Penn State needed a win in its final regular season game at Minnesota on Sunday afternoon, and the Nittany Lions got it with a 66-63 triumph at Williams Arena.
Talor Battle led the Nittany Lions with 22 points three assists and two rebounds and Jeff Brooks added 20 points on 9-18 shooting and seven rebounds to lead the team. Tim Frazier played all 40 minutes, scoring seven points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing six assists for a solid all-around effort.
The Lions trailed by as many as eight in the first half but came back to take a three-point lead into halftime. The two teams exchanged the lead right down to the wire in the second stanza, however, and the end played out about exactly the same as Penn State's 66-63 win back in State College last month.
Talor Battle hit a triple with 1:37 remaining to give Penn State the lead, about the same time he hit one the first time around. Then, after Blake Hoffarber tied the game with a layup in the lane, Jeff Brooks hit a trey of his own to give Penn State the lead for good.
Hoffarber ended up leading Minnesota with 17 points on his senior day. Rodney Williams added 16 for the Gophers and Trevor Mbakwe posted another double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The victory keeps Penn State alive in the NCAA Tournament discussion, but the Lions will have a lot of work to do when they head to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Tournament starting on Thursday. At 16-13 and 9-9 in Big Ten play, the Lions are the quintessential bubble team and will need to be ready to play when the face 11th-seeded Indiana in the first round.
Penn State took the first matchup of the two teams back in December when the Lions earned a 69-60 win in Bloomington.