Golden Gophers Keep Tourney Hopes Alive with Win at Penn State

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Penn State
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s basketball team arrived at University Park this weekend desperately needing a win vs a middling-to bad Penn State team, after they blew a late lead at The Barn last week vs #15 Wisconsin.

Related: Elijah Hawkins Tweets “lol” Over No-Call that Cost Gophers vs Badgers

On Friday, Ben Johnson met with reporters and told them that he and his team remained optimistic about where their season was heading, that they were so close to being a good team, “it’s scary”. Well, their play at the end of the first half Saturday vs the Nittany Lions was legitimately terrifying too, which is why the Gophers entered the 2nd half down 14 points.

Minnesota Golden Gophers shine in 2nd half @ Penn State

A different team came out of the Bryce Jordan Arena locker room following the halftime intermission, though. And whatever “secret stuff” Ben Johnson had them drink kicked in immediately. Penn State scored the first two points out of the break, temporarily pushing their lead to 16.

Then, the Gophers rattled off 10 points in two minutes and cut the lead to six, before the home team needed a timeout. Cam Christie, Dawson Garcia, Mike Mitchell and Elijah Hawkins took the game over and never gave it back.

It was like they suddenly realized in the locker room, ‘hey, we three are better than just about everyone on their roster minus maybe one dude (Kanye Clark)’, who didn’t have a very good game. Once that happened, the Nittany Lions never really stood a chance.

Minnesota outscored Penn State by a whopping 23 points and struggled to even keep it close, late. In the end, the whistle blew with Ben Johnson’s squad up a rather comfortable nine points, 83-74. Reminder: the Gophers were down 16 points with slightly over 19 minutes remaining in this contest.

When the dust settled, Dawson Garcia led the way with 20 points and 4 rebounds; Cam Christie ended two rebounds away from a double-double with 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists to boot.

PlayerFG3PTFTOREBDREBREBASTSTLBLKTOPFPTS
J. Ola-Joseph4-70-16-62350001114
D. Garcia7-131-25-52243003220
E. Hawkins2-32-32-2156510258
M. Mitchell Jr.4-70-12-30334003310
C. Christie7-111-54-51785201319
P. Fox4-50-03-41230040111
I. Ihnen0-10-00-0011100010
J. Wilson0-00-00-0011000000
B. Carrington0-40-20-0000000100
Total28-524-1423-26825331834121683
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