STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Patrick Chambers’ squad is 12-1 and yet the coach believes the Nittany Lions’ record is 0-0.
Penn State has 10 straight wins and its 69-49 victory over Dartmouth on Monday set a school record for most nonconference victories.
Come New Year’s Eve, Penn State opens its Big Ten schedule at No. 6 Wisconsin and that, Chambers said, is the team’s focus going forward.
D.J. Newbill scored 17 points, Geno Thorpe added 12 and John Johnson and Brandon Taylor each scored 10 against the Big Green.
The Nittany Lions held Dartmouth to 19 of 54 shooting from the field and 2 of 20 from 3-point range.
Penn State shot 47 percent overall and was 7 of 19 from long range. The Lions also owned a 38-30 edge in rebounding.
But it’s conference time, and Chambers’ four previous Big Ten teams won 12 of 54 Big Ten games. Penn State since its 1993 debut in the Big Ten is 125-276 in 22 seasons.
Chambers believes things are only looking up.
”Last year we started out poorly and then we went 6-6,” he said. ”We need a better start.
”It’s nice to be 12-1. But we’re 0-0 and focused on Wisconsin.”
Alex Mitola had 13 points and Gabas Maldunas had nine to lead Dartmouth (5-6).
The Big Green hung around early but shooting woes and Penn State’s effort on the boards led to a deficit of 25 points with 10:30 to play.
Maldunas was good on four free throws and Malik Gill lobbed a pass over the basket that Wesley Dickinson slammed through to close Dartmouth to 60-42.
But Newbill followed with a driving layup, got the ball from Ross Travis on a steal and fed Travis for an easy slam and a 64-42 advantage.
Dartmouth coach Paul Cormier did not call a timeout the entire game.
Chambers gave Dartmouth credit for playing hard, and he was pleased with Penn State’s overall non-conference schedule.
”I thought it was a great nonconference,” Chambers said. ”It gave us a variety of styles of play that are going to prepare us for the Big Ten.
”We can still get a lot better which is really scary to me on how good we can be. Everybody knows we had a very good non-con.
”We look forward to the challenge.”
Newbill, whose 17 was nearly five points below his average, was also looking toward conference play.
”For the most part we did a good job in nonconference,” he said. ”I think this team really grew. We corrected some flaws and some things we weren’t good at game by game, but you can’t really know where you’re really at until you get in the Big Ten Conference.
”Our confidence level is at an all-time high now and we want to keep it going.
”We feel we can play with any team in the country,” Newbill said.
Dartmouth: The Big Green didn’t reach the bonus situation from the free throw line in the first half and shot 3 of 5 from the line; Penn State was 7 of 7. Dartmouth entered the game shooting just 64 percent on free throws. … Dartmouth’s only win over Penn State in four attempts came in the NCAA Tournament; that was in 1942. … Dartmouth opened its season by losing four of its first five games but had won four of its last five going into Monday.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions for the second straight week earned four points in the weekly AP Top 25 poll; the team hasn’t been among the top 25 since 1996. … Penn State has won 12 straight non-conference games on its home floor over two seasons. … Newbill is the leading scorer in the Big Ten; his 21.8 points per game scoring average ranks him ninth among all Division I players. … Penn State played on one day’s rest; the Lions defeated Drexel 73-68 on Saturday at a neutral court in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Dartmouth is at Bryant College on Dec. 31.
Penn State plays its Big Ten opener at No. 6 Wisconsin on Dec. 31.