Penn State Hoops Falls 95-84 In Overtime To Minnesota, Slips Into Bottom Third In Big Ten Standings
Penn State (13-7, 3-4 B1G) went to overtime for the second game, losing to Minnesota (14-6, 3-4 B1G) 95-84 at the Bryce Jordan Center on Monday night.
The absence of Josh Reaves for the third straight game severely hurt the Nittany Lions on the defensive end. Minnesota made 59 percent of its three-pointers in the game, while Golden Gopher star Nate Mason exploded for 25 points on the night.
Tony Carr led Penn State with 33 points and six rebounds, while Mike Watkins added 20 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out in the extra period.
How It Happened
The first half started with both teams going back-and-forth. Minnesota held a 10-7 lead five minutes into the game when Penn State started to heat up. A 13-2 run over the next five minutes pushed the Nittany Lions out to a 20-12 advantage with 9:50 left on the first half clock. Lamar Stevens was knocked down to the floor hard during that run, but managed to get to his feet and shake off the hit by making a pair of free throws. He was never quite the same after going down, scoring just five points after getting nicked up.
The Golden Gophers went on a run of their own, as an 11-2 spurt over a period of 3:30 put Minnesota ahead 23-22. The visitors road red-hot perimeter shooting throughout the opening period, as they made seven of their 10 three-point attempts in the half. Shep Garner’s second three pointer of the night gave the senior 1,376 career points. That mark is good enough for No. 11 on the program’s all-time scoring list.
Minnesota closed the half with a 41-37 lead at the half, despite not forcing a single turnover from the Blue and White.
Mike Watkins came flying out of the gate to start the second half. A dunk, a layup over heavy contact, and a turnaround jumper kept the Nittany Lions within four points, 49-45, with 14:45 left in the game. However, Watkins had no help from his teammates. The Golden Gophers hit five of their next six shots, while the Nittany Lions went more than three minutes without a made shot from the field. Minnesota’s lead stretched to 57-46 at the 12:00 mark, an 8-1 run that seemed to seal Penn State’s fate.
Yet, the Nittany Lions weren’t about to give up. A bucket by Carr followed by a ferocious block from Stevens set up a fast break for Penn State. Nazeer Bostick was trucked by Gaston Diedhiou, Minnesota’s 6-foot-10, 245-pound reserve center, resulting in a level-one flagrant foul against Diedhiou. Bostick hit both of the two free throws, and Penn State trailed just 65-60 with 5:37 left to play.
Shep Garner drilled a three-pointer to pull the home team within just two points with 4:45 remaining. Mike Watkins then proceeded to intercept a pass, dribble the length of the floor, and hammer the ball down on the fast break to tie the game at 65. Minnesota’s Jamir Harris put the Golden Gophers up 69-67 with three minutes left to play, but Carr managed to knock down a pair of free throws with two minutes remaining to tie the score back at 69.
Mason made just one of three free throws after being fouled beyond the arc, and Watkins answered with another bucket to give Penn State a 71-70 lead with 57 tics left. Minnesota standout Jordan Murphy hit a tough shot under the rim to re-take the lead for the Gophers, despite solid defense from the Nittany Lions.
Watkins missed a pair of free throws that could’ve given Penn State the lead with 25 seconds left, and Carr missed a shot to take the lead with 10 tics to go. Following two made free throws by Minnesota’s Bakary Konaté, the Nittany Lions needed a three-ball to send the game in overtime. Carr delivered with a heroic shot for the second straight game, burying a three-pointer to tie the score at 74 and send the game into overtime.
Unfortunately for Penn State, the comeback eventually fell short. Minnesota caught fire in overtime, hitting three deep shots from beyond the arc to jump out to an 85-76 lead in the overtime period. Carr eventually tied his career-high with 33 points, but the Nittany Lions just ran out of gas.
Player Of The Game
Tony Carr | Sophomore | Guard
Carr got off to another slow start, making just three of his first 11 shots. However, Carr came through for Penn State with more clutch heroics. His 19 points brought the Nittany Lions back in the second half, and his three-pointer with three seconds left sent the game into overtime.
The sophomore finished with 33 points, six rebounds, and three assists on the night. That scoring total matched his previous best set against Campbell in the season opener.
The Nittany Lions travel to Evanston this Saturday to face off with the Northwestern Wildcats in the second leg of their two game series this season. Penn State took down Northwestern 78-63 on Jan. 5 behind Lamar Stevens’ 30 points, a career high for the sophomore. The matchup on Saturday will be broadcast on BTN, with tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m.