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Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Use Late Run To Beat Minnesota 86-77

by on January 05, 2016 9:20 PM

How It Happened:

Penn State picked up its earliest Big Ten win since 2011 with a 86-77 defeat of Minnesota on Tuesday evening. The Nittany Lions used an 18-2 run to blow open the game after falling behind by eight late in the second half. Penn State and Minnesota both shot the ball well with the Gophers going 7-of-12 from behind the arc in the first half alone while Penn State managed to outscore Minnesota 14-2 in the paint in the opening 20 minutes of play.

It was more of the same in these second half as both teams traded long hoops and the Gophers started to make harder and harder shots. But with six minutes to go Penn State ramped up the defense and made the most of chances to storm back after seemingly taking a fatal punch falling down eight midway through the final 10 minutes of the half.

Penn State ended the game shooting just a hair over 50% from the field and picking up more rebounds and assists than Minnesota in the process.

It Was Over When:

Penn State started an 18-2 run that turned a Minnesota 8-point lead into an 8-point lead of its own. Shep Garner with back-to-back assists and a long three from the top of the arc sparked the run and woke up an otherwise docile Bryce Jordan Center crowd.

Stat Of The Night:

Penn State used an 18-2 run to turn a 71-63 deficit into an 8-point lead with 56 seconds to go. The Nittany Lions shot the ball well in the game's final minutes and played lights out defense holding Minnesota to just two baskets in the final 6:06 of play. Penn State scored 34 points in the paint and racked up 15 assists on the evening.

Player Of The Game:

Payton Banks added 24 points on an 8-of-11 shooting performance with three steals and three rebounds to go with it. Brandon Taylor's 18 points, six rebounds and five assists were not far behind while Shep Garner scored 16 in the second half to help spark Penn State's offense.

Up Next: Nittany Lions take on Michigan State this Sunday at noon at the BJC. Spartans are ranked No. 5 in both the AP and Coaches Poll.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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