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Feb. 16, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; Feb. 16, 2011 - A national television audience will be watching live on ESPN Thursday as Penn State (13-11; 6-7 Big Ten) looks for its sixth Big Ten home win of the season and a piece of fourth place in the Big Ten Conference race when it takes on Minnesota (17-8; 6-7 Big Ten) in a 7:00 p.m. tip.
It will be "Dollar Dog Night" at the Jordan Center. The game can be heard live on the Penn State Sports Network, 1450 AM locally, and on Sirius channel 122 and XM radio channel 143.
After becoming just the second Big Ten player in the last decade to score 2,000 points in the Nittany Lions last home appearance, a rout of Northwestern on Sunday, Talor Battle comes into Thursday's game needing seven assists to become the first Big Ten player ever to record 2,000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists on a career. After recording his 100th career double-figure scoring game Sunday with a team-high 19 vs. the Wildcats, Battle also need just 11 points to become the first Nittany Lion ever to post three-straight seasons of 500 points or more.
The Big Ten's second leading scorer will get help from a resurgent Jeff Brooks who returned to the starting line-up after missing one game with a shoulder injury and posted 14 points and five rebounds Sunday. Brooks ranks in the top 10 of four categories in conference play including second in shooting (62.7%), fifth in blocked shots (1.75), eighth in rebounding (6.2) and 10th in scoring (14.8).
The Gophers come into Thursday having won one of their last five games following the loss of point-guard Al Nolen to a season-ending injury. Their win came in their last outing in a 63-45 rout of Iowa in Iowa City. The Gophers had won four straight and 5-of-6 prior to the recent run. They bring a 17-8 mark and 6-7 Big Ten record into the game. Junior college transfer Trevor Mbakwe has played huge for UM posting 14.0 ppg and 10.8 rpg in Big Ten play to lead the conference in rebounding. The Gophers start five players all standing 6-4 or taller. Three-point shooter Blake Hoffarber logs 13.9 ppg on the year with 63 treys and Ralph Sampson is posting 10.7 ppg and 5.6 rpg with 53 blocks. The Gophers lead the Big Ten in rebounding (37.2) and blocked shots (5.69) and are second in field goal defense (39.9).
Minnesota leads the all-time series 27-8 and has won the last three meetings and 11 of the last 12. Penn State's last win came 68-63 at the Jordan Center in 2009. The Lions are 7-8 at home vs. the Gophers. Minnesota logged a 66-64 victory last year in the BJC. Penn State came from behind to tie the game at 64 on a Battle lay-up with nine seconds to play. Lawrence Westbrook hit a fade-away 19-footer to win the game. Battle had 20 for the Lions and David Jackson 18 in that contest. Ralph Sampson III and Damian Johnson had 13 for the Gophers.
Nittany Lion Basketball single-game tickets can be purchased by calling the ticket office at 814-865-5555, visiting GoPSUsports.com or through Ticketmaster. Single-game tickets are $18 for the lower bowl and $15 for upper level tickets for adults. Youth tickets (18 and under) are $7 for the lower bowl and $5 for upper level seating, while Penn State student tickets (University Park or branch campus) are $5 for each of the 19 home contests.
For all the latest information, notes, pictures and related links on Penn State basketball follow Assistant Athletic Communications Director Brian Siegrist on Twitter (@PSUSTRETCH) and check GoPSUsports.com. The Nittany Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstatebasketball.