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March 4, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; March 4, 2011 - Penn State (15-13; 8-9 Big Ten) will be one of three Big Ten teams entering the final weekend of play with eight conference wins when the Lions travel to Minnesota (17-12; 6-11 Big Ten) Sunday for their final regular season game. Penn State can finish anywhere from fifth to seventh in the final Big Ten standings as the Lions enter the weekend.
The game will tip of at 1:00 p.m. (ET) on the Big Ten Network and can be heard live on the Penn State Sports Network (ESPN 1450 AM locally) and Sirius channel 121 and XM radio channel 141.
Penn State will be looking to sweep the season series vs. a Gopher team that has lost four-straight and 8-of-9 since losing starting point-guard Al Nolen to injury. The Lions will try to post their ninth Big Ten win of the season, which would equal the third-best mark in program history. A win would also be Penn State's third on the road in the Big Ten this season, which would equal a program record reached six times previously.
Talor Battle enters the final regular season game just six points behind Purdue's JaJuan Johnson in points scored in Big Ten play this year in the race for the conference scoring champion title. Battle is averaging 20.2 ppg (344 points) in Big Ten play while Johnson leads the conference at 20.6 ppg (350 points). With one regular season game and at least one Big Ten Tournament game remaining, Battle is also 42 points shy of eclipsing Penn State's all-time career scoring mark of 2,138 set by Jesse Arnelle in 1955.
With one rebound Sunday, Battle will become just the third player in NCAA Division I history to record at least 2,000 points, 600 rebounds and 500 assists joining Duke's Danny Ferry and Maryland's Grevis Vasquez.
The Lions downed the Gophers 66-63 at the Jordan Center on Feb. 17 behind 28 points and 7-of-14 from three from Battle. Penn State is just 1-16 all-time in Minneapolis and has lost in its last eight trips there. Penn State's last win at "The Barn" came in 2001 with an 82-62 victory. Minnesota leads the all-time series 27-9 and has won 16 of the last 20 meetings over the last decade.
The Gophers have lost four-straight at home and stands 6-11 in the Big Ten and 17-12 overall. The Gophers fell 68-57 at Northwestern on Wednesday. Trevor Mbakwe led the team with 14 points and 12 rebounds, his 17th double-double of the season. Mbakwe leads the team posting 13.9 ppg and a Big Ten best 10.4 rpg on the season. The Gophers averaged 67.8 ppg through their first eight Big Ten games but have fallen to 60.2 ppg over their last nine games with point-guard Al Nolen and shooting guard Devoe Joseph electing to transfer.
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.