Minnesota Gets 20th Win with a 73-69 Victory

Minnesota concluded its regular season with a 73-69 road victory over Penn State. The victory was the fourth in a row for the Gophers and gave them their first 20-win season since 1992-93 and the first 10-win Big Ten season since 1989-90. The Gophers will enter the Big Ten Tournament with a 20-9 overall mark and a 10-6 conference record. The win should give the Gophers their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1999.

The Gophers forced 24 turnovers and finished with 15 steals. Despite missing some open looks, the Gophers managed to shoot 44 percent from the field on 27-of-61 shooting.

The Gophers took a 17-15 lead, but went on a 13-0 run in the first half to take control, giving the Gophers a 30-15 lead with six minutes left in the half. The Gophers led 40-26 at halftime as Vincent Grier led the Gophers with 14 in the half.

The Gophers forced 15 Nittany Lion turnovers in the first half and shot 46% from the field (15-of-33). Penn State was just 8-of-27 from the field (30 percent).

Penn State freshman guard Morrissey made three-pointers in the opening four minutes to get the Lions within 10 at 50-40. Morrissey trimmed the Gophers lead to nine with his fourth three of the half with 12 minutes to go, but Lawson answered with a three on the other end and Minnesota maintained a 57-45 edge. Another Morrissey three-pointer with 9:02 to go brought PSU back within seven at 57-50. Travis Parker made two free throws on the Lions' next possession to pull within five. Jeff Hagen halted the run with a dunk off a Robinson pass. Robinson then picked off an errant Lion pass and took it the other way for a fastbreak layup to give the Gophers a 61-52 lead with 7:38 on the clock.

Penn State refused to go away. With 5:20 to go, Parker made a fast break layup to pull the Lions to 61-58. However, Grier took a Hagen pass for a cutting layup to push the lead back to five. After Lawson forced a turnover, Hagen fed Dan Coleman for another layup with 2:35 left and Minnesota led 65-58. After Parker made one free throw, Grier was fouled on the other end and made both from the line to make the score 67-59. Aaron Johnson brought the Lions back within six, but Grier made a slicing layup to lead by eight. Minnesota missed several free throws to ice the game, but Penn State failed to convert and the Gophers held onto the win.

Grier led the Gophers with 27 points on 8-of-13 shooting and added four steals. Lawson added 14 points while Robinson had nine points, five assists and four steals. Morrissey led Penn State with 22 points, including a 6-of-10 night from three-point range.

The Gophers will begin play in the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center in Chicago on Friday, March 11.

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