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Penn State Hoops Blows Lead To Minnesota In 83-74 Loss

Penn State men’s basketball (9-11, 3-6 Big Ten) was defeated by Minnesota (13-7, 4-5 Big Ten) 83-74 after blowing a 16-point lead in the second half. It was another back-and-forth game for the Nittany Lions, who led big going into halftime, however, a poor shooting second half was the downfall for Penn State.

Ace Baldwin Jr. led the team in points with 16 and added six assists. Qudus Wahab added 15 points and five rebounds, but dismal shooting was the downfall for Penn State.

How It Happened

The Golden Gophers won the tip but were unsuccessful on their first offensive possession. Baldwin missed on a contested layup on Penn State’s opening possession. Kanye Clary fouled Joshua Ola-Joseph, and he drilled both free throws for the first points of the game.

Baldwin answered his early miss with a long three-pointer for the Nittany Lion’s first bucket. Cam Christie followed up Baldwin’s three with a mid-range jumper of his own. Penn State continued to stay hot with Qudus Wahab nailing a hook shot that retook the lead.

Minnesota went back ahead after an alley-oop slam by Ola-Joseph and a three from Elijah Hawkins. Wahab stayed hot with another made shot as the two teams entered the first media break.

Out of the timeout, Nick Kern Jr. joined in on the shooting fun with a corner three to make it 10-9 in favor of Penn State. On the ensuing Golden Gophers possession, Dawson Garcia knocked down a layup, got the and-one call, and made the free throw. Garcia followed the play up with another made jumper on the next possession.

Minnesota stayed hot with Mike Mitchell Jr. drilling a mid-range jumper, which made it a six-point game. With the shot clock expiring on the following Nittany Lions’ possession, Baldwin knocked down a tough shot just before the buzzer. Wahab followed that up with a layup to cut the game back to two points.

Parker Fox was fouled and hit 1-of-2 free throws and Kern scored a tough driving layup to cut the deficit to one. Fox and Wahab traded buckets to keep the game at one before Fox scored a driving layup to extend the lead. Mitchell was fouled and made 1-of-2 free throws and after a missed three by Kern, Christie drilled a mid-range jumper to make it a six-point lead once again.

Clary picked up a foul call and knocked down a pair of free throws. After a missed layup by Clary, Demetrius Lilley picked up the rebound and scored a layup to make it a one-possession game. After another stop and media timeout, Baldwin continued to stay hot drilling a contested three-pointer to make it 25-24 for the Nittany Lions.

Garcia scored a layup on Minnesota’s possession but Penn State responded with a huge scoring run. It started with Clary knocking down a pair of free throws, and Kern picked up another bucket after grabbing a steal and making a tough layup.

The next two possessions had Lilley score two layups with Clary assisting the second one with a beautiful behind-the-back pass. Things kept going Penn State’s way as Kern slammed home a huge dunk from another fantastic Clary pass.

With just over four minutes to play in the half, Lilley scored a layup once again to extend the lead to 11. After the final media break, Zach Hicks made his presence known with his first three of the half to make it 40-26 in favor of Penn State.

Minnesota finally got a shot to fall with Ola-Joseph scoring an and-one layup and hitting the free throw that ended the Nittany Lion’s 15-0 run that lasted over four and a half minutes. Penn State didn’t stop the scoring as Baldwin knocked down another contested jumper.

As the final minute ticked down, Fox picked up another foul call and made both free throws. Wahab was also fouled and made 1-of-2 shots, and after a steal by Kern, Clary knocked down a turnaround jumper. Minnesota turned it over on its final possession of the half and Baldwin missed a long three as the first half ended with Penn State leading 45-31.

At the start of the second half, Penn State picked up right where it left off with Clary knocking down a jumper. However, the Golden Gophers came out swinging, hitting four shots in a row. Mitchell answered Clary’s pullup jumper with one of his own.

Hawkins followed that shot up with a long three-pointer and Garcia joined in on the fun with a driving layup. After a turnover by Kern, Christie drilled another three, which made it 47-41 for the Nittany Lions, forcing Mike Rhoades to call a timeout.

After the timeout, Minnesota continued to chip away at the deficit with Garcia knocking down a pair of free throws. Baldwin finally got a shot to fall for the Nittany Lions with a driving layup, but Minnesota continued to make shots as Garcia drilled a triple to cut it to a one-possession game.

Leo O’Boyle was called for a foul on Ola-Joseph, and he drilled both free throws to make it a one-point game. Wahab answered back with a tough hook shot, but Christie picked up another foul call and hit both shots to keep the deficit at one.

D’Marco Dunn picked up a foul call and hit 1-of-2 free throws to extend the lead to two, but on the following possession, Ola-Joseph slammed a driving dunk to tie the game at 52.

Minnesota retook the lead after Hawkins was fouled attempting a layup and hit both shots to take the lead for the first time since midway through the first half. After a missed layup by Baldwin, Christie extended the lead with a pull-up jumper. Puff Johnson was fouled and hit a pair of free throws to make it a one-score game once again.

Garcia and Wahab traded layups and after a series of missed shots by both teams, Christie got a shot to fall for the Golden Gophers that extended their lead back to four.

With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Christie continued his hot second half getting a driving layup to fall to make it 62-56 Minnesota. Down six, Clary was fouled and hit both free throws to cut the deficit to four. After a Golden Gophers layup by Garcia, Clary was fouled again and hit 1-of-2 shots heading into a media break.

After the timeout, Christie and Clary traded missed shots and Mitchell scored a tough layup to extend the lead to seven. Wahab got a layup to drop for Penn State but Fox answered him quickly with a layup of his own.

With under six minutes to play, Baldwin sniped a three to cut the deficit to four. Hicks picked up a huge steal and drove to the lane and hit the layup to make it a two-point game.

Mitchell followed Hicks’ layup with a jumper to make it a four-point lead once again, however, Clary continued to deliver in the second half, knocking down a reverse layup to make it 70-68.

Down by two, Penn State got a huge stop and on the following possession, Hicks drilled a mid-range jumper to tie the game at 70. Minnesota didn’t let that last long as after a nice pass from Mitchell, Fox slammed home a dunk to take the lead.

After misses by both teams, Dunn was fouled and hit 1-of-2 shots to make it 72-71. Up one, Christie made a layup and picked up the foul call. On the shot he missed, Ola-Joseph grabbed the rebound scored another layup, and got the foul call. He made his shot and made it 77-71 in favor of the Golden Gophers.

Baldwin was fouled and hit 1-of-2 shots to make it a five-point game. After a turnover, Baldwin missed a long three, and with 30 seconds remaining, Penn State was forced to foul.

Garica hit both shots for Minnesota, and after another miss for Penn State, the Nittany Lions fouled Minnesota again. Christie hit both free throws again to make it a nine-point game, but the game was nearly over.

With under 10 seconds left, Johnson hit a jumper to cut the deficit to seven. Penn State fouled once again and Mitchell hit both shots. Penn State missed its final shot and the Golden Gophers held on to win 83-74.

Takeaways

  • It was a tale of two halves in Happy Valley as Penn State shot an impressive 18-for-34 heading into the break. However, the second half saw the Nittany Lions shoot 10-28 and give up 52 points. The poor shooting and defense led to the Golden Gophers’ comeback win as Penn State continued to not be able to consistently shoot for an entire game.
  • Ace Baldwin Jr. led the team in points with 16 and added six assists. While his shooting was huge in the first half, he couldn’t repeat his success in the second half.
  • After not scoring in the double-digits for the previous couple of games, Qudus Wahab had one of his best offensive performances of the season. The big man totaled 15 points and five rebounds and shot an impressive 7-for-8 from the field.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will travel to New Jersey for a midweek matchup against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The game is set to tip off at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31, and can be streamed on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Matt Brown

Matt is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in sports studies from Bensalem, Pa. Matt is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and an overall sports fan in general. When not watching sports, you'll find him watching reruns of Community or The Office. To reach him, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @matt_brown63, or email him at [email protected].

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