Late shot ends Nittany Lions' season
ALBANY, N.Y. – A glorious basketball career ended with a thud Monday night for Penn State guard Tim Frazier.
The fifth-year senior, whose season was extended courtesy of the College Basketball Invitational, was held to his lowest offensive output in more than two years as the Nittany Lions lost their quarterfinal matchup to the Siena Saints, 54-52, in front of 3,598 at Times Union Center.
Frazier managed just five points in 34 minutes as a pair of 16-17 teams – the CBI is the only postseason tournament that invites schools with losing records – engaged in a scrum that was played at high intensity if not the same level of skill.
“It’s just wild, looking at the stats,” Penn State coach Pat Chambers said. “We make six 3s, we force 16 turnovers, and lost. The glaring thing is 12-for-22 from the free-throw line. We only had one guy in double figures. If we only have one guy score, it’s going to be a tough night for us.”
D.J. Newbill led the Lions in scoring for the ninth straight game with 17 points, but he needed 18 shots to get them. Sophomore forward Brandon Taylor was the second-high for the Lions, who shot 31 percent from the field, with eight. No one else had more than five points.
Frazier was limited to one basket, a 3-pointer with 13:17 remaining that cut Siena’s seven-point lead – its biggest of the game – to four. Other than the game last season in which he tore his Achilles’ after 5 minutes against Akron, Frazier hadn’t contributed so little offensively since Dec. 7, 2011, when he scored three in a loss to Lafayette.
“I feel for him,” Chambers said. “He struggled tonight, but what a career he had. It’s been an amazing five years with the legacy he’s left at Penn State. I’m sure he’s disappointed in the season in general, that we don’t have more wins, but he’s paved the way for us to be very successful for us in the very near future.”
It was a quiet exit for Frazier, who finished his career seventh on Penn State’s career scoring list (1,543 points), in more ways than one. He declined to be interviewed after the game.
“He’s one of my brothers,” Newbill said. “I wish him the best of luck, but we’ve got move on as a program.”
The CBI generally attracts younger teams trying to build for next season. The Nittany Lions, the last college team in Pennsylvania to be playing, lose only Frazier and rarely used guard Zach Cooper.
“It gave us a good chance to give our young guys more experience going into next year,” Newbill said. “It gave us more time to play together. It definitely was good for us going into next year.”
Siena, which finished fifth in the 11-team Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, has no prominent seniors and starts three underclassmen.
The Saints were able to extend their season when Evan Hymes, a 5-foot-8 junior guard, drove around 6-7 Taylor for a layup with 3.2 seconds to play, breaking a 52-all tie.
“I thought I played good defense,” said Taylor, who was called for a foul on the play, “but the ref saw it differently, and the kid made a tough shot.”
“I thought we were ready for it,” Chambers said, “but obviously he makes a tough shot. Great play.”
Hymes missed the free throw, but Penn State’s attempt to tie or win the game was thwarted when Newbill, trying to get past Siena defender Lavon Long, stepped out of bounds with 1.7 seconds left.
“Down the stretch, tie ballgame, we didn’t get it done,” Newbill said. “That was the game.”
Asked afterward to access the season, Chambers opted to wait.
“I’m not going to evaluate it on today,” he said. “I don’t think that’s fair. I thought we played hard. We played good defense. Fifty-four points, I’ll take it. Sixteen [Siena] turnovers, I’ll take it. We had 14 offensive rebounds. We just didn’t make any shots.”
PENN ST. (16-18): Taylor 3-8 1-2 8, Dickerson 1-3 0-0 2, Johnson 1-8 0-0 3, Newbill 5-18 6-8 17, Frazier 1-5 2-4 5, Woodward 2-4 0-0 5, Jack 2-4 1-4 5, Thorpe 2-4 0-0 5, Travis 0-3 2-4 2. Totals 17-57 12-22 52.
SIENA (17-17): Long 5-11 7-10 17, Bisping 6-13 0-0 12, Silas 0-1 0-0 0, Wright 3-6 0-0 6, Poole 4-12 0-0 11, Ogunyemi 0-0 0-0 0, Oliver 1-4 0-2 3, Hymes 2-5 0-1 5, White 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-52 7-13 54.
Halftime-Siena 25-21. 3-Point Goals-Penn St. 6-17 (Thorpe 1-1, Frazier 1-2, Johnson 1-2, Taylor 1-2, Woodward 1-3, Newbill 1-7), Siena 5-13 (Poole 3-8, Hymes 1-2, Oliver 1-3). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Penn St. 36 (Taylor 8), Siena 40 (Bisping 12). Assists-Penn St. 9 (Frazier 3), Siena 11 (Oliver, Wright 3). Total Fouls-Penn St. 20, Siena 18. A-3,598.