Live Blog: Gophers Men’s Basketball v. Penn State

by Marco LaNave

The Gophers open the Big Ten season against Penn State, the defending NIT champions, at Williams Arena on Tuesday night.

0:14.0 2nd – The Nittany Lions are clinging for dear life as they try shooting their way back into the game while sending the Gophers to the free-throw line. Nittany Lions guard Tim Frazier just made a 3-point shot to close the gap, but it’s still a two-possession game. GOPHERS 74, PENN STATE 70.

2:56 2nd – It’s Westbrook v. Battle tonight. The Gopher and Lion guards have 27 and 21 points respectively and have made a combined nine of 13 shots from 3-point range. Westbrook has scored 11 of the Gophers’ last 13 points. GOPHERS 66, PENN STATE 61.

7:29 2nd – After the teams were trading baskets, Westbrook just made a 3-pointer to put Minnesota ahead for the first time in nearly nine minutes. He now has 19 points to lead all scorers. GOPHERS 56, PENN STATE 53.

11:58 2nd – With the first team back in for the Gophers they have pulled closer after the Nittany Lions had a 17-5 run to start the half. PENN STATE 46, GOPHERS 42.

15:48 2nd – The Nittany Lions seem to have most of the momentum to start the second half. They’ve been perfect on their first four shots and are on a 10-3 run. The Gophers mustered only a poor shot by sophomore guard Devoe Joseph two possessions ago and then didn’t manage an attempt before the shot clock expired on their latest possession. GOPHERS 37, PENN STATE 37.

The Gophers just honored the 1989-90 Elite Eight team in an on-court ceremony. After Gophers coach Tubby Smith told the fans he wanted them to show respect for former coach Clem Haskins, the latter made his way onto the court from his seat a few rows behind the Gophers bench. Haskins waved to the crowd giving him and the players a standing ovation and then embraced his former players as they gathered around him. Each player received a plaque. The team’s achievement 20 years ago is officially the farthest any Gophers team has gone in the NCAA Tournament, as the 1997 Final Four appearance under Haskins was later vacated, along with the rest of the 1993-99 seasons.

Halftime – Westbrook just got a shot off the glass in the final seconds to complete an 11-point first-half performance. Freshman guard Justin Cobbs has 6 points for Minnesota, but no other Gopher has more than 3. Minnesota out-shot Penn State, 48 percent to 36 percent. GOPHERS 34, PENN STATE 27.

3:24 1st – All-Big Ten guard Talor Battle is going to be the biggest challenge for the Gophers defense. He leads all scorers with 11 points and had made three of five shots from 3-point range. GOPHERS 30, PENN STATE 24.

6:24 1st – It’s not the Gophers inside players – Johnson has three points, Sampson has none – but the rest of the team is scoring in the paint. Nine of Minnesota’s 12 field goals have come in the paint, where the Gophers hold an 18-8 edge over the Nittany Lions. GOPHERS 28, PENN STATE 20.

10:38 1st – The Gophers first team has just re-entered, following a 9-0 run by the second team. The Gophers pressure and defense have looked better so far. Penn State has committed four turnovers and made just four of 13 shots (31 percent). The Gophers have had rebounds on seven of those nine misses. GOPHERS 19, PENN STATE 10.

15:51 1st – This is certainly Big Ten play: Neither team has seemed ready to run away early. A couple of turnovers helped the Gophers get 3 points and a 5-2 lead. Since then, Battle has hit a 3-point shot and Jackson has scored on a shot where Johnson was called for goal tending. PENN STATE 7, GOPHERS 5.

Starting Lineups:

Penn State Nittany Lions (0-0, 8-4)

F Jr. David Jackson
F Jr. Jeff Brooks
F Jr. Andrew Jones
G So. Chris Babb
G Jr. Talor Battle (1st Team All-Big Ten)

Minnesota Gophers (0-0, 9-3)

F Sr. Damian Johnson
C So. Ralph Sampson III
G Jr. Blake Hoffarber
G Sr. Lawrence Westbrook
G Jr. Al Nolen