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Chilly Penn State hopes to heat up against Iowa

[ 0 ] February 12, 2013 |
Aaron White scored career-best 27 against Penn State last month

Aaron White scored career-best 27 against Penn State last month

Penn State’s basketball team is 0-11 in the Big Ten. Floored by the loss of team leader and all-Big Ten guard Tim Frazier to a ruptured left Achilles tendon four games into the season, the Nittany Lions continue to play like a team that is 11-0.

“There’s no doubt these kids are going to play hard,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said of Thursday’s game against Iowa at the Bryce Jordan Center.

“They’re not happy being 0-11, trust me. But they come out like it’s Oct. 15 (the first day of practice). And that’s the mentality we have. We have great energy and enthusiasm. But it becomes deflating after awhile when you can’t put the ball in the basket.”

The Nittany Lions are last in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 54.8 points in Big Ten games. Penn State is also last in field-goal percentage, .353, and three-point percentage, .236. Just twice has Penn State shot at least 40 percent against a Big Ten foe this season – 46.2 in a 60-51 loss at Wisconsin in the season’s first Big Ten game and 48 percent in an 81-72 loss to Michigan State.

“We’re doing a very good job of getting pretty high percentage shots,” Chambers said. “We’re just not making them. I know there’s going to be a point, a point soon, where everything is going to click. It usually does at least once a season where you’re going to make some shots.”

Chances to avoid an 0-18 Big Ten season are shrinking rapidly. After hosting Iowa, a program that hasn’t won at the Bryce Jordan Center since 2006, the Nittany Lions play at Michigan and Illinois, host Michigan, play at Minnesota and Northwestern and host Wisconsin.

Penn State lost at Iowa on Jan. 31, 76-67. Aaron White scored a career-high 27 points and the Hawkeyes made 31 of 39 free throws. The Nittany Lions shot 39.7 percent from the field and made seven 3-pointers in 23 attempts, their most makes in a Big Ten game this season.

“I expect the same team that we saw at Iowa,” Chambers said. “Even though they’re a youthful group they’re starting to grow up. They’re sharing the ball. (Devyn) Marble had a real good game for them the last game (21 points against Northwestern). I think he’s a real key for them. White is White. He continues to impress. (Mike) Gesell’s playing like a veteran. I expect an energetic group who is going to come out and try to throw the first punch.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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