Less than 72 hours removed from upsetting #4 Michigan on the Bryce Jordan Center floor Wednesday night, Penn State was back in action on the road against Minnesota. The Gophers were coming off their own upset, having knocked off top ranked Indiana on Tuesday. Headed into the game, the question on everyone’s mind was which team would avoid the emotional let down. It did not take long to find out, as the home team scored the first 16 poitns of the game, and cruised to a 73-44 victory, that really was not that close.
Penn State would not get on the scoreboard until there was less than 9 minutes left in the first half, when D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall finally converted on back to back possessions, cutting the lead to 16-4. Sasa Borovnjak and Brandon Taylor would follow with baskets of their own, and it felt like PSU might have a shot to get back into things, trailing 21-8 at the under 4 timeout. Borovnjak and Marshall would both miss quality looks out of the break, and the Gophers responded with a 10-2 run. opening up a gap the Lion would never threaten. Rodney Williams would cap the first half with as impressive a dunk as you will see:
The second half would be much of the same, especially after the initial 4 minutes that saw the Lions score 10 quick points. As the clock wound down, Penn State looked like a team out of gas in every aspect of the word. Acting point guard D.J. Newbill played 39 of the 40 minutes, and gave everything he had to get to 15 points, despite 2 of 16 shooting. Marshall was the only other Lions in double figures with 10. The Gophers depth was on display with 9 players getting at least 13 minutes, and 5 in double figures. Leading the way was senior Trevor Mbawkwe, who had 13 points and 13 rebounds on senior day.
After 4 impressive performances in a row on the offensive end, PSU struggled all day, shooting just 27% from the floor. Conversely, the Gophers shot 50%, while out rebounding the Lions 41-20.
PSU is back in action on on Thursday night in Evanston versus Northwestern. After a roller coaster week that clearly had drained the squad of energy, 4 days between games will be a welcome respite.
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