STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Joe Coleman scored a career-high 23 points and Minnesota defeated Penn State 80-66 on Sunday for its second Big Ten win of the season and the Golden Gophers’ second in as many games.
The Golden Gophers (14-5, 2-4) built off their road upset of No. 7 Indiana by shooting 55.3 percent (21 of 38) from the field.
Coleman, who entered the contest averaging 4.5 points per game, was 5 of 8 from the field and 13 of 14 from the free-throw line.
“We showed some real toughness and some tenacity,” Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said. “I thought our guys played with a lot of poise, a lot of savvy.”
Cammeron Woodyard came off the bench to score a career-high 22 points for Penn State (9-10, 1-5) — 15 in the first half — while Tim Frazier tallied 20 points.
Minnesota led 33-31 at the break, then began the second half on an 11-2 run. The game was filled with fouls as the teams combined to take 72 free throws.
The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 20-13 lead in the first 10:26, feeding off the energy of the 9,065 fans at the Bryce Jordan Center — Penn State’s largest home crowd of the season.
Smith credited Penn State’s energy — a trademark for the Lions in coach Patrick Chambers’ first season — instead of a hangover from the Indiana win.
“I don’t think it was as much us not having energy as much as them playing hard and playing well,” Smith said.
While Smith lauded Penn State’s effort, the Lions felt their intensity wasn’t up to par. Penn State had stretches of inconsistency, including scoring only eight points over the final 7:27 of the first half.
“You could see a lot of spurts out there where we didn’t play Penn State basketball,” Frazier said. “And that’s what we have to do for 40 minutes to win.”
A Woodyard layup with 12:10 remaining brought Penn State to within three at 44-41. But the Gophers finished the game strong, outscoring the Lions 26-9 over the final 4:10.
Minnesota improved to 17-4 against Penn State since 2002, though the Lions won both meetings last season.
The star of Sunday’s game was Coleman, a freshman who has worked his way into Minnesota’s starting lineup over the last three games.
“He’s been a big key to how we’ve played lately,” Smith said. “His energy and enthusiasm have helped.”
Three Golden Gophers besides Coleman — Rodney Williams, Julian Welch and Austin Hollins — also scored in double figures. Welch had 15 points, Williams 14 and Hollins 12.
One of the keys to Minnesota’s upset of Indiana was offensive rebounds — the Gophers recorded 12 in the second half. Against Penn State, Minnesota had only five offensive rebounds all game.
However, Smith did find a common theme between the two road wins. The Gophers tallied 13 assists against Penn State.
“We’ve been a better screening team,” Smith said. “We’ve done a better job of sharing the basketball.”
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