Penn State men's basketball to 'Return to Rec'

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State Director of Athletics David Joyner and men's basketball coach Patrick Chambers Wednesday (July 30) announced Penn State basketball's return to competition in venerable Rec Hall when the Nittany Lions host Princeton on Saturday, Dec. 14. Tip time and television arrangements will be announced at a later date.

"This is a very exciting day for our program, alumni and fans of Penn State basketball," Chambers said. "I watched Penn State basketball in Rec Hall when I was younger, and it was electric. When I think of Rec Hall I think of passion, energy and tradition. We listened to our alums and fans and we wanted to bring that Rec Hall experience back. I'm very grateful to Dr. Joyner, the administration and my fellow coaches who currently occupy Rec Hall who have been incredibly cooperative in making this game a reality."

Penn State basketball will "Return To Rec" for the first time since defeating Wisconsin, 79-50, in the building on Jan. 7, 1996. The Lions moved to their current home in the 15,261-seat Bryce Jordan Center the following game on Jan. 11, 1996 and posted a 76-51 victory over Minnesota. Penn State has played 281 home games since the Lions' last contest in Rec Hall 17 1/2 seasons ago.

"This is going to be a fantastic event that I know our fans have been eager to see for a long time," Joyner said. "A lot of thought and preparation went into making a return to Rec Hall possible for Penn State basketball. I know our fans will enjoy the opportunity to recreate that incredible atmosphere and relive some of the great memories and tradition basketball created in a historic building."

Tickets for the "Return To Rec" game vs. Princeton will be reserved seating and are not included in the 2013-14 basketball season ticket package, however, Nittany Lion season ticket holders and Penn State Hoops Club members will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets for the game. Fans that are members of the Hoops Club as well as season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to buy tickets starting on Sept. 10. All basketball season ticket holders will be able to purchase tickets for the contest starting on Sept. 16.

Penn State has reserved up to 2,100 student seats along the sideline opposite the benches to help recreate the thunderous atmosphere of basketball in Rec Hall. Those student tickets will be made available first to student season ticket holders beginning on a date yet to be determined in October. Additional information on the student ticket sale will be available in the coming weeks on GoPSUsports.com. The general public will be able to purchase tickets for the "Return To Rec" game beginning on Sept. 24. There will be ADA seating options provided for the game.

Both student and public basketball season tickets holders are encouraged to contact the Penn State ticket office at 1-800-Nittany to reserve their seats and will receive information on purchasing tickets in future season ticket mailings. Tickets will be available for purchase at the Bryce Jordan Center Ticket Office. Renewals for Penn State basketball season tickets have been mailed with a deadline of Aug. 16 for renewal in present seat locations.

Tickets for Penn State's contest vs. Princeton in Rec Hall will be $20 for the general public and $10 for Penn State students. A limited number of premium baseline court seats, which will include VIP food service, will be available for $100 each. Suggested parking in Lot Red A, across Atherton Street from the arena, and in the Nittany Lion Inn parking deck will be free for the game.

Rec Hall, which is currently the home of Penn State's men's and women's volleyball and gymnastics teams and the wrestling team, will be configured to seat 6,300 fans for the "Return To Rec" basketball contest.

Rec Hall gained a reputation as one of the toughest places to play in the nation when it served as the home for Penn State basketball from 1929 to 1996. That reputation was built on boisterous crowds that packed the arena to the rafters and a student section that was right on top of the floor. Rec Hall had a final listed capacity of 6,846 for basketball, but six times in the building's history more than 8,000 fans jammed into the iconic building for a basketball game, including a record 8,600 fans for a contest vs. Virginia on Dec. 5, 1973.

The Lions compiled a stellar 514-183 (73.7%) record in Rec Hall, including a 45-game win streak from 1951-55. That era saw the Nittany Lions reach the program's only NCAA Final Four in 1954 behind All-American Jesse Arnelle and coach Elmer Gross. Arnelle is among a long list of Penn State greats to have made their mark on the Rec Hall floor, including names like John Amaechi, Freddie Barnes, John Barr, Ron Brown, Monroe Brown, Carver Clinton, Dan Earl, Mark Dumars, Gene Harris, Deron Hayes, Tom Hovasse, Mike Lang, Pete Lisicky and Bob Weiss.

Penn State was led by nine different head coaches during the Rec Hall era, including longtime NBA coaches Dick Harter (1979-83) and John Bach (1969-78), the Lions' all-time wins leader John Egli (1955-68), Helm's Foundation Hall of Fame inductee John Lawther (1937-49), and Bruce Parkhill (1984-95) who led the Lion's through one of the program's most successful eras and into the Big Ten Conference. Parkhill led Penn State to four-straight 20-win seasons and four straight post-season appearances between 1988-92 and was on the sideline when Penn State captured the A-10 Tournament Championship on the Rec Hall floor in 1991.

Penn State is in the midst of 10 NCAA allotted Foreign Tour team practice dates in preparation for an Aug. 10-17 Foreign Tour of Belgium with stops in London and Paris. The Lions have welcomed the return of All-Big Ten guard Tim Frazier (Houston, Texas) to 100 percent participation for the first time since suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury four games into the 2012-13 season. Penn State will return three of their top five scorers and rebounders from 2012-13 and the top two returning scorers in the Big Ten in guards D.J. Newbill (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Frazier who will form one of the most potent backcourts in the nation. Newbill, a rising junior, earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors while finishing fifth in the conference in scoring posting 16.3 ppg last year. Frazier, a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2012 after finishing second in the Big Ten posting 18.8 ppg, received a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA and a fifth season of eligibility after playing in just four games in 2012-13. Rising junior forward Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn.) is the second leading returning rebounder in the Big Ten after finishing fifth in the conference last year (7.4 rpg). He posted double-doubles in three of his last seven games and will join rising sophomore Brandon Taylor (Tabernacle, N.J.), who made 32 threes in his freshman season, to anchor the frontcourt. Penn State posted a 10-21 record, but knocked of No. 4-ranked and eventual NCAA Tournament runner-up Michigan (84-78) in late February in Chambers' second season at the helm. 

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Last Updated July 31, 2013