Penn State Basketball: Season Ends As Nittany Lions Fall 77-72 In Overtime To Minnesota
Penn State lost 77-72 in overtime to Minnesota in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament — a loss punctuated by at least two seemingly obvious officiating blunders, a struggling second half offense and the slow but steady comeback trail by the Gophers. Penn State's season end at 14-18 on the year after winning seven of its last 10 regular season games.
The Nittany Lions fared well in the first half, taking a 34-30 lead into the break behind efficient scoring by Lamar Stevens and eventual 6-for-6 shooting by Mike Watkins in the paint.
While Gophers forward/center Jordan Murphy managed 15 points by the end of the night, his ability to draw fouls and create issues down low flustered Penn State most of the evening, much like the teams' first meeting earlier this season.
In the second half, a Penn State offense that had exploded in previous outings scored just 27 points, while Stevens attempted 25 shots as his teammates leaned on him for offense. Usually reliable freshmen Myles Dread attempted two shots all night while Rasir Bolton put up three. Neither player scored from the field.
Despite all of this, Penn State found itself regularly threatening to lead by double figures, but Minnesota's offense would slowly find its feet and the Nittany Lion attack failed to find its free-flowing ball movement and efficient shot making that had been the hallmark of its late season run.
With all of that in motion it only seemed fitting that two officiating calls came into play — one a foul against Stevens that was not called, another, a reversal of possession that gave the Gophers the ball. Both were fairly indisputable to the degree in which they were incorrect, but nevertheless, the game continued.
In overtime there was little in the way of change, Minnesota no more impressive, but slightly more balanced, taking a lead and never looking back. A Myreon Jones basket brought the game within three points with four seconds to go, but that was all for the Nittany Lions' night.
Overall Penn State shot 42 percent from the field, while Minnesota managed just a percent better. Turnovers, assists, rebounds and steals were all essentially equal.