Online Now 934

Lions ice-cold in loss to Minnesota

The offense that led Penn State to an upset of Michigan earlier this week did not follow the Nittany Lions to Minneapolis on Saturday. The Nittany Lions did not score until the 12th minute of the game and had 12 first-half points in a 73-44 loss to Minnesota in Williams Arena. Penn State (9-19, 1-15 Big Ten) shot 27 percent from the field and 21 percent from 3-point range. It allowed the Golden Gophers (20-9, 8-8) to shoot 50 percent from the field and put the finishing touches on the game in the final minutes of the first half.

D.J. Newbill had 15 points Saturday but missed all but two of his field-goal attempts.

Top performers: D.J. Newbill led Penn State with 15 points but 10 of those came at the free-throw line; the Nittany Lions' leading scorer was just 2-of-16 from the field. Jermaine Marshall, who played only 26 minutes due to foul trouble, had 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting.

Sixth-year senior Trevor Mbakwe led five Gophers in double figures with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Joe Coleman had 12 consecutive points during one stretch of the second half and finished with a dozen. Austin Hollins added 11, connecting on 3-of-4 3-point tries.

What went right: Very little. The Nittany Lions appeared to be trying to give their customary effort, diving for loose balls and blocking shots even in the final minutes, but they did not have their legs and the shooting woes that have plagued them for much of the season returned with a vengeance. Penn State turned the ball over just nine times, which prevented Minnesota's transition game from doing much damage.

What went wrong: The Nittany Lions struggled to even move the ball, let alone get quality looks, against a smothering Minnesota man-to-man. They were dominated 51-22 on the glass, coming away with only two offensive rebounds, and didn't take advantage of the rare occasions they got to the free-throw line, hitting just 15 of 23 (65 percent) from the stripe. Penn State's help defense couldn't recover when the Gophers threw the ball out of double-teams in the first half and couldn't get in any kind of defensive position in the second half.

Statworthy: Fourteen different Gophers played and 11 of them scored. … Minnesota had 20 assists on 27 baskets. … Freshman Brandon Taylor is 1-of-9 from 3-point range over his last three games and 15-of-64 (23 percent) from the arc in Big Ten play. … Ross Travis, a native of nearby Chaska, Minn., had eight points on 3-of-11 shooting and three rebounds in 39 minutes. … The Nittany Lions fell to 2-17 all-time in Minneapolis.

Summary: Asking Penn State to win on the road against a deep and athletic team three days after its biggest win of the year was a lot, but the Nittany Lions should have at least been able to compete. Instead, they were completely overrun from start to finish. Some of Penn State's shots went in and out, others missed the rim completely, but very few came from outside the paint. Credit a terrific Minnesota defense for much of that, but the patience and ball movement that helped the Lions score 84 points against Michigan were nonexistent Saturday. Penn State has five days before its next game and will need to take advantage of the rest -- and the time off from classes for Spring Break -- to recover in time for what should be a very winnable game in Evanston.

Up next: Penn State visits Northwestern at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Already have an account? Sign In