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Men's College Basketball
Preview
Southern California vs Penn St.
When: 3:30 PM ET, Sunday, November 23, 2014
Where: TD Arena, Charleston, South Carolina


If Penn State has proven anything at the Charleston Classic, it might be that no lead is safe. The Nittany Lions enter Sunday’s fifth-place game with USC after showing their resiliency by overcoming a 17-point deficit in the second half of Thursday’s opening-round 106-97 double-overtime loss to Charlotte. They proved it again Friday, erasing an 11-point second-half deficit before defeating Cornell on a last-second layup in a game they led for a total of seven seconds.

“I don’t know if I’m going to make it if we keep playing games like this,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said in a postgame interview moments after the victory. The Trojans, who have no seniors and three juniors on their roster, showed impressive resolve in their own right by rallying from 12 points down at halftime in Friday’s 72-70 win over winless Drexel. However, USC’s victory came at a price as 6-11 freshman Malik Martin, who hyperextended his right knee in the first half, will be held out until the team returns to Los Angeles on Monday so he can undergo an MRI.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3

ABOUT USC (2-2): The Trojans managed to curb their carelessness Friday after committing 23 turnovers in their season-opening 76-68 loss to Portland State, reducing that number to a season-low nine against Drexel. The Dragons became the first opponent to shoot over 40 percent against USC, but the Trojans made up for it in part by generating 25 points off 21 turnovers. The Trojans also enjoyed advantages of 32-4 in bench points and 46-18 in points in the paint, although Martin’s loss figures to hurt a USC team that has produced a negative-7.3 rebounding margin over its last three games.

ABOUT PENN STATE (3-1): The Nittany Lions were able to finish off Friday’s comeback when freshman guard Shep Garner intercepted an inbounds pass near midcourt and found D.J. Newbill, who drove for the winning layup as time expired, capping a stretch where the Nittany Lions scored five points in 14 seconds. John Johnson has proven to be a clutch 3-point shooter in Charleston, hitting a trey with less than five seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime Thursday before draining another one with 4.5 seconds left to set up Newbill’s game-winner. Newbill has 61 points through two games, making him far and away the leading scorer at the event.

TIP-INS

1. Penn State won the only other meeting between the schools, 70-61 in the third-place game of the 1954 NCAA Tournament.

2. Sunday’s game will be USC’s fifth in nine days.

3. Underclassmen have accounted for 236 of the Trojans’ 256 points this season.

PREDICTION: Penn State 70, USC 60

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Neutral Day Night Conf
Southern California 2-2 W1 1-1 0-0 1-1 1-1 1-1 0-0
Penn St. 3-1 W1 2-0 0-0 1-1 1-1 2-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Southern California Penn St.
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
No previous meeting.
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Southern California N/A
Penn St. N/A
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Southern California N/A
Penn St. N/A
Assists Player  
Southern California N/A
Penn St. N/A
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Southern California J. McLaughlin 53 42.1 16
Penn St. D. Newbill 96 45.9 16
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Southern California D. Clark 25 8 17
Penn St. R. Travis 32 17 15
Assists Player  
Southern California J. McLaughlin 23
Penn St. D. Newbill 11
Quickchart Matchup
Southern California Off vs  Penn St. Defense
64.0 Points For
69.8 Points Against
43.7 FG%
37.8 FG%
32.3 Reb
32.5 Reb
Penn St. Off vs  Southern California Defense
75.8 Points For
67.5 Points Against
43.3 FG%
40.3 FG%
32.5 Reb
30.5 Reb