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Minnesota 95, Penn State 84: Same Old Song And Dance.

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NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into this game, Minnesota was a team seemingly in free fall. With star player Reggie Lynch suspended and another starter in Amir Coffey out with injury, the Gophers were coming off of back-to-back blowout losses and looking like the wheels were about to come off the entire season...

It looks like a trip to Happy Valley and a grossly underachieving Penn State team was all the Gophers needed to get back on the winning track, as folks like Jordan Murphy dominated the offensive glass, and guards Nate Mason, Jamir Harris, and Dupree McBrayer nailed three-point after three-pointer after three-pointer as PSU’s defense was nowhere to be found.

This game had all the makings of your typical Penn State basketball loss: Play like hot garbage for a good portion of the game (in this case, allowing Minnesota to jump out to a 13-point early in the second half), put on a furious comeback, only to end up losing by a couple of points when the final buzzer sounds. There was a twist to this outcome in the sense that Tony Carr hit a game-tying three-pointer to send the game to overtime deadlocked at 74, but the Gophers completely took over in the overtime period thanks to a barrage of treys and layups and would go on to win by double digits when it was all said and done.

PPP and Four Factors

Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Penn State 56 1.09 59.3% 37.3% 25.0% 34.9%
Northwestern 1.25 46.9% 39.0% 12.5% 35.4%

Rebounding and very efficient shooting were the key to Minnesota’s victory. That’s how the Gophers were able to negate a plus-8 turnover advantage for Penn State (the Lions had only four turnovers the whole game, compared to the Gophers’ 12). Getting to the free throw line more often also helps tremendously.

Player Of The Game - Tony Carr (33 points, 12-for-30 FG’s, 6-for-6 FT’s, 6 rebounds, 3 assists)

That is not a typo, Tony Carr took 30 shots all by himself (40% of the team’s 74 total shots). It was a double-edge sword as it led to shots that helped spark the comeback, but also led to critical misses that ultimately allowed the Gophers to build upon their narrow lead in overtime.

Random Observations

  • Josh Reaves’ defensive tenacity is sorely missed. That’s not to say PSU wins this game if Reaves plays tonight, but he has been the primary source of steals for this team along with Jamari Wheeler (who started in Reaves’ place tonight). His return to the lineup cannot happen soon enough.
  • There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the offense other than let Tony Carr try to create his own shot or drive and then try to dish it to Watkins in the last minute. It’s almost as if Lamar Stevens and Shep Garner don’t exist at times, as capable of shooters as they both are, because they were barely touching the ball late in the game
  • I’m ready for a coaching change. I appreciate all that Pat Chambers has done in his seven years in Happy Valley (especially from a recruiting standpoint), but this was yet another damning indictment of a loss in a season where expectations were at their highest since PSU last made the NCAA’s, and there’s no indication that things are going to get better with one more season. Obviously, we’ll have to wait for the remainder of the regular season and Big Ten tournament to play out before any decisions are made by Sandy Barbour, but I’m at the point where I want to see somebody else roaming the sidelines at the BJC in 2018-2019.

Up Next

Penn State will travel to Northwestern this Saturday for their rubber match with the Wildcats. Tip-off is at 2:00 PM ET on BTN.