Frazier's 27 points not enough to lead Penn State past Pitt
Tim Frazier ran out of gas, and so did Penn State's chances at an upset.
Frazier, the Nittany Lions' star point guard, was at his best in the first half but wasn't the same down the stretch in Penn State's 78-69 loss to Pitt.
Frazier made seven of his first 10 shots but missed three of four during a critical stretch of the second half and missed seven of his final 10 overall over the final 18 minutes of the game. He finished with 27 points — three off his career high.
Frazier had only three assists, a season low, and his 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio was his worst of the season and far below his 2.7 season ratio. He also was held without a 3-pointer made (Frazier attempted two) for just the third time in nine games this season.
“We've just got to execute down the stretch,” Frazier said. “They made the game-winning plays they needed to down the stretch.
“We've made game-winning plays (in other games), and even in this game, we made game-winning plays, as well — but at the times we really needed it, we didn't.”
At halftime, Frazier had more than twice as many points — 15 — as any other player for either team. He had more than twice as many field goals (six) as the rest of his teammates combined and almost as many as the entire Panthers' team (seven).
Frazier might have been even more dominant but was limited to 15 minutes because of two fouls.
“He really did his thing tonight,” Pitt point guard James Robinson said.
“He's a really good guard. He's quick, he can score the ball. I think their coach does a great job of coaching to their talents. He was able to come off a lot of ball screens.”
Limited to four games last season because of a ruptured Achilles tendon, Frazier picked up where he left off during his all-Big Ten 2011-12 season.
Heading into the game Tuesday, Frazier led the conference in assists and was third in scoring and fifth in steals.
“I feel no pain; I feel like I'm back to normal,” Frazier said. “Even better, actually.”
In an indication of how valuable he is to the Nittany Lions, Frazier also was second among Big Ten players in minutes (35.1 per game).
He had 34 Tuesday, including 19 in the second half.
“(Pitt) had fresh legs at the end; we looked a little wore down,” said Penn State coach Patrick Chambers, whose team was playing its fifth game in 10 days. “We got a little tired. Probably poor scheduling by me.”