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Penn State-Rutgers: 5 Things to Know Before PSU Tries for 1st Road Win of Season

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Mike Rhoades

Penn State had a 16-point second-half lead at home this past Saturday against Minnesota and lost.

Now, coach Mike Rhoades’ first Penn State team (9-11, 3-6) looks to bounce back by doing something it hasn’t done yet this season: win on the road.

The task at hand is Rutgers (10-9, 2-6) in Piscataway, New Jersey. Here are five things to know.

ON THE ROAD *SIGH* AGAIN

Penn State hasn’t won every game it’s played in the state of Pennsylvania this season. But it’s lost every game its played outside the state. Penn State’s 0-4 on the road and 0-4 on neutral sites, which adds up to… bad. The team’s last road game was Saturday, Jan. 20 at Ohio State. Penn State fell behind 16-0 and never recovered. The good news for Penn State is that odds are it won’t fall behind 16-0 again. The bad news is that it might have to play at Rutgers without it’s leading scorer.

DOWN A MAN

Kanye Clary is not only Penn State’s leading scorer, but one of the top scorers in the Big Ten. The second-year sensation is one of the Big Ten’s top scorers, placing sixth in the conference in scoring average with 18.4 PPG. One of the five players ahead of him is Illinois’ Terrance Shannon Jr., who has only played in 15 games. Clary has played in all 20 of Penn State’s, but his status for Game No. 21 is in question.

Clary left the Minnesota game in the second half with an injury, and Rhoades said in his weekly presser Monday that Clary’s day-to-day. If Clary can’t go tonight, Penn State’s chances to win would take a drastic hit, and it will be interesting to see how Rhoades and co. shuffle the lineup.

THE RUTGERS RUNDOWN

Last season, Rutgers swept Penn State’s first NCAA Tournament team in more than a decade. Despite accomplishing that and finishing with 19 wins, Rutgers was left out of the tournament, and controversy arose from that. Well, barring a massive turnaround, this year’s Rutgers team won’t be in the tournament conversation come March. Rutgers’ 10-9 overall record is mediocre and it’s 2-6 Big Ten record is just plain bad. With that said, Rutgers presents matchup problems for Penn State. With PSU’s strength being in the backcourt, the team has weaknesses down low that Rutgers could take advantage of. Rutgers’ center Cliff Omouri (6-foot-11) averages more than 10 points and nine rebounds per game. 6-foot-6 Aundre Hyatt (12.4 PPG) is the team’s leading scorer, and 6-foot-7 Mawot Mag averages 9.5 points, good for third on the team.

FINISHING A GAME

In its last road game, Penn State competed at Ohio State for the most part. But it never recovered from falling behind 16-0. Then, the Minnesota game went the way it went. That pretty much sums up the way Penn State’s Big Ten season has gone. The team either can’t start a game or can’t finish a game. We’ll see if that changes tonight.

HOW TO WATCH

Penn State comes in as a 6.5-point underdog according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Here’s more information on how to watch and listen to the game.

Time: 8:30

TV: Big Ten Network

TV announcers: Jason Horowitz (pxp), Shon Morris (color)

Radio: Penn State Sports Network

SiriusXM: Ch. 380, 970 (app)

 

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