After more than a week off to focus on final exams, Penn State is back in action Sunday afternoon when it hosts Mount St. Mary's at 4:00 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Entering with a 1-8 record, the Mountaineers would appear to be just the weak opponents the Nittany Lions need coming off three straight losses to Mississippi, Lafayette and Duquesne. Mount St. Mary's almost pick Penn State off last season at the Jordan Center, though, with the Lions needing a miracle 3-point heave from Talor Battle with 1.3 second remaining to steal a win, so the Mountaineers are far from a pushover despite their lackluster record.
Here are some things to watch for in the game.
When Penn State has the ball...
-Turnovers have become an issue for the Lions. Their 13 against Lafayette and 23 against Duquesne were a large part of their undoing against both teams, so ball security has to be a priority. Staying in control and making smart decisions could be good first steps toward breaking the losing streak.
-Coach Patrick Chambers has said he wants to see point guard Tim Frazier take 20 shots per game. Against Duquesne, he took nine. Against Lafayette, he took 12. It'll be interesting to see if Frazier has the confidence to raise that number against the Mountaineers.
-Penn State is ranked No. 320 nationally in field goal percentage. It sounds pretty simple, but Penn State has to do better than that if it's going to break this streak and make a push for postseason play.
When Mount St. Mary's has the ball...
-Penn State has outrebounded all three of its opponents on this losing streak. Eventually, that kind of intensity on the glass is going to pay off, so the Lions have to make a conscious effort to maintain it.
-The Mountaineers' two top scorers, Julian Norfleet (12.3 points per game) and Lamar Trice (10 points per game), aren't exactly lighting things up so far this season. If the Lions can do a nice job against them defensively, they should be in good shape.