Gophers get by Penn State, advance to quarterfinals
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Austin Hollins scored 18 points, Deandre Mathieu added 13 and Andre Hollins hit a late 3-pointer Thursday to give Minnesota a badly needed 63-56 win over Penn State in the Big Ten tournament.
The seventh-seeded Golden Gophers (20-12) advanced to Friday night’s quarterfinal against No. 12 Wisconsin with their third win in four games.
10th-seeded Penn State (15-17) had a miserable night shooting, making only 32.2 percent from the field. D.J. Newbill had 16 points and senior Tim Frazier added 11. Penn State heads home from Indianapolis after losing for the third time in four games.
Minnesota took control quickly with a 9-0 lead and never trailed.
Penn State got within three just before halftime and within 58-54 with 2:35 to go, but Andre Hollins made a free throw and hit the 3 in the final minute to close it out.
The big question now is whether this win will convince the selection committee Minnesota belongs in the tourney?
Most outsiders thought Minnesota needed at least one win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to give them a shot at one of the 36 precious at-large bids and beating the Badgers for the second time this season would certainly help. As it stands now, the Gophers have three wins this season over the Nittany Lions but are just 5-10 against the rest of the league. It does have two wins over Top 25 teams, but both came at home.
And they didn’t look particularly good Thursday.
At one point, early in the second half Minnesota was 11 of 30 from the field, and in the final three minutes they missed the front end of two one-and-ones. Andre Hollins then missed two more free throws but was bailed out by a lane violation on the second one and made his third free throw with 54.7 seconds to go to make it 59-54.
It was that kind of night.
Penn State charged back late in the first half, using 10-2 run to get within 28-25.
Minnesota closed the half with a 14-foot buzzer beater from Maverick Ahanmisi to make it 30-25 at halftime, then scored the first seven points of the second half to make it 37-25.
The Nittany Lions finally roared back late, cutting a 51-38 deficit to 58-54 on two free throws from Brandon Taylor made two free throws with 2:35 to go.
But Andre Hollins made the free throw and the 3 with 11.7 seconds left to seal it. He finished with nine points.