Penn State Falls to Minnesota in Regular Season Finale

Story posted March 10, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Uriah Tagle

Coming off a 59-32 dismantling of the Northwestern Wildcats on Thursday night, the Penn State Nittany Lions (15-16, 6-12 Big Ten) lost their final game of the regular season 81-63 on Sunday, against the Minnesota Golden Gophers (19-12, 8-10 Big Ten) in Minneapolis. The loss secures the No. 10 seed in the Big Ten Tournament for the Nittany Lions, setting up a rematch with the No. 7 seed Golden Gophers on Thursday in Indianapolis.

Penn State never held a lead in the contest, falling behind 8-0 early after committing three turnovers in their first five possessions. Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino brought full-court pressure early, forcing the Nittany Lions into nine turnovers in the first half alone.

As a result of the stifling defense, as well as some 3-point marksmanship, the Golden Gophers dominated the fist eight minutes of the game on both ends of the floor. A DeAndre Mathieu 3-pointer provided an exclamation point for Minnesota early, giving them a 23-3 lead with just under 12 minutes to play in the first half.

Although the Nittany Lions were able to cut the lead to 38-24 heading into halftime, their early struggles seemed to seal their fate. At the under-12 mark in the second half, Minnesota’s lead grew to 25, with the Gophers leading 54-29. Despite a reinvigorating 17-1 Penn State run to bring the Nittany Lions within nine at the 10-minute mark, Pat Chambers and his squad were never able to completely close the gap.

D.J. Newbill led all scorers in the game with 24 points, on 9 of 20 shooting from the field. Newbill was the driving force behind the 17-1 Penn State run, scoring 15 of his 24 points in the second half.  Newbill’s backcourt partner, Tim Frazier added 14 for the Nittany Lions, attacking the hoop and converting from the charity stripe, shooting 10 of 12 on free throws.

Jordan Dickerson and Geno Thorpe both played extended minutes for Pat Chambers and the Nittany Lions. Dickerson, who started the game, registered two blocks, and added four points, in 15 minutes of play. Thorpe scored five off the bench, and created havoc on the defensive end with three steals in his 17 minutes of play. 

It was senior night at the Williams Arena, and Minnesota was led by a handful of key seniors in the win. Austin Hollins scored 14 for the Golden Gophers, and his quick hands on defense led to three steals. Fellow senior Maverick Ahanmisi made the most of his senior night, tying his career-high with 13 points on 3 of 6 shooting on 3-pointers. 

Minnesota also saw contributions from junior guard DeAndre Mathieu, and redshirt junior forward Maurice Walker. Mathieu finished with 16 points, six assists, and three steals, while the 6’10” Walker shredded Penn State down low, adding 16 points of his own.

Penn State will have a chance for revenge against Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Uriah Tagle is a junior majoring in communication arts and sciences, and economics. To contact him, email uriahtagle@gmail.com.

Photo Courtesy: (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)