Frazier Lifts Lions to Win

Frazier goes high to score on a stick-back.

Penn State's star point guard came up one assist shy of a triple-double in a victory over Nebraska at the Jordan Center.

Point guard Tim Frazier was modest after coming up one assist short of a triple-double in Penn State's 67-51 thumping of Nebraska at the Jordan Center Saturday because … well … that's how star players are supposed to act.

“You look at that, and you say (near) triple-double for Tim Frazier,” he said after the game. “But that accompanies everyone else on the team. This is for everyone on the team. Guys stepped in and made huge shots and made big box-outs. We had tons of dives.”

The thing is, Frazier has become so adept at downplaying his own game this year that even his teammates are buying into the misconception that the Nittany Lions are some kind of well-balanced team.

“Like Tim said, everybody contributed in some way,” senior wing Cammeron Woodyard said.

Anyone who watched Frazier single-handedly dissect the Cornhuskers can only chuckle at such a thought.

In allowing Penn State (11-15, 3-10 Big Ten) to snap a five-game losing streak, Frazier, the only All-Big Ten caliber player on the roster, score 23 points on 7 of 9 shooting. He was perfect from the arc (1 of 1) and from the stripe (8 of 8).

His 10 rebounds were at least twice as many as anyone else in the game. And his nine assists would have been well into double figures had starting shooting guard Nick Colella not gone 2 of 12 from the field.

As it was, the nine assists led to 23 points (including five triples), meaning Frazier accounted for 46 points on the afternoon. Did we mention that Nebraska (11-13, 3-10) scored 51 points as a team?

“For me, he's done it all year,” PSU coach Pat Chambers said. “He's done it all year in ways that, unfortunately, we can't even talk about. But he's done it all year. In the locker room. His work ethic. And I'm on him. I'm probably on him the hardest. Because I know he can give us more and I know how much better he can get, which is scary.”

Indeed, some of Frazier's best work in this game probably did not show up on the stat sheet. He was extremely patient, taking only three shots in the first half and yet still finishing with 10 points and four assists as State led 36-26 at the break. The edge would never drop below 10 in the second half, even though the Lions had their issues offensively.

After going up 58-41 on a Jon Graham layup (and Frazier assist) with 7:20 remaining, PSU would not score for nearly two and a half minutes. Colella missed two wide-open 3-pointers in the stretch. At the time, Colella was 2 for 10 from the field in the game. Frazier was 5 for 6, without a single forced shot.

But Nebraska could only manage to cut the lead to 58-45 during PSU's cold spell.

With five minutes to go, Frazier took over. He came up with a steal and was fouled, making two free throws to increase the lead to 60-45. Then another steal and a layup: 62-45.

Toney McCray made a layup for the Cornhuskers before Frazier swished another jumper to make it 64-47. Then Frazier fed Jermaine Marshall for a triple to boost the lead to 67-47.

With 2:22 left, Frazier was one assist shy of the triple-double. And Penn State was three points shy of the 70-point mark, which would have meant a free Big Mac for everyone in the house.

Chambers tried to get Frazier the triple double twice, first running a play for Woodyard (who missed an open trey) and then running a play for big man Sasa Borovnjak (who missed in the lane).

The game well in hand, Chambers pulled Frazier with 13 seconds left and had his team run out the clock as the student section groaned at the prospect of the free Big Macs disappearing.

“I wanted them to get the Big Macs, no doubt,” Chambers said afterward. “I just didn't want to do that to Doc (Sadler, Nebraska's coach).”

It was, of course, the classy thing not to do.

Besides, Penn State's best player is proof that being famished is not always a bad thing.

“He's humble and he's hungry,” Chambers said of Frazier.

SHORT SHOTS

• Woodyard had 14 and Marshall 12 for Penn State.

• Forward Dylan Talley led Nebraska with a dozen points.

• Colella is the former walk-on who is now starting. When asked about his poor shooting, Chambers did not hesitate to answer: “I wanted him to take 11 (3-pointers). I told him to take 12. He's got to be that assassin for us. He's got to be searching for threes.”

• The Cornhuskers won the previous meeting in Lincoln, 70-58. The teams are now tied for last place in the Big Ten.

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