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Jan. 8, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State graduate guard Tim Frazier (Houston, Texas) and junior forward Ross Travis (Chaska, Minn.) turned in veteran performances to lead the men's basketball team on Wednesday evening but their efforts fell short as the Nittany Lions dropped a 68-65 decision to Minnesota at the Bryce Jordan Center. Frazier notched a game-high 20 points and eight assists while Travis registered his eighth career double-double with 18 points and a career-high tying 13 rebounds.
Sophomore Brandon Taylor (Tabernacle, N.J.) also posted double figures in scoring with 10 points and pulled down seven boards for the Lions (9-7, 0-3 Big Ten) while freshman Geno Thorpe (Pittsburgh, Pa.) turned in a season-high seven points in his first career start.
Penn State led the Gophers (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten) by as many as eight in the second half, but late-game free throws turned out to the be advantage for the Gophers, who have now won eight of their last nine games. The Nittany Lions were 2-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final three minutes of the game, well below their season average of .747 coming into the game.
The Blue and White shot 37.9 percent (22-of-58) from the field, 15.8 percent (3-of-19) from 3-point range and 62.1 percent (18-of-21) from the free-throw line. Minnesota edged PSU in each of the shooting categories, shooting 41.2 percent (21-of-51) from the floor, 25 percent (4-of-16) from beyond the arc and 64.7 percent (22-of-34) from the charity stripe. The two squads were even in boards and turnovers with 39 and 14 apiece, respectively.
DeAnre Mathieu set the pace for the Gophers, recording a team-high 16 points while Andre Hollins tallied 14 points and Elliot Eliason posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Gophers jumped out to a 7-0 lead to start the contest. Eliason dropped in a layup for the first two points of the game, Austin Hollins added a jumper and Oto Osenieks knocked down a three. Frazier put the Lions on the board with a pair of free throws at the 16:49 mark to bring Penn State within five until Eliason turned in another layup and Maurice Walker added a jumper and a free throw to bring the count to 12-2.
A floater from Frazier gave the Lions their first field goal of the game seven minutes into the action and Travis and Allen Roberts (Middletown, Ohio) tacked on a jumper and a free throw to counter another layup by Walker as the scoreboard read 14-7. A trey from Osenieks gave the Gophers their largest lead of the contest at 17-7 before Frazier took over, dropping six points on two jumpers and a pair of free throws to bring the Blue and White back within four.
The Nittany Lions surged ahead after an 8-3 run on a Taylor 3-pointer, a layup by John Johnson (Pittsburgh, Pa.), three Frazier free throws and a layup by Thorpe. Eliason answered with a layup and Andre Hollins knocked down two free throws but it proved not enough as PSU added 10 additional points before the half, putting the count at 35-30.
The second half was a close-fought battle with Penn State hitting 11-of-28 shots and Minnesota putting 11-of-24 shots on target. A Frazier trey three minutes into the half gave the Lions their largest lead of the contest with the count at 42-34 but the Gophers would quickly cut the deficit to three points as Andre Hollins notched a jumper and a three-pointer leading into the first media break.
Penn State managed to hold on to the lead until the 6:11 mark, when Mathieu drained two free throws to knot the game at 51-51. The Lions regained the lead on a Travis jumper but were unable to maintain it for long as Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins and Mathieu combined for five points to put the Gophers ahead 60-59.
The Blue and White tied the game up at 60-60 but would not pull ahead again as Minnesota closed the game out at 68-65.
Penn State returns to the court on Saturday afternoon to host the Hoosiers of Indiana. Tip is set for noon at the Bryce Jordan Center.