth 1,000-point scorer in program history.
DJ Newbill and Jermaine Marshall added 13 and 11 points, respectively, but the Nittany Lions shot only 31 percent from the field and had a hard time maintaining any offensive rhythm throughout the game.
The Nittany Lions also turned the ball over 13 times and struggled to crack a stout NC State defense in the paint. Jon Graham played a strong game on the glass grabbing 10 rebounds but struggled to hit a few close shots, scoring only four points.
The University of Massachusetts will take on Providence on Thursday night, and the Nittany Lions will play the loser of that game on Friday.