Late push helps Gophers escape with victory at Penn State
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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- DeAndre Mathieu scored 16 points and Andre Hollins added 14 as Minnesota overcame a late six-point deficit to defeat Penn State 68-65 Wednesday.
Four late free throw conversions by Malik Smith in the final 30 seconds and one by Elliott Eliason with 33 seconds, enabled the Gophers (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten) to hang on after taking its first lead of the second half with 1:43 remaining.
Tim Frazier scored 20 points for Penn State (9-7, 0-3) but fouled out with 2:08 left with Penn State leading 59-57.
Mathieu forced back-to-back Penn State turnovers, including a strip of John Johnson and his ensuing basket gave the Gophers a 63-60 lead and forced Penn State to foul.
The Nittany Lions' Allen Roberts missed a game-tying 3-point shot with 1 second to go.
Minnesota, which has won 30 out of 40 games in its series with Penn State, also got 11 points and 12 rebounds from Eliason.
Penn State has floundered in the second half in Big Ten losses to Michigan State and Illinois but led for most of the second half until Frazier fouled out.
They opened the final 20 minutes against Minnesota with Frazier scoring on a drive and Ross Travis, who scored 18 points, slamming a dunk off a steal and feed from Frazier.
Minnesota's Hollins stemmed that momentum with a baseline drive and 3-pointer from the corner to pull to within 42-39.
The Gophers worked their way to a 51 tie when Mathieu sank two fouls but Penn State's Travis rolled in a layup, Frazier sank a shot over the 6-foot-11 Eliason and Brandon Taylor hit a 3-pointer for a 58-53 lead.
Minnesota grabbed its first lead, 60-59, of the second half with 1:40 left when Mathieu tapped in a Hollins miss, but Travis tied it at 60.
Penn State outscored Minnesota 28-13 over the final 10 minutes of the first half despite taking nearly seven minutes to convert its first field goal. The Nittany Lions opened play with two turnovers, two shots blocked and five more missed as the Gophers opened leads of 7-0 and 12-2.© The Associated Press