After losses to number two Michigan and number nine Minnesota, Northwestern travels to University Park, Pa to take on 8-6, 0-2 Penn State. Penn State also had a rough start to the Big Ten Season. The are averaging 63.4 PPG on the season, but scored just 51 in losses to Indiana and Wisconsin to begin conference play.
The Nittany Lions went 8-4 against a mostly nondescript schedule in non-conference play. Other than their loss to IU, their lost their only other game against a ranked opponent against North Carolina State in the Puerto Rico Tip Off Classic. The Nittany Lions offense has been inefficient all-season. They are shooting just 41.2 percent from the floor and 29.1 percent on threes. They lost star guard Tim Frazier four games into the season with an achilles injury in a 85-60 loss to Akron. Frazier was averaging 21.6 PPG during the injury.
D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall have been the Nittany Lions consistent threats offensively in Frazier’s absence. They are the only Penn State players averaging in double figures. Newbill is averaging 14.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 3.9 APG. He also has 53 turnovers, which is just one less than his assist total. Marshall is averaging 14.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 2.3 APG.
Like Penn State, the Wildcats have had to adapt losing their star player. Four year starter Drew Crawford was lost for the season with a torn labrum last month.
Northwestern started off 6-0, but have lost six of their last nine. Four of those losses came at home after Northwestern won the South Padre Island Invitational.
With Crawford out for the season and JerShon Cobb suspended for the entire season, Senior guard Reggie Hearn has stepped up. Hearn missed the final non-conference tune-up against Brown and the Big Ten Opener against Michigan. He has scored in double figures in every other game except the season opening win against Texas State.
Hearn leads Northwestern with 14.2 PPG, is second in rebounds with 5.2 RPG and first in steals at 1.4 SPG.
Sophomore Point Guard David Sobolewski is the other only NU player in double figures at 10.9 PPG, he also has a 2.44-1 assist to turnover ratio. That is eighth in the Big Ten.
Northwestern will Tip Off against against Penn State at 7pm CT on ESPU and WGN Radio.