It was another tough day on the basketball court for the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Their run at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament ended on Sunday afternoon with an 85-60 loss to the Akron Zips in the fifth-place game.
Perhaps the outcome would have been different had star Tim Frazier not gone down with a leg injury early in the first half. The team won’t know the extent of the injury until the team returns home on Monday.
Yet, the positive to come out of the loss to the Zips is that the Nittany Lions (2-2) may have just found another go-to player in D.J. Newbill.
Newbill didn’t play last year after coming over from Southern Mississippi, but the former player of the year in the state of Pennsylvania showed off his potential in the game against Akron.
The sophomore guard poured in a career-high 20 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Newbill saw an opportunity and he seized it, which is what a good player is supposed to do in that situation.
In the first three games of the year, he had scored only 58 points while tallying 16 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
But Newbill looked like a different player against the Zips, and perhaps the performance is the start of something special for him.
Obviously, the hope is that Frazier is fine and that he will be back to being on the floor this week. Penn State needs its veteran star if its going to have a shot at success in the Big Ten.
Yet, Newbill gives the Nittany Lions a valuable second option, and if he continues to play the way he did against Akron, Penn State should be a tough team to deal with in the long run.
Brian Lester is a featured Big Ten columnist and college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.