Minnesota Game Grades
Penn State’s season more than likely ended on Thursday night in the second round of the Big Ten tournament with a 77-72 loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers at the United Center in Chicago. The Nittany Lions had an eight-point lead with five minutes to go in the game, but couldn’t finish it off. Here are some grades from Thursday night’s game.
There were some highs and lows during the course of this game. Mike Watkins and John Harrar were 10 of 14 from the field with, a combined 20 points between them. They were controlling the glass for most of the night as Penn State had 14 offensive rebounds. Myles Dread and Rasir Bolton were both no shows on the night as neither player scored a point the whole game. Penn State also missed too many layups on the night and went into scoring droughts at the worst possible times, which led to this game getting to overtime in the first place. The Nittany Lions had some runs, but never could go on that big run that would take the life out of the Gophers.
For most of the game, Penn State did an excellent job on Minnesota’s two biggest threats in Jordan Murphy and Amir Coffey. The entire first half and most of the second half, both of them were frustrated and held in check. Once Coffey got hot, however, the Gophers as a team started to get hot. Penn State had a couple of guys in foul trouble throughout the course of the game, including only four first half minutes from Watkins. Defense has been the strength of this team all year, and was a strength in this game, they just couldn’t finish it off.
For all of the ups and downs that this team went through all year, they always played hard and with fire no matter what their record was at the time. That’s a testament to Pat Chambers and his staff. Even when they were 0-10 in conference play, they still played with pride, which led to some big wins and a good finish to the regular season. Josh Reaves will be a big loss as a leader of this team. However, they have a bright future with a lot of key players coming back next season. Although it’s not the season they hoped for, it was a rebuilding process of getting a lot of new players time. Coach Chambers hopes that next year will look a lot like the second half of the season. If it does, Penn State will be a team to watch in the Big Ten.
Kevin McConlogue is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in political science. To contact him email email@example.com.