No one knew what to expect heading into this game. PSU was feeling good about themselves after two great weeks of play and a monumental upset. But as we quickly found out, Penn State didn't bring any momentum from the Michigan upset to Minnesota.
After all, it took over 11 minutes for the Lions to score their first points. The Nits first basket came at the 8:42 mark of the first half. They were already down 16-0. Obviously, it didn't get much better throughout the afternoon as they lost by the largest margin of the year, 73-44.
Minnesota was fairly sluggish themselves at the start, and it seemed like Penn State was still somewhat in the game despite their own woes on offense. It was 21-8 at the under-4:00 timeout of the first half, and there was an opportunity for the Lions to make a run and get back into the game. It didn't take long for that thought to come crashing down.
Minnesota finished the half on a 13-4 run to go to the break up 34-12. They finished it off with an exclamation point.
There's not much else to say about this game. Penn State was flat all day, looking incredibly exhausted. Understandable considering the emotional and physical toll the last game had on some key players who logged heavy minutes.
DJ Newbill and Ross Travis combined to shoot 5-27 from the field. Jermaine Marshall picked up two fouls before the first media timeout and never got into the flow of the offense. Sasa Bovonjak struggled against the physical Minnesota frontline. Nick Colella took one shot and fouled out in 30 minutes.
It was their 2nd worst offensive performance of the year at just 0.70 PPP and 30.2% eFG%. Only the Purdue game was worse. Defensively, Penn State wasn't able to offer much resistance once the Gophers turned it on towards the end of the first half. Neither the press, man, or zone looks did much to slow down Trevor Mbakwe, Joe Coleman, and Rodney Williams.
Only thing that was learned from this game is that Penn State is tired. With just two games remaining, it's understandable considering the lack of depth on the roster. Not sure why Chambers thought today was a good lesson to keep DJ and Ross Travis in there for 39 minutes.
There's just two games remaining on the schedule - @ Northwestern on Thursday and Wisconsin next Sunday. At least Penn State has a conference win. Everything else from here on out is gravy.