Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SB Nation Previews Cornell at Penn State



Penn State will wrap up the non-conference portion of its schedule on Wednesday night when it hosts Cornell at 7:30 p.m. inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

The Nittany Lions are coming off a 72-43 victory against Mount St. Mary's on Sunday against that snapped a three-game losing streak. Now they'll be looking to build momentum ahead of their Big Ten opener at Michigan on Dec. 29.

Cornell enters with a record of 4-5 on the season. Against No. 24 Illinois on Monday, the Big Red kept things close, falling by a 64-60 final score. Before that narrow defeat, Cornell won its previous two games against Lehigh and Albany, so the Big Red appear to be gaining some steam.

Below are some things to watch for in the game.

When Penn State has the ball...

-Jermaine Marshall has averaged 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds over his past five games. Another strong performance against Cornell and he'll be on quite a roll heading into conference play, so his efforts will be worth keeping an eye on.

-Penn State had five scorers finish in double figures against the Mountaineers. That's the kind of balance the Lions are going to need to be successful in conference play as in the absence of 2-3 dynamic scorers to carry the team, so finishing the non-conference strong as a team will be important.

-Penn State his eight three-pointers against the Mountaineers. A similar performance against the Big Red would help the Lions' confidence tremendously after their shooting woes for much of the season.

When Cornell has the ball...

-Penn State averages nearly six rebounds per game more than Cornell, so the Lions have a significant advantage on the boards. They've had no trouble controlling the glass, even in their losses, so expect them to that to continue against the Big Red.

-Cornell's leading scorers, Drew Ferry and Josh Figini, average 43.6 percent and 50.0 percent shooting from three-point territory, respectively. Penn State has been susceptible to the deep ball at points so far this season, so they Lions will have to keep an eye on these two early and often.

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