Penn State Hoops Falls 65-64 To Minnesota
Penn State men’s basketball (7-12, 0-8 Big Ten) took on Minnesota (14-4, 4-3 Big Ten) at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Saturday night. The Nittany Lions suffered a heartbreaking loss at The Barn in a back-and-forth game, losing their eighth conference game of the season.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions jumped out to an impressive start. Myles Dread found Josh Reaves for an alley-oop to open up the scoring in emphatic fashion. After another bucket from Reaves and a hot start from Lamar Stevens (who hit a three!), the Nittany Lions led 11-5 at the first media timeout.
Mike Watkins came alive out of the timeout, making a move down in the post and finishing inside, before cleaning up a rebound with a put-back slam on the following possession. With 11:48 remaining in the first half, the Nittany Lions were up 17-9.
Both sides struggled to score over the next four minutes or so as another media timeout with 7:42 remaining came around, and Penn State led just 20-13.
The Golden Gophers chipped away slowly at the deficit, coming within a point with roughly three minutes remaining in the first half. With the help of a nice offensive run behind Myreon Jones and Lamar Stevens, the Nittany Lions went into the half with a 38-30 lead over the Golden Gophers. Lamar Stevens led all scorers with 17 points and Mike Watkins chipped in with seven.
Lamar Stevens opened the scoring in the second half by converting an and-one to bring his scoring total up to 20 points. The Nittany Lions scored just six points, however, by the first media timeout with 15:53 remaining in the second period.
John Harrar and Trent Buttrick got the Nittany Lions going with two points each out of the timeout, but Jordan Murphy proved to be a lot to handle inside. At the 12:59 mark, Murphy had tallied 12 points and 11 rebounds, bringing the Gophers back within four.
Kyle McCloskey, the newest addition to the Penn State rotation, hit a three to give Penn State some breathing room. Four-straight missed free throws, however, kept the Penn State lead at 51-46.
A 12-3 run from Minnesota gave the Gophers a 52-51 lead. A few silly fouls on three-point attempts hurt the Nittany Lions, especially given that the Gophers were 20-26 from the line.
The Nittany Lions came storming back, however, as a three from Myles Dread and success at the line from Lamar Stevens tied the game up at 61-61. Jordan Murphy dunked on basically every Penn State basketball player with about a minute to play. Of course, Lamar Stevens would tie things up with 11.1 seconds remaining with an impressive and-one.
The Gophers would hit a free throw on the next possession and Penn State couldn’t respond. This is the climb. Lamar Stevens finished with 27 points on the night in an impressive display, but it just wasn’t quite enough.
- The first half offensive performance from Penn State was fantastic. It was almost confusing watching the squad hit threes and have success driving in the lane. It makes you wonder why the Nittany Lions can’t do that every game.
- Lamar Stevens is really good.
- Penn State men’s basketball is sad. Even when you think Penn State has a game in the bag, they don’t.
Penn State will return home to take on Rutgers at home on Saturday, January 26 at 4:30 p.m.
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